Aircraft: Boeing 717
Not enough QantasLink. Not enough seat width. Not enough legroom.
Spending 90 minutes in a QantasLink 717 standard economy seat put me as close to airline hell as you can get without flying on a low-cost carrier.
The 717 is a smaller plane but I have vague memories of these aging aircraft once being comfortable. If that’s so, Qantas has somehow managed to retrofit them, at least from a Big Guy perspective, into a conveyance worthy of Dante.
My seat was so confining it even made its tight but tolerable counterpart on the Boeing 737 flight home look good.
What made it worse was this was a Qantas ticket on a major trunk route.
Among the plusses: the airline’s standard inclusion of checked luggage in the ticket price along with frequent flyer miles and status credits.
Seat and Amenities
In the interests of disclosure, I’m just under 6ft 5inches and not a small guy. But I’m not alone in having long legs.
For me, this was a cramped, confining, uncomfortable seat and an instance where short people were very definitely having more fun.
My legs were trapped hard-up against the seat in front to the point of causing discomfort and an overwhelming desire to be pretty much anywhere else. The guy in the middle seat appeared to be praying.
This is the kind of circumstance where there shouldn’t be seat recline and if there is, using it should be a capital offense. But people did.
Getting anything out of a trouser pocket was a logistical nightmare, there was nowhere to stow anything and the tray table hit the top of my legs at an angle of about 15-20 degrees and refused to go lower.
If this tray table trouble had been due to my age-expanded girth I would have shrugged and gone “mea culpa” but it wasn’t . And my legs are no longer than they were during a more streamlined youth.
Customer service on board
The crew were in the middle of the spectrum: pleasant enough but nothing to write home about. If they were cognizant of the discomfort they were putting some of their passengers through, they didn’t show it.
It’s a 90-minute flight and these days you don’t expect much, which was probably just as well.
It was orange juice for me and a small packet of bite-sized biscuits. I didn’t attempt the hot tea or coffee because of the previously mentioned problems with the tray table and a desire not to arrive in Brisbane speaking in a falsetto voice.
The only place that seemed to be available to park rubbish was the floor, which a few people used.
The aircraft had Q Streaming, the Qantas streaming entertainment service that delivers entertainment to people’s devices. A strap on the back of the seat appeared to be designed to hold tablets.
I had assumed I had the appropriate Qantas app but apparently I didn’t, despite the kangaroo icon.
This meant I wasn’t able to access the movies and TV shows on the flight. If there was a way of downloading the right app during the flight, it wasn’t intuitively obvious and the Qantas website suggests there wasn’t.
There were some beyondblue relaxation exercises that may have been accessible but by half-way through the flight, I was well beyond beyondblue. Maybe it would have helped the guy in the middle seat.
An attempt to read a newspaper made it quickly obvious that I should have chosen a tabloid rather a broadsheet. However, that’s probably true for all standard economy seats.
It would need a dire emergency to coax me back on a QantasLink 717 without a guarantee of an exit row seat.
The problem I now have with Qantas is that it uses these planes on trunk routes and that leaves open the possibility of a last-minute equipment switch.
This could conceivably deliver me once more into perdition and that’s hardly a prospect to relish.
Cabin: Economy Class
Route: Broome to Perth
Seat and Amenities
We were seated in the emergency exit row so plenty of leg room however the seat on the emergency exit door only has half an armrest. The gentleman behind me was particularly large so i did not recline the seat. There were some blankets and pillows available upon request
Customer service on board
Excellent customer service.
A hot meal was offered and complimentary non alcoholic beverages. The meal is VERY small. I know for a fact it is lot more generous than most regional airlines around the world but if you are hungry get a snack at the airport first
No in flight entertainment