The complete guide to travelling with QantasLink

Whether you're a regional flyer or even jetting to places like Cairns and Canberra, here's what you need to know about QantasLink.

By Chris Chamberlin, September 30 2020
The complete guide to travelling with QantasLink

Operating a wide range of domestic flights across Australia spanning short regional hops to journeys between the major capitals, QantasLink's fleet and network are equally varied.

With many of the perks travellers have come to expect – including Qantas Points, airport lounges and other perks for frequent flyers – here's your guide to travelling with QantasLink: an affiliate member of the Oneworld alliance.

QantasLink currently operates a variety of aircraft to suit various routes and passenger numbers, as below.

QantasLink Bombardier Dash 8

Within the Bombardier 'Dash 8' family, QantasLink counts three types of turboprops: the 200 Series, the 300 Series, and the Q400 series.

The Dash 8 200 Series, shown below, can seat 36 passengers across nine rows, in a 2-2 layout. This makes it the smallest member of the QantasLink fleet:

Larger in size, the Dash 8 300 Series makes room for 50 passengers, again in a 2-2 configuration:

As the biggest member of QantasLink's Dash 8 family, the Dash 8 Q400 can accommodate 74 passengers, again in a 2-2 setting.

An advantage of these planes is the absence of a middle seat, with everybody on board enjoying either an aisle or a window seat.

QantasLink Fokker 100

The jet-powered QantasLink Fokker 100s aptly seat 100 travellers, in an all-economy, 2-3 layout.

While QantasLink has three different Fokker 100 configurations (the A Series, G Series and T Series), the primary differences are only to the aircraft galleys and closets: the seats remain in the same 2-3 layout across 21 rows.

Notably, there's no row 13 on any QantasLink Fokker 100s – the row numbers jump from 12 straight to 14 – although other QantasLink planes do have a 13th row.

QantasLink Boeing 717

Not unlike the Fokker 100, which also has its engines back near the aircraft tail, the QantasLink Boeing 717 also accommodates economy travellers in a 2-3 cabin.

On some QantasLink Boeing 717s, economy stretches from tip to tail on the aircraft, with 125 seats in total:

On others, business class is available in addition to economy. Here, 12 business class seats adopt a 2-2 layout, and 98 economy seats remain in a 2-3 configuration, for a total of 110 seats.

QantasLink Airbus A320

The largest member of the QantasLink fleet, the Airbus A320 is most often seen flying within Western Australia, such as between Perth and Broome.

Formerly of the Jetstar fleet and later transitioned to QantasLink, these jets retain Jetstar's all-economy layout, offering seating for 180 travellers in a 3-3 configuration. 

All QantasLink passengers receive a carry-on baggage allowance, but exactly how much you can bring aboard depends on the aircraft operating your flight.

On Dash 8 services (including 200, 300 and Q400 Series turboprops), the maximum allowance one, 7kg bag per passenger, with total dimensions of up to 105cm.

This reflects the storage limitations on these Dash 8 flights – and some bags, including most with wheels, will often be tagged as 'Premium Hand Luggage' at the gate: taken from you as you board, and returned to you upon arrival.

Consider travelling with a smaller carry-on bag for your reading material and electronic devices, for access during flight.
Consider travelling with a smaller carry-on bag for your reading material and electronic devices, for access during flight.

Unlike checked bags, which are deposited at the counter and retrieved from baggage claim, 'Premium Hand Luggage' bags can remain with you up until boarding, including in the lounge: and you won't need to wait at the carousel to collect the bag afterwards.

On all other flights, including QantasLink Fokker 100, Boeing 717 and Airbus A320 flights, Qantas' normal domestic carry-on baggage allowance applies.

This provides for up to two bags at a combined total weight of 14kg, with one of those items being up to 10kg.

Read more: Your guide to Qantas' carry-on baggage allowances 

As well as a carry-on baggage allowance, all QantasLink passengers receive a complimentary checked baggage allowance as well.

How much you can pack depends upon your cabin, frequent flyer status, and in some cases, the type of plane operating your flight and also your destination, as below.

QantasLink checked baggage allowance to/from Lord Howe Island

On these flights, all passengers – regardless of frequent flyer status or connecting flights – can pack two checked bags.

The first bag can weigh up to 14kg, with the second weighing up to 9kg: a total of 23kg combined weight.

QantasLink notes that due to aircraft weight restrictions, it's sometimes necessary that the second bag (of up to 9kg) may travel on a later flight, so if travelling with two pieces of luggage, pack any essentials either in your carry-on baggage, or in your first checked bag.

QantasLink checked baggage allowance on all Dash 8 flights

Except on flights to and from Lord Howe Island as above, the baggage allowance on all Dash 8 flights is strictly set at 1x23kg bag per passenger.

