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QantasLink review: Sydney to Hamilton Island – Boeing 717-200, economy class

Posted: 24 June 2019 1:36 pm
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Top-notch nosh, daily flight options and optimal seating conditions make QantasLink a winner from home to Hamilton Island.

My husband and I initially booked flights to Hamilton Island for $147 return on Jetstar to celebrate our one year anniversary. But a few months before it was due to take off I received the dreaded message: our return leg had been canned. Instead of flying out Friday and returning Monday, we were rebooked to fly out Friday and return Saturday – two days earlier than expected. Not happy, Jan.

The only other alternative was to fly us back on Wednesday (two days too late) or cancel for a full refund. We chose the latter.

Refusing to forego our trip, we turned to Qantas. Its QantasLink flight was priced higher than Jetstar, but using points we got our return fares down to $105 each. Plus, we liked the added assurance that if this flight was cancelled too, Qantas had flights the day before and after to move us onto. Luckily, that didn't happen. Here's what did.

QantasLink flight details

  • Route: Sydney to Hamilton Island
  • Duration: 2 hours 40 minutes (outbound), 2 hours 20 minutes (inbound)
  • Flight Numbers: QF1572 (outbound), QF1573 (inbound)
  • Aircraft Type: Boeing 717-200
  • Dates Travelled: 24-27 May 2019
  • Class: Economy
  • Frequent Flyer Program: Qantas
  • Points earned: None. This was a reward seat

Stephanie Yip's QantasLink review ★★★★★

  • High-quality in-flight meals/snacks
  • 2-3 seat configuration – perfect for couples and small families
  • Ample legroom
  • Daily flights
  • Good communication regarding flight delays
  • Flight delays both ways

What did I like?

  • High-quality in-flight meals. Ours was only a 2.5 hour flight but no matter how long a domestic full-service carrier flies, they always feed you. Having experienced Virgin Australia's bliss-ball breakfast I was extremely impressed by Qantas' effort which consisted of the option (yes, I got options) of French toast or a quiche for a morning snack. Being a travelling couple we trialled both options and were pleasantly surprised by the packaging, quality and portion size. The quiche is the winner, by the way. Our return flight offered us an afternoon snack with the choice of pie or stone-baked ciabatta. Again, we were extremely impressed. The pie was the winner, by the way.

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  • 2-seat configuration. Being a regional journey, the Sydney to Hamilton Island route is operated by QantasLink and served by the small Boeing 717-200 plane. Its economy seating is set in a 2-3 seat configuration which is ideal if you're a couple and don't want to sit next to a stranger.

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  • Ample legroom. Despite the smaller craft, there was ample leg room for both myself and my husband to stretch our legs comfortably.
  • Good communication regarding flight delays. The first by around 45 minutes, the second by around 30 minutes. We were notified by SMS both times, though both were too late as we were already at the airport.

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  • Daily flights: As mentioned above, the main reason we wound up flying full-service was because Jetstar cancelled our flight leaving us with inconvenient options. Qantas flies Sydney to Hamilton Island daily, even during off-peak.

What didn’t I like?

  • Flights were delayed both ways. For a luxurious and relaxing holiday, our journey didn't start that way. We arrived at the airport around 1.5 hours before our flight and were quickly advised that our flight was delayed via the screens and via SMS. First it was by 30 minutes, then it slowly crept up to 45 minutes. Luckily for us, we had originally redeemed Qantas Lounge passes for the trip so could sit in comfort within reach of food, but others would have had to do the departure gate wait.

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Would I use QantasLink again?

In one word: yes. Qantas is regarded as the best airline in Australia/Pacific for a reason. Its service and meals were high quality, seats were spacious and clean, and the flight was smooth outside of flight delays, which was not the airline's fault.

The delays, while inconvenient were also quite short making the extra 45-minute wait quite painless. I also highly recommend choosing those couple seats if you're travelling in twos as you don't have to climb over a stranger for a bathroom break.

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