Review: QantasLink Airbus A320 economy class (Perth-Broome)

QantasLink's Airbus A320 flights are a similar yet also different experience to what you'd get aboard the Roo's Boeing 737s.

Overall Rating

By Chris Chamberlin, August 4 2020
QantasLink Airbus A320 economy class (Perth-Broome)
Route

Perth to Broome (return)

Aircraft Type

Airbus A320

Airline

QantasLink

Flight

QF2658 + QF2659

Cabin Class

Economy

Seat

13F (window) + 13C (aisle)

Notes
The Good
  • Normally, a hot meal service on these 2.5-hour flights
The Bad
  • No entertainment of any kind, so bring your own
X-Factor
  • There's no charge to select exit row seating at check-in
Service
Meals
Seating
Overall

Introduction

As travel within Western Australia begins to bounce back, QantasLink's Airbus A320s are busy shuttling passengers around the state – namely from Perth to places like Broome.

Although inflight service is currently limited to a beverage and a snack, here's what the QantasLink economy class experience normally entails on these intra-WA flights.

Check-in

  • Frequent flyer program: Qantas Frequent Flyer, Oneworld alliance.
  • Checked baggage:
    • 1x23kg: standard ticketed allowance
    • 1x32kg: Qantas Club members, Qantas Silver frequent flyers
    • 2x32kg: Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge cardholders
    • 2x23kg: Other Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers (Qantas members get higher allowances, as above)
  • Carry-on baggage allowance: 1x115cm bag (up to 10kg); or, 2x105cm bags (one up to 10kg, 14kg total); or, 1x105cm bag plus 1x185cm non-rigid garment bag (one up to 10kg, 14kg total).
  • Airport fast-track (Perth): Qantas' self-serve check-in process makes it possible to deposit your own checked bag with minimal fuss, before heading through priority security if eligible. No signed priority boarding lane was in place at the gate, although the queue was minimal in any case.
  • Airport fast-track (Broome): With a dedicated check-in queue for Qantas Club members plus Qantas Silver frequent flyers and above, luggage is tagged and taken quickly, with a separate priority boarding lane awaiting at the gate. On arrival in Perth, that priority-tagged bag is among the first to arrive on the belt.

Lounge

While a QantasLink economy class ticket doesn't include lounge access by itself, Qantas lounges are available in both Perth and Broome for eligible travellers.

Out of Perth, the domestic Business Lounge currently serves all lounge-eligible guests, as the Perth Qantas Club and Perth Chairman's Lounge remain closed at the time of writing.

Read: Qantas delays opening more Qantas Clubs, Chairman’s Lounges

At the other end of the journey, the Broome Qantas Club similarly welcomes all lounge-eligible travellers, ranging from Qantas Club members through to Gold- and Platinum-grade frequent flyers of Qantas, and its web of Oneworld and other airline partners.

ET review: Qantas Club lounge, Broome

Seat

Unlike Qantas' Boeing 737s which offer both business class and economy, the QantasLink Airbus A320s come in an all-economy layout, spanning 30 rows. 

These jets normally appear on flights within Western Australia, and formerly flew in Jetstar colours: retaining those seats, but not the bright orange accents, as part of their move to QantasLink.

The cabin comes in a 3-3 layout, with a pitch of 28-29 inches for most rows, and 38 inches at the exits. 

This makes the exit row a choice pick for comfort and space, and at the time of travel, seats here could be purchased for $15 from the time of booking, while those unclaimed at check-in time could then be selected at no charge. 

As you'd expect, legroom here isn't an issue (pictured below) – but even in the other rows, the design of the seat, which places the storage pocket higher up rather than around your knees, doesn't make the space feel too cramped. 

Just be mindful that in the exit row window seats (12A, 12F, 13A and 13F), the arm rest isn't attached to the seat itself, instead being part of the exit door. 

The height isn't ideal for comfort – and this comes in place of a regular arm rest so that there's nothing blocking the exit door, if it needs to be used – but the additional legroom gained in these rows still makes them worth seeking out.

Meal

With a flight time of around 2.5 hours in each direction between Perth and Broome, QantasLink normally serves a hot meal on these flights, as was the case at the time of travel.

On the morning service from Perth up to Broome (QF2658), a hot breakfast was offered.

Inside the box: scrambled eggs, a sausage, bacon, and baked beans. Of course, we'd not award any extra marks for presentation, but the meal was fine, all things considered:

The beverage cart followed shortly after, where non-alcoholic drinks were available, including hot tea and coffee. 

On the journey back from Broome to Perth, a 1pm departure offered a hot boxed lunch.

Inside, a slider and chips, which were particularly tasty – although tomato sauce was unfortunately unavailable.

Beer and wine were available for $6, but only cash payments are accepted, which means you ironically can't use your Qantas Points-earning credit card.

However, due to COVID-19, Qantas is currently limiting its food and beverage service in the economy cabin to a snack and beverage on most routes.

This journey took place prior to these temporary service changes going into effect, and so reflects the experience normally available on these flights when such restrictions aren't in place.

Read more: Qantas, Virgin Australia cut inflight meals and drinks

Entertainment & Service

On these flights, there's no entertainment provided of any kind – no overhead TV screens, or seatback panels: instead, just a pouch for your own materials, and the safety card(s). 

