Qantas like to restrict certain seats to high tier members of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, they are usually seats with extra legroom, or those towards the front of the plane. Just because you don’t have the status doesn’t mean that you can’t get these seats, it just means that you have to work a little harder for them. The term ‘T80’ refers to the time at which these seats become available on the Qantas website, around 80 hours before your flight departs the blocked seats will become available. On my upcoming flight I tried this trick and found out that the seats become available between 80 and 65 hours before your flight; if they don’t become available then, you and everyone else will then have one more chance to choose them through on-line check-in from 24 hours before the flight.
The two images (screenshots from Expertflyer) show a Qantas A332 aircraft before ‘T80’ (Left) with many seats covered in a white and blue cross whereas the same flight after ‘T80’ (Right) has significantly less seats blocked though some still remain which may indicate that someone is sitting there, they are marked as ‘exit row’ or ‘extra legroom’ seats or they are unavailable for some other reason.
Apart from giving you more seating options, it also gives you a pretty good idea of the plane’s loading, in this case it is almost empty 2 days before the flight!
This trick is especially helpful if you are in a rush to get off the plane and want to sit at the front or if you are travelling in a large group and could not get good seats together at booking. I managed to get 3 seats to myself on an Emirates A380 to Sydney which meant I had plenty of room to sleep across the seats as well as plenty of stares from the envious people sitting across the row!!
The point of this is to make your trip a little bit more comfortable, especially on a long-haul flight and at no cost I think it would be silly not to do it!