There are many choices when it comes to Business Class travel across the Tasman. Qantas, Emirates, Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia and even a number of left-field airlines fly between Australia and the land of the long white cloud. So, which airline offers the best Business class?
Qantas Trans-Tasman services are operated by New Zealand-based “Jetconnect” crews that are regarded to be just as friendly and professional as any Qantas crew member, albeit with New Zealand accents. Business class meals are roughly the same as one could expect on a longer domestic Qantas flight, though champagne is served and amenity kits are handed out on evening services.
While Qantas’ soft product is usually excellent, the seats themselves are not the best in the market. The Business seats on the smaller Boeing 737 aircraft used by Qantas are only standard recliner seats. They are spacious and generally comfortable for a short flight, but are not designed to be slept in.
The crews are usually top notch. I’d rate the food slightly better than domestic – as there’s usually a soup or starter served first, along with ice cream for desert. Drinks and coffee etc anytime.
I think the aircraft are generally the older 737s (or at least not refurbed ones). So can be a bit hit and miss on comfort of seat. But all have IFE I believe.
Qantas’ partner Emirates wins on many accounts in the battle across the Tasman. Emirates flies A380s from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to Auckland every day, as well as a daily service to Christchurch. These aircraft feature lie-flat beds and even a bar in business class. In terms of hard product, it’s pretty hard to beat. However, at least one member believes that the “soft product” leaves a little to be desired.
I’ve had three EK flights Syd/Akl in the last week… Service is poor – I was served by about 8 different people. For example, one person gives you the express arrivals card, another person comes along later and gives you the immigration card. So it feels like you are on a production line. Also frankly I couldn’t understand the accents of half the staff, and they couldn’t understand me. I asked for water three times and they kept offering me champagne.
Virgin Australia recently began selling Business class across the Tasman. The airline’s Boeing 737 aircraft feature a small Business cabin of 8 recliner seats. While this is (similarly to Qantas) is regarded as a “domestic” product, Air New Zealand offers an international-standard Business Class on selected wide-body flights to Auckland. The Kiwi flag carrier also sells Premium Economy on some flights. However the airline’s A320 aircraft, which are used on most Trans-Tasman routes, do not feature a Business class cabin.
Meanwhile, a couple of left-field (and often surprisingly good value) Business class options include Chile-based LAN Airlines and China Airlines. LAN flies daily between Sydney and Auckland using new Boeing 787 aircraft. Business class is often available at a very affordable price and reviews are generally good, however the inbound flight to Australia is well-known for its shockingly early departure from Auckland. By comparison, China Airlines’ timings are much friendlier and the airline flies numerous routes including Brisbane-Auckland, Sydney-Auckland and Melbourne-Christchurch using Airbus A330 aircraft.
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