Book Economy, Fly Business on Qantas 717 Routes

Qantas 717 Business class seats
Qantas 717 Business class seats

Our members have discovered a way to book Economy and fly Business class for no extra cost on some Qantas 717 flights.

Qantas’ regional subsidiary QantasLink operates two different Boeing 717 configurations. Some aircraft have all-Economy seating, while others have a 12-seat Business class cabin. The two-class Qantas 717s featuring Business class are typically used on the busy east coast trunk routes, as well as flights to Canberra and Hobart. Meanwhile, the single-class planes are mostly used on regional routes.

Qantas does not sell Business class tickets on regional Boeing 717 routes. However, these flights are operated by aircraft with a Business cabin from time to time. Where this happens, as one AFF member recently discovered, the Business class seats can be selected by Economy passengers! You’ll still get Economy service, but with a better seat and more legroom.

My better half and I flew out to alice springs a week ago using our QFF points while they were on a previous discount. As better half is gold QFF, I had booked our seats earlier and the closest up front was row 8/9. 2 days before the flight I log back in and can up our seats to row 1 2 or 3, so choose 2 as 1 being exit row and with kids you cannot use. Un be known to me we were seated in business seats for economy tickets. Looks like certain 717s (alice springs to BNE for this flight), are business seats but economy ticketed! Bonus!!!

The two-class Qantas 717 aircraft are popping up on several regional routes to/from Brisbane that are normally sold as Economy-only. As well as Brisbane to Alice Springs, Business class is making an appearance on the Brisbane-Mackay and Brisbane-Rockhampton routes.

Better half is now getting some 717s out of MKY and same deal, middle seat on row 1 to 3 is blocked out for seats D, like the Alice Springs flight, but still the flight is all economy, no business on the flight!!! Bonus way to get business seats on economy ticket!!!

Not all flights on these routes will have Business class seating. But on flights that do, seats 1E, 2E and 3E are blocked off on the seat map. (The middle “E” seats don’t exist in the Business cabin.) This seat map from Expert Flyer shows an example:

Screenshot from Expert Flyer
Screenshot from Expert Flyer

As you might expect, the Business seats are reserved for top-tier frequent flyers. But these seats are opened up for selection by all passengers up to 80 hours before the flight’s scheduled departure time. In other words, you’ll be able to select a better seat from 3 days and 8 hours ahead of the flight. For example, the seat map below (for a flight departing in 24 hours) shows some Business seats available for selection.

Screenshot from Expert Flyer
Screenshot from Expert Flyer

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: QF 717 experience


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]