As the Dash 8s aren't as big as some other QantasLink aircraft, there's less room for baggage.
As the Dash 8s aren't as big as some other QantasLink aircraft, there's less room for baggage.

This applies regardless of status, Qantas Club membership, or other connecting flights on the same ticket, again due to limited storage space and weight restrictions on Dash 8 flights – including 200 Series, 300 Series and Q400 Series turboprops.

Checked baggage on all other QantasLink economy class flights

Given most QantasLink planes don't offer business class, it's no secret that almost all QantasLink passengers travel in economy: and unless you're zipping to Lord Howe Island, or taking a Dash 8 flight, the baggage allowance below will apply.

  • Standard allowance: 1x23kg bag
  • Qantas Club members, Qantas Silver frequent flyers: 1x32kg bag
  • Qantas Gold, Platinum and Platinum One: 2x32kg bags
  • Oneworld Sapphire and Oneworld Emerald (other than Qantas): 2x23kg bags

Importantly, the allowances don't 'stack' – so a Qantas Club member who is also a Silver frequent flyer can pack only 1x32kg bag (as opposed to the base allowance of 1x23kg + 1x32kg for Qantas Club + 1x32kg for Qantas Silver).

Similarly, the allowance noted above for Oneworld Sapphire and Oneworld Emerald cardholders applies only to frequent flyers of programs other than Qantas Frequent Flyer: such as Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, and so on.

The checked baggage limits applied to Qantas' equivalent Gold and Platinum frequent flyers, of course, are more generous than for Sapphire and Emerald cardholders from other airline programs.

QantasLink business class checked baggage allowance

For those travellers flying business class on a QantasLink Boeing 717 flight, the checked baggage allowance is as follows:

  • Standard allowance: 2x32kg bags
  • Qantas Club, Qantas Silver and Gold: 2x32kg bags (no increase)
  • Qantas Platinum, Platinum One and other Oneworld Emerald: 3x32kg bags

As highlighted above, there's no increase in checked baggage allowance for Qantas Club cardholders or for Qantas Silver and Gold frequent flyers when travelling in domestic economy class, nor do other Oneworld Sapphire members receive a boosted baggage allowance.

Relax in business class on selected QantasLink Boeing 717 flights.
Relax in business class on selected QantasLink Boeing 717 flights.

On the other hand, the allowance for Qantas Platinum and 'non-Qantas' Oneworld Emerald members is the same on these flights, with these travellers gaining one additional checked bag, over and above the standard allowance of 2x32kg. 

Across Australia, QantasLink operates a broad network of flights, connecting remote destinations to the major capital cities, as well as with each other.

Sometimes, QantasLink also flies between those major cities, including on many Canberra flights, as well as operating the majority of services between Brisbane and Cairns.

Here's a snapshot of QantasLink's route network. For brevity, most routes listed below operate on a return basis. 

  • Adelaide to Kangaroo Island (Kingscote), Port Lincoln, Whyalla
  • Alice Springs to Cairns, Darwin, Perth, Uluru (Ayers Rock)
  • Barcaldine to Brisbane, Longreach
  • Blackall to Longreach
  • Brisbane to Barcaldine, Bundaberg, Cairns (some flights) Charleville, Emerald, Fraser Coast, Gladstone, Hamilton Island, Longreach, Lord Howe Island, Mackay, Moranbah, Newcastle, Rockhampton, Tamworth
  • Cairns to Darwin, Hamilton Island, Horn Island, Townsville, Uluru (Ayers Rock), Weipa
  • Canberra to Brisbane (some flights), Melbourne (some flights), Sydney (some flights)
  • Charleville to Roma
  • Lord Howe Island to Port Macquarie (seasonal), Sydney
  • Melbourne to Devonport, Hobart, Kangaroo Island (seasonal), Mildura
  • Mount Isa to Cloncurry, Darwin, Townsville
  • Perth to Alice Springs, Broome (some flights), Darwin (some flights), Geraldton, Kalgoorlie (some flights), Karratha (some flights), Newman, Paraburdoo, Port Hedland
  • Rockhampton to Gladstone, Mackay
  • Sydney to Albury, Armidale, Bendigo, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Hobart, Mildura, Moree, Orange, Port Macquarie, Sunshine Coast, Tamworth, Toowoomba (Wellcamp), Wagga Wagga
  • Townsville to Cloncurry, Mackay, Moranbah

While these destination pairs were as provided by QantasLink at the time of publishing, some routes may run seasonally, in one direction only, or may be suspended due to various border restrictions. 

QantasLink doesn't operate its own network of 'QantasLink Lounges'. However, as a subsidiary of the Qantas Group, eligible QantasLink passengers can access Qantas lounges as though they were travelling on a regular Qantas flight.

