In general, it’s possible to select your preferred seat in advance when flying on Qantas. But when flying on a QantasLink Dash 8 aircraft, you’ll only be able to select a seat once online check-in opens 24 hours before the flight. Before this time, you’ll only be able to nominate an aisle or window preference.
So, why is this and how can you ensure a good seat on QantasLink Dash 8 flights?
No Advance Seat Selection on QantasLink Dash 8 Flights
QantasLink flies Dash 8 aircraft on many domestic regional routes, as well as from Cairns to Port Moresby. These turboprop aircraft have a maximum of 74 seats in an Economy-only configuration.
Due to the small size of these aircraft, Qantas needs to be able to spread passengers around the plane to ensure proper weight distribution of the aircraft. If everybody chose a seat at the front of the plane, the aircraft’s centre of gravity would be too far forward.
If a Dash 8 flight is not full, Qantas will usually only allocate two of the four seats in each row from rows 1-5 (excluding the exit rows). This is great for anyone allocated these seats because everyone gets a free neighbouring seat, or “shadow”. Of course, if the flight was full then all seats would be allocated. But QantasLink won’t know how full the flight will be until closer to departure – which is why advance seat selection is not offered.
The good news is that passengers with Qantas status are generally automatically allocated seats closer to the front of the plane. In general, your aisle/window preference will also be honoured if possible.
When online check-in opens for your QantasLink flight, you will be able to view the seat map and change to another available seat.
Best QantasLink Dash 8 Seats
There are three versions of Dash 8 aircraft in the QantasLink fleet – the 200 series, 300 series and Q400 series. On all aircraft, Economy class is laid out in a 2-2 configuration. The leather seats are rather narrow, but every seat has good legroom. The seats are comfortable but do not recline and there is no in-flight entertainment (other than the airline magazines).
On the Q400, you can get extra legroom in the exit row seats. These are 1A, 1B, 2C and 2D. The best seat is 1B (which has more room than 1A), however you’ll be sitting directly across from the flight attendant during take-off and landing.
On the Dash 8-300, the best seats are 1B and anything in row 10 (the aft exit row). Note that seats 1C and 1D directly face 1E and 1F, the latter of which are rear-facing seats.
On the Dash 8-200, the best seat is 1B. 1C, 1D and anything in row 4 are also good. Note that 1A has very restricted legroom.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Seat Selection on QantasLink De Havilland DHC-8 400 Flight