Trip Reports

QantasLink Boeing 717 Economy to Melbourne

An early morning jaunt to Australia’s culture capital

Earlier this month I made my first trip of 2022, a day trip to Melbourne, beginning with a very early morning QantasLink 717 to Tullamarine. You can check out my previous QantasLink 717 trip report here.

Flight Details
Aircraft TypeBoeing 717-200
Aircraft Age21.5 years
RouteHobart to Melbourne Tullamarine
Flight NumberQF1550
A virtually empty Hobart Airport

Our day started with a very early drive to an empty Hobart Airport, for a 5:15am check-in. With virtually no line at check-in or security, we were through to the departure hall within 5 minutes of walking through the terminal doors.

Boarding VH-NXE

We boarded at around 5:45, and were soon seated up the back of our ride to Melbourne, 21 year old Boeing 717-23S, VH-NXE, an airframe that has spent it’s entire life in Australia, having been delivered to Impulse Airlines in September 2000.

Climbing out over Tasmania

Pushback was on time, and after a rather smokey engine startup, we taxied out to the end of runway 30 and took off to the north, climbing out just as the sun peeked over the horizon.

Inflight service

The service began just after popping up through the clouds, and consisted of a slice of banana bread, water, plus orange juice, tea or coffee.

QantasLink Boeing 717-200 VH-NXE cabin

The rest of the flight was fairly uneventful, and completely turbulence free, until we began our descent into Melbourne for a runway 27 landing, when we were treated to the sight of a group of hot air balloons being inflated at Essendon and floating gracefully over the city.

Hot air balloons over Melbourne

Just as we were approaching the runway, I spotted the highlight of the trip for me – a Volga-Dnepr Antonov An-124, parked over near the jet base, but more on that later.

Spot the Ruslan

After a smooth landing, we taxied in to our gate and parked alongside my personal favourite aircraft, Qantas’s first Retro Roo, VH-XZP “James Strong”.

Qantas Boeing 737-800 Retro Roo VH-XZP at Melbourne Airport

After disembarking, I dragged my long-suffering friend up to the top of the Terminal 4 carpark for a few hours of planespotting. Among the masses of 737s, 787s, A320s and A350s, there were a few highlights, including the reappearance of the Volga-Dnepr An-124, a DHL 767F, and a Cathay 747F. I’ve included some of my favourite photos below, but feel free to check out my Instagram, linked at the bottom of the page, for more photos.

I hope this has been an enjoyable read, and don’t forget to checkout the YouTube video of the flight, linked below. The return leg of this trip was rather special, so don’t forget to follow my Instagram to ensure you don’t miss it.

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