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Which is better - BA or QF J class?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by vt01, Jan 10, 2006.

  1. vt01

    vt01 Member

    Jan 6, 2006
    374
    15
    Sydney
    Hi

    I was looking at classes of travel in BA and noticed that the business class seat comes with a foot stool and is completely flat compared to the Qantas skybed.

    Are all BA business class seats between Sydney and London this style?
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    If you had a choice to travel on a BA aircraft instead of QF (providing its a codeshare flight), would you do it?

    Thanks
     
  2. dajop

    dajop Senior Member

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    No need to be on codeshare flight - no difference in point earning/status credit earning or status bonus earning, whether you are travelling on the BA code or the QF code in J class. Even discount Y fares earn the same on BA & QF on the Kangaroo Route [not on other BA sectors though].

    As for your original question, I'll leave that to others as I've only experienced the BA bed on afternoon sectors, but it was OK (foot stool a bit hard through) - undecided whether QF or BA is better.
     


  3. Damien

    Damien Member

    Aug 29, 2005
    300
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    BNE
    It's a good question. The answer is really dependant on one's personal preferences.

    The BA seat is flat and perpendicular to the floor and not quite as wide, but has less privacy and storage space. The best seats are the ones facing forward in the front row of the cabin.

    The QF seat is flat, but not level with the floor. The privacy inside the skybed is amazing and there is adequate storage.

    I prefer QF purely for the privacy aspect, but don't complain about getting BA when QF is fully booked. I also prefer the QF menu.

    Of course if it's a codeshare flight, it makes no difference which one you fly.
     
  4. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    Which is better is a matter of opinion, and there are lots of opinions available :p . They are different. My opinion regarding some of the differences in the product:

    Seat: BA goes to fully horizontal position, while QF is flat but slightly sloping. Some people like to be horizontal while others are comfortable with flat and sloping.

    The QF seat is slightly longer and also wider than the BA seat. for example there are 8 abreast on a BA 747 lower deck and 7 abreast on a QF 747 lower deck. But on the upper deck the narrower BA seats leave a wider aisle.

    Some people like the BA window seats as they face backwards, while other people do not like facing backwards and find it makes them feel sick. This is a personal issue.

    On BA there is nowhere to keep your bottled water which can be a pain on an overnight flight. I find I keep knocking it off the little triangular drinks fold-down tray on the side of the seat. QF's Skybeds have all sorts of storage places, including ones specifically designed for water bottles.

    Food: In my experience, QF's catering is of a higher standard than BA in business class. A few years back they were very similar, but BA has gone backwards a little in the last year or two.

    Beverages: BA has better scotch, while QF tends to have better wines. All else is much the same.

    IFE: BA's screens are on an arm that swings out from the seat, while QF's are mounted in the back of the seat in front (except bulkhead and 747 row 16 exit row). This means the BA screen is more adjustable, but in my experience some of the mounting arms are getting very worn and the screen can tend to flop around and not stay where you want it. You also have to move the screen around to access the meal tray on BA, while on QF the screen is always out of the way of the tray, drinks etc.

    QF is steadily introducing Audio and Video On Demand (AVOD) through their 747 fleet (already installed on A330-300 fleet). Some would say that with the poor reliability of the QF AVOD system that may be a bad thing. When it works, AVOD is great, providing a much better choice of material and being able to start, pause and stop as you please rather than having to wait until the next cycle begins.

    Service: Can be hit and miss on both airlines. My experience is very similar with both and I have no preference based on service. I fond both to be professional and adequate, with QF generally a little more casual and BA a little more "proper".

    Lounges: Identical on the Kangaroo route.

    Remember that for travel between UK and Australia, you also have a choice of CX via HKG. Will not be a single flight number, but generally similar pricing and still OneWorld. The CX service is superior to BA and QF. The CX New Business Class seats are more like QF being flat but sloping, but those seats are only on flights to SYD and MEL. CX flights to BNE are on A330 aircraft with their regional business class seats which are not fully flat.
     
  5. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    Personally, I prefer the horizontal flat beds of BA compared to the sloping QF skybeds when travelling on a flight where I plan to sleep , but prefer the QF food n service

    my ideal would be QF daytime flight Australia to Singapore and then Singapore to London and when travelling the other way , BA from London to Singapore and QF for the daytime flight to Sydney.

    Dave
     


  6. vt01

    vt01 Member

    Jan 6, 2006
    374
    15
    Sydney
    Thanks for that. I was hoping a few of the more experienced FF would know what BA is like.. I particularly like your idea Dave's..

