So the other day I made a treacherous journey, a journey so treacherous that only the insane dare to try it, by treacherous I mean short and by the journey I mean I had frequent flyer points that were about to expire. Please do enjoy my little flight review
Flight details QF1463, Sydney to Canberra. The scheduled 7:45 am departure from Sydney with the arrival in Canberra scheduled at 8:40 am, 55min flight. In reality, we departed Sydney on time and arrived in Canberra 21 minutes early, a quick 34min flight. Aircraft was a Dash 8 Q400 which are the main workhorses on this route, B717’s fly the route at peak times.
Check-in: Sydney’s Qantas Terminal is a breeze, it’s a simple do it yourself system which I personally quite enjoy. The quietness of the terminal coupled with short lines and helpful staff leaves you feeling positive.
Boarding: Boarding was an interesting affair. The process of actually finding the obscure location of the gate is somewhat frustrating and probably requires a college degree. Once at the gate lounge, I found it adequate if not oversized for the small 74 capacity of the Dash 8 Q400. Boarding itself was done by the tarmac, which was quick and efficient.
Comfort: The seats were adequate for a regional turboprop. Sure, they were pretty rock solid but honestly what more could you expect on a 34min flight. However anything longer then an hour would probably give you back pain. Legroom was fine even for my 6ft 3 frame, however, the propellers were pretty loud, you’d wanna bring noise-cancelling headphones and sit near the front of the plane.
Food: This is where QantasLink impressed me, even for about a 10-minute cruise food was still brought out. A nice little pastry with a choice of juice, tea, coffee or water (I opted for water) was truly a nice way to start the day.
Service: Friendly, attentive and efficient. You can’t do much during a 34-minute flight yet the two flight attendants impressed me
Entertainment: None whatsoever. I opted just to listen to Train on my iPhone while looking out the window.
Aircraft and the flight itself: The 11-year-old Dash 8 wasn’t showing its age at all, had nice upkeep like most Qantas aircraft and is a rugged little thing. The flight was during the NSW Bushfires that have ravaged our state, when stepping off the aircraft I almost fainted due to the high amount of smoke in the air, Canberra had the worst air quality in the world that day. Bumps were minor and smoke covered landscapes was the scene for most of the flight.
Background info: The flight was operated by Sunstate Airlines on behalf of Eastern Airlines which is a fancy way of saying it operated under the QantasLink banner on behalf of Qantas’s wholly-owned subsides. QantasLink is the regional branch of Qantas and connects many remote and regional centres to major cities, it operates aircraft with its livery and is a lifeline to many Australian communities
Overall: QantasLink’s “Capital Connect” service was a nice way to get to Canberra however at $AU192 one way it seems silly to fly on the route simply for leisure, it was a nice change though. It’s a flight for business travellers who aren’t paying for their flights so it serves its purpose. The cabin was nicely presented and food was an unexpected delight. Sure, it’s nice but the price doesn’t justify it’s “niceness”, I’d rather get a train on the same route for a quarter of the price.
My rating: 6.5/10