Trip Report: Link Airways HBA-CBR

Earlier this week my Dad and I took a short three night trip to Canberra. This gave me the opportunity to try an airline I’d never flown before- Link Airways. Since launching the Hobart-Canberra route in late 2020 I had been keen to try them out, so was very pleased to finally be getting the chance.

After arriving at a fairly busy Hobart Airport on a Monday mid-morning, there was some confusion as to where we would check-in for our flight. I had initially thought that due to their codeshare we could check-in through Virgin, however we eventually established that a Swissport employee would show up on behalf of Link Airways an hour before boarding and check us in at the very end desk on the left side of the departures hall.

We eventually made it airside where I got a good view of our aircraft. VH-VER is a 1997 built Saab 340, rolling off the production line as the 430th out of 459 Saab 340s produced. It was transferred to Link Airways in May 2022 from parent company Corporate Air.

Shortly after, the same Swissport employee made the boarding announcement and my dad and I plus about 10 other passengers lined up for boarding.

We then all walked out to the aircraft and quickly found our seats. My dad and I were seated in 7B and 7C, with great av-geek views over the wing and the back of the engine. The cabin was set out with 11 rows in a 1-2 layout, except for the last row which was in a 2-2 configuration. The seats looked modern and were comfortable; they were wide and had plenty of legroom. The tray-table was large and sturdy and in front of it was a storage compartment containing the inflight magazine, a safety card and an air-sickness bag.

We pushed back, taxied out and took off pretty much on time (If you enjoy the sound of a propeller engine I recommend you watch this video I filmed of the take-off).

Shortly after we reached our cruising altitude the flight attendant came round offering a snack service. Water, three types of juice, tea, coffee and red and white wine were all offered, along with either a packet of chips or cheese and crackers. I opted for a cup of berry juice and chips, while my dad had some white wine with cheese and crackers.

As we were flying on a beautiful clear day, I occupied myself for the rest of the flight looking out the window. However this flight was about two hours, and with no IFE screen or wifi, I can imagine some people getting a bit bored, so remember to pack a good book!

Privately owned Swan Island, with the airstrip visible.

Cape Barren Island with the airstrip visible bottom right.

What I believe to be Cooma Airport.

Just before we began what turned out to be a very bumpy descent into Canberra, the flight attendant came round once more offering everyone a small candy.

Soon after we had touched down in Canberra, running five minutes early, and feeling very satisfied with my first Link Airways experience.

After a few days in Canberra, it was time to fly home, though there was once again some confusion regarding check-in. There was at least a designated Link Airways counter however no one was there. We eventually established that staff would show up 90 minutes before the flight to check us in (though we showed back up to the desk about 1 hour 50 minutes before and there was already staff there who checked us in early). This gave us time to check out the Lockheed Hudson Bomber on display.

Boarding was called on time, and we all made our way out to the plane. Our aircraft for the flight back was VH-VEB, rolling off the production line as Saab 340 425/459.

Due to the fact that all of Link’s Saabs were bought off other airlines, there is some variety in the design of the seats. The seats on VH-VEB had much better padding, and a storage net instead of storage on the seat back in front.

We taxied out past the Qantas maintenance hangar and took off to the South before making a series of right hand turns, giving us some nice views of Canberra.

Once we reached cruising altitude the snack service came round. As this was a morning flight the alcohol had been taken off the cart and the cheese and crackers had been replaced with fruit muffins.

I spent most of the rest of the flight enjoying some scenery as we were once again flying through beautiful clear skies.

Lake Burley Griffin and the city of Canberra.

On the top right of this photo you can see the contrail of a Qantas Dreamliner headed from Sydney to Johannesburg.

We touched down more or less on time in Hobart and taxied round to Gate 2, having had another satisfying experience with Link.

All in all, my first experience with Link Airways was fantastic. I had read a fair few positive reviews about Link leading up to these flights and they certainly lived up to my expectations. Both flight attendants were very nice and helpful, both our flights left and departed on time, the inflight service was great (no worse than a domestic economy flight of a similar length with Qantas or Virgin) and I really couldn’t fault anything. I wouldn’t hesitate to fly them again. On a personal note, as an av-geek it was awesome to fly the Saab 340 again for the first time since 2018, and I hope I get the chance again.

I hope you enjoyed reading this trip report, if so please consider checking out my Instagram and Youtube as well. Also keep an eye on my blog here as I have some more interesting posts coming fairly soon. Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Note: this blog was originally published on my old blog in January 2023.

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