Review of QantasLink flight Brisbane Longreach in Economy

Airline QantasLink
Flight QF2546
Class Economy
Seat 5D
Flight time 03:05
Take-off 16 Nov 23, 11:05
Arrival at 16 Nov 23, 14:10
QF   #51 out of 94 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 31 reviews
Jett Tyler
By GOLD 266
Published on 28th December 2023

Longreach- The Home of QANTAS!


QANTAS has humble beginnings that harken back to 1920, just over two years after WW1 ended, the airline started as "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services" (QANTAS for short) and it started out at Longreach Airport in Queensland.


photo img_7664

Over the next 100 years a lot of changes occurred as the airline slowly grew into the flag carrier for Australia. They began to base themselves in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne- the only link to their humble origin being a Dash 8 Q-400 operated flight from Brisbane that operates daily as a vital link into the Australian Outback.


photo img_7818

Longreach was also the fitting place to set up the Qantas Founders Museum and with that located at Longreach- I wasn't going to tour Australia and miss out on a visit to Longreach!


photo gopr8045

Experiencing Brisbane Airport in 2023!


My hotel was a six minute walk from the Central Station in Brisbane, so I was very much able to get the AirTrain with ease to the Domestic Airport in less than 30 minutes, which was brilliant for commuting. I paid $15/AUD (£7.80p).



I got to Brisbane Airport and made the short walk from the train station over to the Qantas check in area at the Domestic Terminal for the QantasLINK domestic flight across the Queensland Outback.


photo gopr7900photo gopr7903

I didn't take long to get airside, I had a good 3 hours to enjoy some plane spotting as well as getting a decent breakfast as I wasn't expecting much on a flight operated by a Bombardier Dash 8 Q-400


photo gopr7907-98060

And this was the breakfast I found at the café airside, I had a toastie with cheese, ham and egg as well as a cookie to accompany a nice coffee!


Nothing extremely fancy, but I enjoyed it and it was filling enough for me. I was able to use a power port to charge up my GoPro ready for the three hours flight across the Outback as well as topping my phone up so I didn't have to use my power bank.


photo gopr7910

I moved about the airside sections spotting some unique Australian aircraft, I even saw my plane at a distance, I would find that out later on.


My aircraft is the Dash 8 Q-400 on the left of the QantasLINK ERJ-190 in the distance. Not the one in the left of the overall image.


photo gopr7908

QANTAS QF2546 (BRISBANE-BARCALDINE-LONGREACH)


It goes without saying that my return trip from Brisbane to Longreach (BNE-LRE-BNE) was the most expensive domestic flight booking of my tour, making it only second most expensive to my return flights between the UK and Australia. The return journey cost me a booking of $535AUD (£280 or Є320 or $345USD)- great for Qantas bank account, but not strictly for mine!



It was time to get boarded, we boarded using Gate 1 which was a bus gate. Qantas doesn't offer seat selection in advance on these flights, but luckily I got window seats honoured both ways on my trip as well as in two different positions.


The bus ride was about 5 minutes (probably less) and it took us over the Bombardier Dash 8 Q-400, VH-LQQ. Delivered in August 2014 to Sunstate Airlines who operate QANTASLINK flights on behalf of Qantas using Dash 8 Q-400, this plane has been flown under this arrangement ever since. It holds 74 passengers and regularly flies Regional and Outback services as the smallest plane in the overall Qantas fleet.



I took my seat toward the front of the aircraft, sitting in Seat 5D. This gave me a brilliant view of the right engine- full prop view through the entire flight, which I was very happy with!!!


photo gopr7927photo gopr7930

Once we loaded up, we were off for out flight across Queensland. We were a little behind, the flight would end up being about 35 minutes late at the end of the trip. We rocketed out of Brisbane Airport and the views were astonishing on this lovely day!


We took off and made a big loop to the South-East bringing us around for the North West-bound flight into the outback. We flew over Brisbane Airport before passing over the north of Brisbane city. Eventually we passed into the clouds.



Once the flight flew inland enough, the clouds began to dissipate revealing the desert lands as we flew away from the coastline.


photo gopr7949

The two crew members on the plane began the bar and snack service. I accepted the cookies that were offered as well a cup of tea and glass of orange juice. A bottle of water was also offered, which I also enjoyed through the flight.


photo gopr7951

Something to note about this flight to Longreach is its part of a multi-city or "milk run" service. This flight was to make a stop in Barcaldine on the way to drop off people in that location. It would pick up some new faces in Barcaldine then fly onto Longreach. At Longreach the same thing would happen as they take on new passengers at Longreach to return to Brisbane. The flight doesn't always stop at Barcaldine as the service to Longreach alternates with Blackall, which my return flight did the following afternoon.


