Everyone loves a baby and the baby Boeing is the Boeing 717-200. Originally starting life as the McDonnell Douglas MD-95, it was renamed when Boeing took over McDonnell Douglas in the 1990s.

The aircraft was not a sales success and production ceased in 2006. Since then it has found a niche for certain airlines and QantasLink in Australia operate 20 examples of the aircraft. Let’s see what the baby Boeing is like in business class.

QF1535 – Canberra to Melbourne (CBR-MEL)
21 April 2017
Boeing 717-200 – VH-YQT
Seat: Business Class 1A
Departure: 13:15 Arrival: 14:25

On board the aircraft is considerably larger than the Embraer and Canadair regional jets. Since the baby Boeing is essentially an updated Douglas DC-9, this is no surprise.

Comfortable Cabin

Cabin fit outs are the choice of the operator, something people must remember when saying this aircraft is more comfortable than that aircraft. For QantasLink, business class is quite nice.


I find the seating to be spacious even if the seats are a little firm on the posterior. The head rests go up and down and have wings for sleeping. Quite adequate for short hops.

Meal Service On A Short Sector

Lunch time on QantasLink features a service which is very similar to mainline. There is just one choice of meal and in this case it is a salmon salad. The sturdy tray table in one piece is very good.


Qantas and QantasLink crew always give you water and then you are asked what else you wish to drink. In my case, it is invariably… regular readers all say it together… Champagne! There is also chocolate and pretzels and sourdough bread is offered too. Perfectly healthy lunch!

A Tiny Throne Room

Always important on a flight, though nobody ever mentions it, is the toilet. You don’t want to find yourself in need of the facilities and finding yourself with a pit latrine at 32,000 feet!


Alas, when the seat was up today it looked like someone had been stepping all over the place with dirty boots. Still, I was in for a tinkle so I didn’t need to plant my posterior on anything untoward so I wasn’t overly fussed.

Overall Thoughts

Jets with rear mounted engines are rather quiet up front. One of my favourite aircraft, the Vickers VC10, made its name by being passenger friendly and part of that was the quiet cabin due to the rear mounted engines. The baby Boeing has the same quiet feel up front. All you can hear in flight is the rush of air passing by, something shared with the Boeing 727.

The baby Boeing – I should call it a 717-200 – is an efficient airliner that is well loved by the airlines that fly it. QantasLink have steadily added to their fleet over the years as it works so well for the airline. Delta Air Lines in the United States also has a substantial fleet of these aircraft.

Flying on the baby is fun and rare enough as there are just over 150 in service worldwide. If you ever get a chance to fly on one, enjoy it like I did. Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Alec Wilson via Wikimedia Commons.