That caught several travellers off-guard, given passengers were offered headphones at the boarding gate, with nothing on the aircraft to connect them to.

However, for those packing their own tech, the edge of the literature pocket is a great place to slot in a tablet pre-loaded with your own content – particularly if you've also brought a pair of wireless headphones along for the ride.

On flights to and from Broome, the window seats are the place to be, and certainly give you something to look at:

All things considered, QantasLink's Airbus A320 economy class is perfectly acceptable for journeys of this length, but if you have long legs, do yourself a favour and reserve an exit row seat – it certainly made the ride more comfortable for this six-foot editor.

Chris Chamberlin travelled at his own expense.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 186

I thought standard economy wasn't a cabin/class the ET reviewed or ran articles on?

sid
sid

07 Jan 2011

Total posts 45

We cover economy on certain domestic/short haul routes where it's often the only or most viable way to travel.

Hi DownSouth, while economy class travel isn't the site's primary focus, we do recognise that for many business travellers, corporate policies restrict business class (and other premium cabins, like premium economy) to journeys of X hours or more, and so from time to time, we publish economy class flight reviews from short hops.

(Of course, on some routes, business class isn't available in any case, including on Perth-Broome with QantasLink: so if you're flying, regardless of what's available under a traveller's personal budget or corporate travel policy, it's economy anyway.)

It's the same approach we've taken for a number of years, which has seen us publish reviews of experiences like Virgin Australia Economy X, Lufthansa European economy class, SAS Plus (on both the Boeing 737 and Bombardier CRJ900), and QantasLink Boeing 717 economy.

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 186

Thanks Chris.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Aug 2013

Total posts 203

Well when it's the only thing available it's good to know whats out there for potential flyers of the route. If you really want business VA is flying their 737s up there.

06 Feb 2020

Total posts 3

Is that the biz? Lay flat? Or standards business class? Thanks

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2017

Total posts 259

Standard 737 Domestic Biz 'Recliners'

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 146

The slider and chips is an impressive domestic economy lunch

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 551

Not a route I would normally fly, so I just checked the QF site for indicative prices on this route for the first week in October 2020. Frankly, Qantas should be ashamed.

A return Red-eDeal for PER-BME-PER runs at a minimum of $750.00 and a Flex fare runs at a minimum of $1,400.00. For a 2.5hr x 2 flights with a standard 28-29 inch pitch in Economy, no entertainment and an F&B service which looks like it fell out of a slop bucket, no thank you.

It is entirely possible to argue that the QantasLink service from Sydney to Wagga Wagga is superior to this - and it's on a Dash.

People wonder why the northern parts of Australia are not better served by air and why areas such as Broome (despite being delightfully unique and a promoted international tourist destination) are such a hard sell. They've probably never paid for these tickets.

[Closing remarks removed by admin in line with comment policy]

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2011

Total posts 50

Did you check Virgin's pricing and whether they should also be ashamed?

Also, we all know what a standard economy seat looks like and how much leg room that is. It isn't much different to a 737.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 551

The point of the exercise was not to compare QF against VA, however:

Just out of interest - Virgin Economy Elevate Economy fare for minimum $850.00 return, Business Class minimum at $1198.00 return - no, Virgin shouldn't be ashamed.

Virgin's Economy fare is $100 more than QF's BUT, the Virgin J Class fare is $200.00 cheaper than QF's Flexible Economy fare, so yes - QF should be ashamed.

I don't agree with your premise that "everyone knows what an economy seat looks like and how much leg room that is".

It is fairly clear that QF is using a 28-29 inch un-reconfigured pitch Jetstar frame under a QF flight number. I don't recall any QF B737 having a 28-29 inch pitch.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 157

It is an expensive route, although in non covid times, the cheapest fares can be had for $200 each way - although there isnt many of them.

BME should be able to support a daily JQ flight, but why would QF cannibalise their near monopoly when they essentially fly a JQ aircraft anyway. Certainly a ripoff compared to prices out of CNS for instance

Kimshep: The comments section underneath articles is provided for readers to discuss the topic of the article among themselves, not to write messages directly to authors or staff (that's what email is for, and click-to-contact buttons are found at the bottom of almost every article, via the relevant icons in the 'bio box').

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TM9
TM9

02 May 2020

Total posts 1

Hi Chris, I think you got really lucky on this flight!

I'm a Broome local and often fly Qantas to Perth. Most flights are done by Network/Cobham on a dated 717 of Fokker 100

Normally on the Qantasink service we get served a gourmet (term used lightly) meat pie/quiche set. On a recent COVID time flight we were limited to...

- BME TO PER - Legit one cheese cracker in a wrapper and a water
- PER TO BME - Carmans crackers and salsa mic and a water.

On the return flight it was on a Qantas 737 with business class. It quite surprised me that 'cattle class' got crackers and a water due to COVID but business class got a meal and selection of drinks. If Qantas can serve multiple drinks and a meal to business class I'm not sure how they cant provide a more decent snack/meal offering and even a few more drink options.

Being an ex OneStar plane the economy legroom other than the exit rows is pretty abysmal for taller people like myself. However, the rear toilet on the LHS has been moved from the front of the rear door to behind and the rows from behind emergency to row 30 spaced out a bit. I have survived this on a number of Hedland - Perth flights compared with the one time when on the RHS I stood up at the rear of the plane for most of the journey.


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