Flight no: TL180
Route: Townsville Airport (TSV) to Coolangatta Gold Coast Airport (OOL)
Aircraft Type: Embraer E170 Jet
Flight time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Travel Class: Economy
Seat: 10F Window seat
Seat Width: 17.6 inches
Seat Pitch: 31 inches
Check out our flight review video for this Airnorth flight from Townsville to Gold Coast
Airnorth was an airline that I had not heard of until I was at Townsville airport in December 2020 for a short layover between flights from Brisbane to Cairns. While waiting for my connecting flight, I saw an Airnorth plane arriving at the gates. When i need to fly from Townsville down to the Gold Coast, I ended up booking this Airnorth flight to experience this airline first hand.
It turns out Airnorth is the 2nd oldest airline in Australia, after Qantas. Airnorth has been operating for more than 40 years. A regional airline based in Darwin, they have scheduled and charter flights in the Northern Territory, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia as well as over in East Timor. They mainly do regional flights within Australia and the International flight between Darwin and Dili East Timor which takes around 90 minutes to fly.
The Airnorth fleet consists of 2 types of aircraft, the Embraer E170 Jet and the Embraer 120 Brasilia. Both of these Embraer aircraft are made in Brazil. The Airnorth E170 Jet seats 76 passengers and a crew of 4 (2 pilots and 2 cabin crew) and the Embraer 120 Brasilia is a twin propeller plane seating 30 passengers and 2 crew (1 pilot and 1 cabin crew).
Booking the flight
Buying a ticket for an Airnorth flight is very simple on the Airnorth website. The purchase process is straight forward and easy to follow. When you purchase the ticket, you can enter your Qantas Frequent Flyer member number and will then earn QFF points and status credits for the Airnorth flight. It does take up to 6 weeks for the points to come through to your Qantas account.
Check out the Airnorth Website.
At the airport
Townsville airport is only a small regional airport but it is serviced by Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin, Airnorth, Alliance Airline and Regional Express (Rex).
You check in for Airnorth flights at the Qantas check in counters. I checked in for my flight about 2 hours before departure and there was no queue so only took a minute or so to check in.
If you are a member of the Qantas Club, you can gain access to the lounge with your Airnorth boarding pass but the Qantas Club is only open from 1 hour before any Qantas flight, so if like me, your Airnorth flight is not departing around the same time as a Qantas flight, then the lounge will be closed and you miss out on the lounge action.
For food options at Townsville airport, there is a Strand Cafe located before you pass security which serves up a great range of breakfast, sandwiches, burgers and some great coffee. Once past security there is The Brewery, serving a selection of cold or toasted sandwiches, burgers as well as some tasty pizza. There is also a bar tucked in the corner serving a range of tap and bottled beers, wines and spirits.
The prices of the food at Townsville airport is the typical expensive airport prices. I got a toasted ham, tomato and cheese sandwich with a large coffee and the bill came to $15.70.
On-board the plane
These Embraer E170 can fit anywhere from 60 – 130 passengers depending on the seat configuration. Airnorth have gone with a seat configuration of 76 seats (all Economy seats) in a 2 x 2 configuration. With this many seats, they have given considerable leg room with a pitch of 31 inches which gave me loads of space between my knees and the seat in-front. I am 187cm tall and felt very comfortable on this Airnorth flight.
This is the smallest jet plane I have ever flown on but it felt no different from flying in the A320 that Jetstar use (with 180 passengers) or the B737 that both Virgin or Qantas use (around 174 seats).
I was in seat 10F which is definitely one to avoid (as well as the opposite 10A seat). When I checked in I asked for a window seat and they confirmed I was in a window seat but when I got on the plane I found this seat to be pretty much in the centre of the plane, above the wing and it does not have a direct window right next to you. I had to stretch forward to see out the window of the seat in front. No big deal and it was not a huge stretch and I still got some lovely views of the Queensland coastline.
There is no entertainment or WiFi Internet available on these Airnorth Embraer E170 Jets. Airnorth would normally have an in-flight magazine available to read, but thanks to this damn pandemic, all the in-flight magazines have been removed for health reasons.
This is only a short flight but I would still suggest to bring your own entertainment, book or magazine.
I suggest getting a window seat and enjoying the view out of the window. If the weather conditions are right, you will mostly fly over the water, down the coast of Queensland, with stunning views of the southern section of the Great Barrier Reef and you will also pass via the stunning sights of the Gold Coast beaches, and the skyscrapers in Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach.
Food on this flight
My flight departed Townsville airport around 11.30am (thought the schedule of this flight TL180 has changed to late afternoon). Even though this was a flight during lunch time, we were only served a snack but it was a good snack with a bottle of water, a packet of crackers with a salsa dip and a tasty coconut slice for dessert.
This was my first time flying with Airnorth and I was really impressed with the overall flight experience. This is only a short flight so there was limited interaction with the crew but my impressions were good, with the friendly crew greeting me when I boarded and serving the water, snack and dessert.
With the very nice snack and dessert as well as the fact that you earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points, there is definitely reason to consider Airnorth for a flight. I am definitely looking forward to my next flight with Airnorth. I would love to fly with Airnorth from Darwin to East Timor. I just need the international boarder to open again.