The De Havilland DHC-8, or “Dash 8”, is the backbone of the QantasLink fleet and a common sight at regional airports around Australia. There are three versions of the Dash 8 in the QantasLink fleet; the -200 series which is mostly used on flights to Lord Howe Island, and the larger Dash 8 Q300 and Q400 turboprop aircraft.
In this review, we look at the QantasLink Economy class service on a short Dash 8 Q400 hop from Sydney to Canberra.
|Route||Sydney (SYD) to Canberra (CBR)|
|Aircraft type||De Havilland DHC-8 400 series (Dash 8 Q400)|
|Class of travel||Economy|
|On-time performance||We arrived 20 minutes early|
This flight was booked as a connecting flight on an international itinerary, but an Economy ticket from Sydney to Canberra normally starts at $192 one-way for a red-eDeal fare. You can sometimes get a lower price when the route is on sale. Classic Flight Reward tickets cost 8,000 Qantas points + $59, and there is usually plenty of award availability.
Navigating Terminal 3 at Sydney Airport, which is the Qantas domestic terminal, is usually very easy. There are plenty of self-service check-in and automatic bag drop kiosks, so there’s never any need to wait. Qantas staff are also available if you need help.
There are two security checkpoints at Terminal 3 – if the main one is busy, you can usually head over to the smaller checkpoint at the western end of the concourse and you’ll rarely have to wait long.
Qantas Club members and Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire frequent flyers normally have access to the Qantas Club. Qantas Platinum, Platinum One and Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers can use the domestic Qantas Business Lounge. However, these lounges are currently closed due to government-mandated COVID-19 restrictions.
The Hard Product
QantasLink does not offer Business class on its Dash 8 aircraft. On the Q400, there are 19 rows of Economy seats in a 2-2 configuration.
The best seats are 1B, and 2C/D which are located in the exit rows and offer extra legroom. However, note that QantasLink does not allow advance seat selection for aircraft weight & balance reasons. Seats are assigned automatically – with frequent flyers with higher status generally being assigned seats closer to the front of the plane. However, you can choose from the available seats once online check-in opens 24 hours before departure.
The leather seats on the Dash 8 are quite narrow, but are comfortable for short flights and offer a good amount of legroom. The seats do not recline.
There are no power outlets, wifi or in-flight entertainment – other than a magazine in the seat pocket – on the QantasLink Dash 8. So, you may like to bring your own entertainment – for example, you could use the time to listen to the AFF on Air podcast on your own device. If you own a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, you may also like to bring these with you as the plane is quite noisy!
Note that the overhead lockers on the Dash 8 are smaller than those on a jet. Larger carry-on bags are tagged as “premium hand luggage” and are stored in the cargo hold during the flight. They can be collected from the foot of the aircraft on arrival.
Personally, I like flying on the Dash 8s. They don’t come with the bells and whistles of a jet aircraft, but the flights are typically short anyway and, on a Dash 8, you really feel like you’re flying! The cruising altitude is also typically lower (Dash 8s cannot fly above 25,000 feet) so you often get better views out the window.
The Soft Product
I’ve flown many times on QantasLink Dash 8s, and cannot remember ever receiving bad service. The crews are great, and while hot meals are not served, the catering is usually appropriate for the time of day and the length of the flight.
This particular flight from Sydney to Canberra departed at midday, and a cold chicken and pasta salad pot was served promptly after takeoff with a bottle of water. This was followed by a choice of tea, coffee or cold drinks. The salad was actually very tasty and hit the spot. With a flight time of less than half an hour, I couldn’t have asked for more.
On some QantasLink Dash 8 flights, a snack box such as this one is served:
On flights departing in the late afternoon and evening, complimentary beer and wine is available in Economy class.
QantasLink Dash 8 Q400 Economy Class
It’s always a pleasure to fly with QantasLink, and this flight was no exception. The cabin crew were friendly, the complimentary snacks and drinks hit the spot, and we arrived early. There are no bells & whistles on the Dash 8, but for short flights, this aircraft does the job reliably.