Review: Qantas Business Class, Gold Coast – Sydney

I flew Sydney to Gold Coast on Virgin Australia, and then back to Sydney on Qantas. That gave me a taste of two different Australian domestic options on the same route, and they were remarkably similar. (Jetstar and REX also fly between the two cities.)

While there wasn’t any award space on Qantas for my trip up to Gold Coast from Sydney, for our Thursday morning return there was plenty available. In fact the short flight can be booked in business class for just 9000 British Airways Avios one-way per person and $76, which is a nice value against a ~ $525 fare.

Gold Coast – Sydney, 11:10 a.m. – 12:40 p.m., Qantas QF1783

While the trip up to Gold Coast was on a Friday at the start of a long weekend, I was returning on a Thursday morning. And Gold Coast airport isn’t going to be as busy as Sydney anyway There was absolutely no no wait to check in, and security took a matter of seconds.

Qantas Club Gold Coast

The Qantas lounge is just past security on the left. It’s a small lounge but sufficient for the passenger volume while we were there (but since it was largely full even at this off peak time I imagine at peak times it gets quite packed).

The lounge consists of two major areas – a dining room and a seating area that’s divided into a few smaller ‘zones’.

The lounge food was less robust than Virgin’s, but with more choices (and in Gold Coast, versus Sydney where you might expect more choices). Coffee here was self-serve, versus barista-made from virgin in Sydney.

QantasLink Business Class, Gold Coast – Sydney

We walked over to the gate just before scheduled boarding. It was a gate area where you’d enter and take an escalator downstairs into a holding area, most of which was encompassed by boarding queues. Much of the flight was already lined up when we boarded to the priority line was pretty deep. But we didn’t have a lot of overhead bin space needs on this short flight, so I’d rather come later than stand in line longer.

Within a minute or two of scheduled time we boarded the QantasLink Boeing 717. That meant walking out onto the tarmac to board via ramp.

Inside the cabin was a standard domestic layout, with three rows of business class compared to two on Virgin Australia’s larger 737. Seating felt tight. In fact there was almost zero underseat storage because of how the seat is mounted to the floor

No predeparture beverages were served. We just sat on the plane and waited to taxi out, which didn’t take long at the Gold Coast airport. Once in the air though a flight attendant came through with the drink cart, followed by a choice of hot meals.

I watched a couple of shows on my phone. There’s no seat back entertainment. And before I knew it we were on approach in Sydney, and in fact arrived 10 minutes early.

Qantas Short-Haul Domestic Business In A Nutshell

The flight was average in most every way, but I mark it down somewhat due to the antiquated seats and lack of underseat storage.

Qantas domestic business class flight (1-10):

    Seat (50%): 4/10
    Lounge (15%): 5/10
    Food and Beverage (20%): 5/10
    Service (15%): 5/10
    Weighted average: 4.5/10

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Nice to see that you could again fly to visit relatives in Australia.

    Did you or will you get a chance to use either of the Priority Pass lounges at SYD during this visit to Australia?

  2. The 717s down by QF are some of the last ones in service world wide. When the A220s arrive to replace them it should hopefully be a better service but the way Qantas is operating at the moment that is not guaranteed

  3. This seems like luxury compared to my recent flight with QF on the Airbus 330 between SYD and PER. So the aircraft is a flat bed product but QF don’t provide pillows or even a blanket for the 5, hour flight. God was poor, drink service ok but wines not that great and coffee provided in a paper cup! Shocking. Virgin from now on.

  4. OOL-SYD is 12,500 Avios plus about USD35, although you can choose pricing option of 9,050 plus about USD75 amongst others (if that’s what you are mis-referencing) .

    Smart move would be to save those Avios for a much better redemption rate such as MEL-PER.

    Rex is currently offering this route one way business class for about USD195 using Virgin’s former 737 aircraft and seating…;)

    Virgin is currently about USD225 one way business class.

    QF is sitting a the top of price pile at about USD525 (as quoted in the article).

    Noting you have rated Virgin higher than QF, you have to ask why people would part with points for this route, or indeed even pay for QF given it’s less than half price to pony up the cash and the lounge, etc., is included either way!

    (To note that you’d also earn more points on VA than QF as a Platinum member of either (this the point earn on VA is double that of QF for a frequent flyer).

    Oh and on QF you’d be struggling to allocate seats without top tier status since they are blocked off. VA you can locate seats as part of the cash booking process without restrictions.

    Oh and you shouldn’t need that under-the-seat space if you are compliant with the carry on rules – there’s plenty of room in the overhead bins…;)

  5. All i want is a big seat with leg room. I am 6foot7 and 130 kg. I would l like to enter and exit the plane without hurting smaller people and with the least amount of fuss. I am prepared to pay for express embarkation including baggage, a big seat, extra leg room. What i wont pay for is free grog, i dont drink, fancy food arse, arse kissing lounges. I havnt flown for 10 years, why?

  6. I’m wondering if the experience would have been different had you chosen a flight operated by a Qantas mainline 737 rather then the Qantaslink 717. i.e. Do Qantaslink offer a more regional “light” business class product?

  7. How did you find the Qantas inflight service as compared to Virgin’s crew?

    Virgin Australia used to pride itself on its youthful image and played on this in their inflight service – however I find that this is long gone and they rarely show any notable friendliness these days.

  8. 717 Qlink is operated by contractors. Their training is nothing compared to mainline. The cabin crew are paid 45k a year, with no qf travel perks. You can’t imagine the service would be anywhere near mainline. I’d err on the side of caution to say Qlink branded aircraft are deathtraps, unfortunately it’s only a matter of time.

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