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QantasLink review: Sydney to Dubbo (Dash 8-400)


Despite a boarding delay, it was otherwise smooth sailing on Qantas's regional arm QantasLink.

QantasLink flight details

  • Route: Sydney to Dubbo (one-way)
  • Duration: 1h 5m
  • Flight number: QF2046
  • Aircraft type: De Havilland DHC-8 400 Series (Dash 8-400)
  • Dates travelled: 14 January 2022
  • Class: Economy
  • Frequent flyer program: Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Points earned: 800 Qantas Points and 10 Status Credits

Stephanie Yip's QantasLink review:


  • Convenient flight times
  • Full service
  • Free baby perks, including up-front seating
  • Relatively empty flight
  • Expensive last-minute fare
  • Late boarding with no updates

After my partner was sent on a work trip to Dubbo for the week, I made the last-minute decision to fly across part of New South Wales to spend the weekend with him.

Why'd I fly? Well, he took the car for one. I also have a 10-month-old, so hiring a car to do the 5-hour drive was going to be a much larger mission than paying the extra to hop on a plane for an hour.

And boy, did I pay.

Booking the flight the day before meant my options were slim. QantasLink had a one-way seat for $289 (ouch.)

Rex was the other airline flying between Sydney and Dubbo. Despite it being cheaper, its flight time on a Friday was not as convenient as Qantas's, which landed at 4.30pm when my partner would be done with work and able to pick us up.

Was it worth it? Yes, for the family trip. But for the price, I'm going to try and be more organised next time as the standard RRP on that leg would have saved me $100.

Baby playing on the plane

Snack on Qantas Link Flight

What did I like?

  • Convenient flight time: The selling point for me was the Friday afternoon flight. It leaves Sydney at 3.20pm and arrives at 4.25pm. This gives you the day to pack or finish up work early and gets you into Dubbo in time to settle and have dinner.
  • Full service. The included baggage and in-flight snack and beverage are a lovely addition – particularly when you have a kid with you.
  • Flying with baby perks: Babies under 2 fly free on Qantas and its regional airlines as long as they fly in your lap. While this is a standard with full-service carriers, you'll often have to pay a fraction of an adult fare to fly a baby (yes, even if they're on your lap) on a budget carrier. Flying with a baby also gives you free up-front seating (I was in row 2 as row 1 was an emergency exit row seat) and free carry-on items for your bub. Namely, a portacot, pram/stroller and baby car seat.
  • Half-full flight: A by-product of travelling during COVID-19 and on a regional route was a relatively empty flight. This made boarding and disembarking quick and meant that no one had to share their row with anyone who wasn't in their party.

Qantas Link seat

What didn't I like?

  • Expensive fare: OK, this was my fault for leaving it so late, but a price jump of $100 hurts the hip pocket. (I paid $289 for a seat that typically costs $188). Looking at Google Flights booking at least a week in advance can save you from $50 for the same flight.
  • Late boarding: A bunch of regional flights were departing from the same gate at Sydney's Qantas terminal and mine was the last of the afternoon. With flights to Orange, Armidale and Wagga Wagga all taking off within 5 minutes of each other before my Dubbo flight, it's little surprise that, despite Qantas's reputation for being on time, I wound up boarding late. What gets me though is that there was no announcement that it was delayed or even that boarding had commenced. It was merely a matter of when the crew started gesturing to passengers to come up. Maybe this is a standard of regional routes as I felt I was one of the few flying as a tourist. Either way, a little communication would have been appreciated.

Baby staring at Qantas plane

Would I use QantasLink again?

Yes. Despite the boarding delay, we only landed 15 minutes off schedule. Everything else about the journey went smoothly from the attentiveness of the crew to the smoothness of the flight. I also earned points, which is a bonus. However, if I wasn't so particular about the departure time, I would consider giving Rex a go to see how it compares.

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