I don't think Qantas sell flights between Blackall and Barcaldine to Longreach, solely Brisbane services to one of the three destinations. I know my flight was counted as a single BNE-LRE service which happened to make a stop in Barcaldine. Longreach can be reached to/from Barcaldine by road in just over 1hr by driving or on a 90 minute bus journey by Greyhound (Australia) from $200/AUD (£105). By comparison Blackall can be done in a 2hr 15min drive or a 2.5hr bus ride.


photo gopr7968

We arrived into Barcaldine Airport, half the passengers on the plane left the aircraft for Barcaldine. Anyone flying onward to Longreach couldn't leave the aircraft.


We had a 25 minute break, so some people could use the toilet or get up to stretch their legs. The near three hour service is a long time to be flying on a Dash 8 Q-400, even for someone used to it.



I was allowed by the cabin crew to grab a photo of Barcaldine Airport from the door as I was seated on the wrong side for a good view, Barcaldine Airport looked so different to what I'm used to in Europe. I've always seen most airports (even regional European ones) to be somewhat sophisticated buildings to suit the strict security procedures in Europe- where as Barcaldine looked like a local bus station. 


I found the airport wonderfully brilliant- its going down as my most obscure airport I've ever been to, despite not leaving the plane!


photo gopr7980

Eventually it was time to return to Seat 5D, as the crew prepared for the boarding of the new passengers from Barcaldine.


Once everyone was onboard, the plane was fired up and ready for the 35 minute flight over to Longreach. The crew handed out some new bottles of water to everyone as they wouldn't be conducting a service on this short hop to Longreach and the seat belts would remain on the entire time meaning no one could leave their seat.


I did find this a bit amusing as (for context) I had flown 35 minute Flybe Dash 8 Q-400 flights from Southampton to Manchester (and back) where a full buy on board service had easily been carried out by the crews. Though given the 2hr flight these guys had back to Brisbane, it would probably make sense to not do a service on this little extra part.


photo gopr7985photo gopr7984

With little pomp and ceremony, we went on for the last leg to Longreach Airport. We made the taxi to the runway before heading to the end of the runway, making the 180-degree turn around before whizzing off into a cloudy Queensland sky.


As we climbed out of Barcaldine Airport I noticed a massive solar panel farm in the dessert, which I guess is an ideal place to have one, we flew quite low over the Outback before making some turns to line-up onto the runway for our final approach into Longreach. Once we landed and began to taxi toward the terminal building I was excited to see the famous Qantas Founders Museum (QFM) just off the Airport, I was looking forward to my visit the following morning!


The cabin crew made their welcome to Longreach announcement mentioning both the respects to the original custodians of the land as well as the town being the home to Qantas- where the airline started off over 100 years ago!



I departed the plane with all the Longreach bound passengers and made my way to the arrivals area which consisted of one baggage carousel (I had a checked bag to claim), across the hall was a desk for rental cars, some toilets and that was it. It kind of reminded me of my local airports of Bournemouth Hurn and Southampton Eastleigh.


I left the Airport Terminal and went to a taxi rink to see if I could pick up a taxi into the main town, I didn't really fancy the 45 minute walk in what turned out to be +40°C heat- something I hadn't experienced before, yet alone being not used to it!


Luckily a local taxi was picking up a couple with a mini bus and was able to take on me and another passenger from the flight, so $17/AUD later I was at my accommodation for the night.


photo gopr8084
See more

Verdict

QantasLink

6.3/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi3.0
Meal/catering6.0

Brisbane - BNE

8.8/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness9.0

Longreach - LRE

7.0/10
Efficiency8.0
Access7.0
Services4.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

It was a pretty interesting experience for someone who is keen on aviation and from outside Australia to head out on one of these "Outback Shuttles" provided by the dedicated Qantas Dash 8 Q-400 and their crews. It was impressive to see how different flying in the Outback is compared to mainline city to city flying within major Australian cities or even within Europe.
Getting to fly a Dash 8 Q-400 was a nice tick off as they are not currently easily accessible in Europe since Flybe dissolved & Austrian retired their fleet.

Related

0 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !

Login to post a comment.