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Qantas Airlines Cabin Crew Bases [Ultimate Guide]

qantas plane over sydney
Qantas airplane over Sydney (Photo crédits: Roderick Eime via CC BY-ND 2.0)

You may be wondering how many bases Qantas has, and which one is the best one to apply for. Truth is, there is no best or worst base, it’s up to personal preference.

I am a flight attendant at Qantas Airlines and with my knowledge of the airline I will try to help you decide to which base you should apply for.

Where Are Qantas Airlines Cabin Crew Bases?

Qantas have bases in almost every capital city in Australia. So, this includes: Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, and even Mildura (if you’re with Qantas’ regional airline Qantaslink).

That goes on to say, the availability of your bases will depend on if you’re international, domestic, or regional cabin crew.

➡️ If you’re an international cabin crew then your bases will be limited to a few main Australian cities, such as Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.

➡️ If you’re a domestic or regional cabin crew then your bases may expand to more cities/towns such as Mildura and Cairns, depending on if they need more staff coverage in that area.

List of the bases Qantas covers as a whole

qantas cabin crew bases map

  • Melbourne
  • Sydney
  • Brisbane
  • Mildura
  • Cairns
  • Perth
  • Adelaide
  • London (Qantas International only)
  • Auckland (Qantas International only)

Can You Pick Your Base as a Cabin Crew in Qantas?

Yes, you can pick your base as a Qantas cabin crew as that is the first thing you do when you apply online.

So you can be certain that when you’re successful, you get assigned to the base you originally applied for.

There are no bases that are easier to get than others, as it all depends on how many crew are needed for each base (a figure only higher management knows about).

However, the smaller bases (e.g. Mildura, Cairns) generally don’t need as many cabin crew so they may be harder to get.

How to Get a Transfer and How Long Can It Take?

But what if you apply for a base and then realize straight away you are better off at another base?

There is good news and bad news.

The good news is that you can apply to transfer, the bad news is that you may have to wait anywhere between 6 months to 2 years. 

So, it’s better that you think ahead and plan exactly where you want to be before you apply for the base.

Will Qantas Airlines Give You the Base You Want When You Ask for a Transfer?

The base you get, if you are successful, is the base you applied for in the initial job application. 

So, if you applied for Qantas International for the Melbourne base, that is the base you will be assigned to. The only exception is if they don’t have availability at that base, then they will send you to another one (with your permission of course!)

It doesn’t matter how senior you are, even when applying for transfers to other bases, all that matters is that there are spaces available for cabin crew in that base.

There is no rule saying you cannot apply for more than one base, however, this may not be the best idea as it will be flagged in the system and you may only be chosen for one base (not of your choice) or not even chosen at all.

👍 So it’s best to ensure you apply for one base, and the base you really have your heart set on, then if you get it aka you’re successful, you know you’re getting the base you truly want!

Are All the Bases Open for New Hires?

All of the bases are open for new hires provided it’s advertised publicly.

When Qantas advertise cabin crew vacancies on their careers website, it is for anyone who wishes to apply.

It is only when they advertise internally (aka you’re already in the company and desire to move to another area) that they are only looking for Qantas employees who have been in the company for a year or more.

What Is Better, a Smaller Base or a Bigger Base?

When you’re at a smaller base, e.g. Mildura or Cairns, you really get to know your colleagues, and even the people working at the airport.

This can make work feel more like a ‘family environment’ and less like ‘work’, which is what a lot of people hope for!

When you’re at a bigger base, e.g. Sydney, London or Perth, you have more options in terms of transport (to and from work), airlines to travel on (when you’re on staff travel), dining options (as bigger airports have a lot more variety), and more places you can travel to.

I’m based in Melbourne, which is a smaller base, and although there are some cabin crew I am yet to fly with after one year of being in the company, I know of every single cabin crew member by name. I also find that everyone greets each other enthusiastically when they enter the crew room. It feels very much like a family environment in that respect.

In terms of the trips you’ll be assigned to, it doesn’t really make a difference. Every single cabin crew can potentially be sent anywhere, no matter where they are based. 

For example, if Qantas wants to send Emma, who is based in Mildura, to Brisbane on a trip, they will simply just send her as a passenger up there, and then she can operate as a flight attendant in and out of Brisbane.

It’s worth noting that the cabin crew rosters are done through an online system, not manually by a person. Although, the rostering department will tweak it before it’s published.

What Is the Best Base for a New Qantas Cabin Crew?

The best base for a new Qantas cabin crew depends on a few factors.

1) The EBA (Enterprise Bargaining Agreement)

It makes a huge difference to the lifestyle of the cabin crew.

Some EBA’s may require the flight attendant to work longer hours, and may not be suited for everyone. While some EBA’s may offer more of a work/life balance. My EBA in Melbourne definitely offers me that complete work life balance, and allows me more time to relax after my flights than my colleagues in Brisbane and Adelaide.

Sunstate EBA is for those cabin crew based in Brisbane/Adelaide, while the Eastern EBA is for those cabin crew based in Melbourne/Sydney (and surrounding areas).

You can look up any EBA online to get a glimpse into your future work life!

2) If you like the city you’re living in

This is what makes up the other half of the cake!

If you don’t like the city or base you’re at, you are going to have a very hard time liking your job at all!

If you love the hot weather then Brisbane or Cairns might be a good option for you, but if you don’t mind the cold but also want to live in a bigger city then Melbourne may suit you better!

Conclusion

Whether you’re based in Melbourne or Cairns, you’re guaranteed to have a blast at your job as a Qantas flight attendant!

You’ll get to know the other cabin crew and form a close-knit family that will last for years, if not life!

If for whatever reason you don’t like your base, then remember that transferring after 6 months is always possible.

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