How to score the best Qantas seats with the T-80 rule

The secret to securing the best seats is out. Introducing the Qantas T-80 rule.

Whether you’re a seasoned frequent flyer or an occasional traveller, selecting the best possible seat each time you fly Qantas will ensure that you travel as comfortably as possible.

While Qantas Platinum or Gold status allows members to snap up the best seats, there is an ultra-savvy way for all passengers to score some extra legroom.

Want to level up your frequent flyer game? Here’s everything you need to know about the Qantas T-80 rule.

qantas 737 cabin
The Boeing 737 dominates many Qantas domestic routes, so it pays to know which rows offer more legroom than others.

Qantas seat selection 101

If you’re travelling on a Qantas-operated domestic service, you can usually select your Qantas seat for free (there are a few exceptions).

However, once Qantas flights go on sale, the airline restricts the front rows of economy for Platinum One, Platinum and Gold members.

The most sought-after seats at the front are usually reserved for Platinum-level customers and above, while the next few rows are accessible to Gold status holders and above, with Silver and Bronze members only able to select seats further back.

American Express Qantas Ultimate banner Jan 2023 1200

For everyone else, it’s all about timing. Whether you like the window seat, prefer the aisle, or have your eye on those extra legroom seats, attempting to select a seat on your Qantas flight early is key.

These seats remain reserved (and greyed out to all other passengers) until 80 hours before the flight is due to depart. This is where the Qantas T-80 rule comes in.

What is the Qantas T-80 rule?

The Qantas T-80 rule is less of an actual rule, but rather, an unofficial seat selection hack known amongst expert flyers as a free way to access the entire Qantas seat map.

Qantas typically opens its full advance seat selection map 80 hours before departure, meaning all passengers can access the seats that remain unallocated – hence the name ‘T-80’.

How to calculate your T-80 timeline

In recent times, the T-80 rule has taken off in the frequent flyer community, so it’s best to be on the ball if you’ve got a particular seat in mind.

To be successful in your seat selection, you should make a point of logging on to the Qantas app or website’s ‘manage booking’ portal as soon after the 80-hour mark as possible.

As a rule of thumb, we suggest calculating (72 hours) before your flight, before then subtracting another 8 hours. For example, say your flight is due to depart at 5:15 am on a Saturday:

  • Subtracting three days will take you to 5:15 am on a Wednesday
  • Taking away a further 8 hours will get you to 9:15 pm on Tuesday

The 80-hour rule can often fall in the early hours of the morning, but we think the early alarm is well worth securing the best seats, especially on long-haul flights!

Simply check your flight seat map up to 80 hours before the flight departs. If available, you’ll be able to re-select your seats.

Stretch out: Why you should use the T-80 rule

Legroom is a prime commodity in the air, which is why it is reserved for those who hold status.

The very first row of economy or premium economy cabins often have more legroom because the seats are located directly behind business class.

Expert tip: Chances are if you’ve booked a domestic Qantas flight, you’ll be hopping on a Boeing 737. If so, we recommend using the T-80 rule to secure a seat in row 4, which has plenty of extra legroom and access to attentive service.

Plus, sitting at the front of the plane means you’ll be amongst the first to be served when the trolley makes its way down the aisle.

qantas air cabin staff

Bear in mind that the T-80 rule isn’t foolproof. Qantas still reserves the right to re-seat passengers, so selecting a new seat doesn’t necessarily guarantee you’ll end up there.

Best seats in the house: Selecting an exit row seat

Exit row seats are very popular, and with good reason. Who doesn’t want to kick back with extra legroom in economy?

Unfortunately, the T-80 rule doesn’t apply to paid extra-legroom seats.

Passengers boasting the highest tiers of Qantas status – Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge members – are able to pre-select emergency exit row seating at no charge, while a fee is levied for everyone else (including Qantas Platinum members).

The amount you’ll be asked to cough up varies. It will depend on the flight classification (domestic or international) and the flight length. As such, you can assume domestic flights won’t attract as much of a fee.

If you want to lock in an extra-legroom seat you’ll have to wait until Qantas’ opens its online check-in 24 hours before flight departure, but chances are the seats will be taken by Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge members by then.

Does Virgin Australia have a T-80 rule?

Not exactly.

Virgin Australia reserves seats for those who hold status up until online check-in opens 48 hours before departure.

While, at this point, passengers can jump on to select their seat, extra legroom still comes at a cost, with economy X seats fetching a charge.

Final thoughts: A handy hack

Scoring the best seats with the T-80 rule requires some forward planning and proactivity, but applying the rule is as easy as counting to 80.

The Qantas T-80 rule is a great trick to have up your sleeve when jetting around the country in economy.

Want to absolutely guarantee some extra space? Qantas has recently introduced the ability to pay for Neighbour Free seats, another way to secure some extra room upon booking.

Have you used the Qantas T-80 rule before? Tell us about it in the comments!

FAQ – Qantas T-80 rule

What is the T-80 rule?

The Qantas T-80 rule is a popular hack amongst savvy frequent flyers that allows passengers to select the best seat once Qantas opens its full advance seat selection map 80 hours before each scheduled departure.

Can I book a greyed-out seat on a Qantas flight?

Yes. Using the Qantas T-80 rule you can book one of the greyed-out seats once they become available 80 hours before takeoff.

What does it mean if a seat is occupied on Qantas?

It usually doesn’t mean the seat is actually occupied, but rather, has been reserved by Qantas for elite frequent flyer members – those who hold Silver, Gold, Platinum or Platinum one status.

While you’re here: Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest tips, deals and news. It only takes a few seconds and we respect your privacy:

1 thought on “How to score the best Qantas seats with the T-80 rule”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top