    All my international flights last year were on skybed which was a great improvement to the old 'dreamtime' seat. Although having flown on CX and used the AVOD system, the QF entertainment system is second rate - especially when you need to wait for all movies to finish before getting a new movie and no ability to pause etc..

    I find I can have really service on QF and then really average or bad ones. I did have some really friendly and playful service on a domestic flight recently which really made my flight (it was economy too!).. So I actually emailed QF with the persons name and flight details. I received a phone call 2 days letter thanking me for the feedback and advising they would pass the feedback on.

    I always quite enjoy the food on QF...

    I think I will give BA a try next time I need to go to the UK.. Nothing to lose I guess!
     
  7. duffshot

    duffshot Member

    Apr 27, 2005
    121
    0
    Brisbane
    I don't have much to add other than agreement with the other posters. While they are very different seats / food /service / entertainment, I find most things average out. I personally fall asleep better on the on the BA beds, but always get a sore back when I wake up. QF seats are great and I find the IFE generally better. Like Dave suggests, I usually mix it up between the 2 on any trip.
     
  8. vaccav

    vaccav Junior Member

    Sep 26, 2004
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    BA v. QF

    I have done about 4 or 5 flights per year on QF and BA and my comments would be:

    - I think both levels of cabin service are very good
    - The BA bed is flat and level (QF is flat but not level)
    - The QF seats involve your feet being 'tucked under' the skybed in front. By placing the seats at an angle (even only a few degrees). QF manage to get you to put your feet underneath the sleeping head of the passenger in front. Whilst this might not sound like much it enables them to reduce the floorspace required per passenger - possibly by a foot or more (pardon the pun). That extra foot makes a big difference to the airline as they can fit in more seats.
    - This makes the 'Skybed' configuration much more profitable for the airline and is the reason why SQ, CX, QF, etc are all going down that route as opposed to BA's configuration. Only Virgin and BA are going down the less profitable route.
    - However, BA's configuration makes the cabin feel more spacious as each passenger has a larger cubic volume of space to themselves (30%+). Whilst you might not use that space above your legs that much it does feel more spacious.
    - Entertainment has been the same in both - nowhere near as good as SQ's AVOD. Once QF gets AVOD in place I imagine BA will follow suit.


    On a like by like basis, I personally prefer the BA seat because I find the following differences significant:
    - the BA seat has more cubic space
    - the QF seat is at an angle, makes me sleep less well and I occasionally 'slide' down the seat.
    However, I tend to make my bookings based on the flight times (a bit like Dave):

    - QF's 11.15am out of London is wonderful. You get into Sydney around 7.30pm and go to bed. (Hypothetically) if you had minimal sleep on the plane you would be awake for about 26 hours or so.
    - This compares with BA's horrific timetable out of London. You leave around 10.30pm and arrive in Sydney around 6.30am. Most people then follow the airline's advice of adjusting to the local timezone as quickly as possible and therefore staying awake all day before retiring at (say) 8pm. (Hypothetically) if you had minimal sleep on the plane you would be awake for about 48 hours in total.
    - The difference between the two is mammoth when it comes to jetlag: 26 hours awake versus 48 hours awake.
    - Obviously the reality is that we all get some sleep on these beds in business class .. .. .. but it's not good quality sleep, it's interrupted and it's usually much shorter than normal.
    - The 26 v. 48 hours argument above is invalidated to the extent that you sleep on planes. If you sleep long and sleep well without the need for chemical encouragement then the argument is pretty week. I tend to have a couple in the Lounge, a glass of bubbly, one or two with the meal and then maybe a sleeping tablet in order to finally get 4-5hours of poor sleep. For me, the argument is a strong one but not all would agree.


    - As a result, I tend to fly:

    - QF 11.15 out of London
    - BA 4.30 or so out of Sydney to Singapore and onto London


    I hope this is of some use. If I was in your shoes, I'd definitely give BA a go and see how good it is. I'd also be tempted to try out Virgin and Cathay Pacific (once it's all beds) but I'm not too sure of the timetables there.

    Oh .. .. .. um .. .. .. I forgot to mention that I'm a brit first and an aussie second so I'm a wee bit biased.