Lounge access for QantasLink passengers

Passengers on QantasLink flights who are Qantas Club members, Qantas Gold frequent flyers or Oneworld Sapphire frequent flyers of other airlines are welcome to visit domestic Qantas Clubs, where available.

Travelling with QantasLink from Broome? There's a Qantas Club waiting for you.
Travelling with QantasLink from Broome? There's a Qantas Club waiting for you.

Travellers flying in business class, or holding Qantas Platinum, Platinum One or another Oneworld Emerald frequent flyer card, can visit the Qantas Club, or where available, the separate Qantas Business Lounge.

Members of Qantas' invitation-only Chairman's Lounge program can visit all of the above, as well as Chairman's Lounges in available locations.

Access is the same for QantasLink passengers as it is for 'regular' Qantas passengers – and additionally, holders of single-use lounge passes can use these for lounge access prior to a QantasLink flight, in the same way as they can prior to a Qantas (or Jetstar) flight.

Lounge locations for QantasLink passengers

Lounges for Qantas and QantasLink passengers can be found across Australia, as below.

  • Qantas Clubs can be found in Adelaide, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Broome, Cairns, Canberra, Coffs Harbour, Darwin, Devonport, Emerald, Gladstone, Gold Coast, Hobart, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Launceston, Mackay, Melbourne, Perth, Port Hedland, Rockhampton, Sydney, Tamworth and Townsville.
  • Business Lounges are located in Brisbane, Canberra, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne.
  • Chairman's Lounges are tucked away at Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne airports.

Of course, passengers who have access to a higher-tier lounge can also visit lower-tiered lounges. This also applies at airports where a higher-tier lounge is not available.

For example, a business class passenger or Platinum frequent flyer would use the Qantas Club in airports that don't have a Business Lounge – and at those that do, they can choose to visit either the Business Lounge or the Qantas Club.

Be mindful that the list above includes all lounges across the Qantas domestic network. Due to COVID-19 and various government travel restrictions and border closures, some lounges remain closed.

Read: Qantas waits for border rules to relax before re-opening more lounges

At airports where a lounge isn't provided – or where a lounge exists, but it remains closed – no alternative is provided.

At the time of writing, there are no QantasLink aircraft equipped with inflight Internet access.

Some of QantasLink's Boeing 717s are fitted with WiFi, however, this only provides inflight entertainment via the Qantas app: not general web browsing, as is available on many of Qantas' other mainline aircraft.

Depending on the route you're taking, the time of day, the duration of your flight and your cabin of choice, you could be offered anything from a quick drink and snack through to a full inflight meal.

All food, and most beverages, are complimentary on QantasLink flights in economy.
All food, and most beverages, are complimentary on QantasLink flights in economy.

Wine and beer are also often complimentary in economy class on evening flights, although this again will vary by route and by day of the week.

However, due to COVID-19, inflight service may be temporarily restricted, with travellers generally offered a drink and snack, but not necessarily a hot meal in economy.

QantasLink Boeing 717 business class review: Brisbane-Canberra

QantasLink Boeing 717 economy class review: Canberra-Brisbane

QantasLink Airbus A320 economy class review: Perth-Broome-Perth

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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 273

Most of the services Townsville to Brisbane are also Qlink 717’s these days and many are the horrible old 125 seat one class variety, they are a disgrace and should be flown to the desert and left there. I don’t see how QF can justify charging the same price for a ticket to fly on one of these horrible things as they do to fly on a 737.

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 122

Agreed. Don't understand why people rave about Qantas being full service and flying in Australia compared to Europe and the USA, especially given the prices. On a lot of markets you get aircraft like F100 or the 125 seat one class 717. These are old aircraft with no wifi, no IFE of any form and the food offering is usually something like crackers. Pretty pathetic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 328

There seem to be a few QantasLink routes missed out in this article, including Melbourne-Launceston, Sydney-Ballina and Sydney-Gold Coast.

Hi both, as noted in the article, the route list above is merely a snapshot of the network, not a comprehensive list of flights and routes.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Mar 2014

Total posts 18

Melbourne-Launceston has not been operated by Qantas mainline for close to 15 years and Sydney-Ballina launched this year with QantasLink.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 328

It also shows Melbourne - Hobart. QantasLink hasn't flown into Hobart from Melbourne for years. However, I understand that this will be changing in the coming months with the 717's coming back on the route.

Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 282

It's always annoyed me that when flying on Qlink Dash8 services that I can't select my seat, other than a window/aisle preference.   Qantas' MMB gives the false information that I can select my seat from the operating airline's website, but of course Qlink does not have a seperate website.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on The complete guide to travelling with QantasLink