    Best,

    vaccav
     
  9. NM

    NM
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    Re: BA v. QF

    Actually, the main reason only BA uses their style of seat is because they patented the layout and won't let anyone else use it. VS came up with their own variation of layout (the herringbone design) to enable them to match BA's claim to having horizontal seats/beds while still being able to fit enough seats into the available space. The QF style of fully reclining flat seat is not patented and available to any airline to copy, so is popular with the other airlines you mention.
    not sure where you get the 30% figure from. For example on the upper deck of a 744 in front of the emergency exit door, both QF and BA have three rows of 2-abreast seats. So in that section the space per seat is the same. If you consider the entire upper deck, QF has 22 seats while BA has 20 seats, making it 10% more seats on QF or 10% more space per seat on BA. The extra space results in a wider aisle rather than usable space per Passenger. The BA seats are 10% narrower than QF (20" vs 22").

    On the lower deck in Zone B, BA has 18 seats while QF has 21 seats. But if you consider the other cabin amenities installed between doors 1L and 2L you find that although BA only has 2 rows of seats they also have 3 lavatories (2 F lavs behind door 1L and one J lav in front of door 2L), while QF just has 3 rows of Skybeds and one F lav behind door 1L. So the 14% extra seats actually fit into more floor space (since less galley/lavs in the section), making the space/seat about the same.
     
  10. straitman

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    I agree with all of the above however feel compelled to add (from my limited BA experience) that the BA bed length is insufficient if you are 6ft 1 in tall.

    The only way I was able to sleep was on my back with knees bent and with apologies to those nearby as I snore loudly when on my back :!: The slightly narrower seat was just enough that I couldn't sleep on my side.

    Having said that, both beds were pretty good. :D :D :D :D
     
  11. vt01

    vt01 Member

    Jan 6, 2006
    374
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    Sydney
    Re: BA v. QF

    Unbelievable.. They were allowed to patent a seating layout?? It's stuff like this that makes me think the world really has gone crazy...

    Just as well I'm only 5'11''! But.. I do sleep on my side with knees bent mainly because Mrs VT says I snore less.. I once sat behind a guy who snored very loudly.. I just hope I don't snore that loud otherwise I would need to apologise to all my fellow travellers...

    I think one of my colleagues will be next to go to the UK so I might suggest she try BA..

    Thanks for all the information. You're all a great source of information :D :D
     
  12. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    Re: BA v. QF

    Why is it unbelievable? they came up with an ingenious use of space ; why shouldn't they patent the design

    Dave
     
  13. Yada Yada

    Yada Yada Established Member

    Dec 6, 2004
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    I quite liked the style of seat/bed in BA when I tried it, aside from the fact that the default upright position is just a little too much reclined for my liking. However this is only a problem when taxying and take off/landing.

    Interestingly, I've just discovered that QF F class seats are a similar design, although they all face forward.
     
  14. vt01

    vt01 Member

    Jan 6, 2006
    374
    15
    Sydney
    Re: BA v. QF

    Patenting seat design sure, but patenting where you can put them in limited space is precluding an operator from organising their cabin the way they want. There's only so many ways you can fit seats into limited space..

    Does that mean that if an airline first patented 3 4 3 seat configuration in a 747 one behind the other no other airline should be able to put their seats in that way?

    Actually, come to think of it, NM's post did say layout. So perhaps it was a combination of seat design and placement. This I believe would be reasonable to patent. But not simply where you place your seat..
     
  15. NM

    NM
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    Re: BA v. QF

    I don't know the specific details, but it is to do with the alternate pairing of forward and rearward facing seats to permit 2 adjacent seats to be placed into a narrower space. The concept design had enough innovation to warrant a patent.

    However, I have to wonder if BA might have been better off selling the seats/layouts to other operators for a reasonable cost, rather than just keeping the solution in house. But that was their decision at the time. VS has taken a different approach and is selling their seats to other airlines, which is why was can now see the VS fish bowls (Herringbone suites) on NZ aircraft.
     
  16. duffshot

    duffshot Member

    Apr 27, 2005
    121
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    Brisbane
    Actually one of the great things about the Skybed which is rarely mentioned is the fact you have a powerpoint which accepts a normal plug to power your laptop. This is a big advantage I find with QF and lets you : 1 work or 2: have your own IFE system using the laptop for DVDs, games whatever. BA has power but you need to buy the adaptor.
     
  17. vt01

    vt01 Member

    Jan 6, 2006
    374
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    Sydney
    Re: BA v. QF

    Good point NM. I agree here.. sell their solution. This is good alternate thinking from Branson (or his org).. Making money from a great idea is one thing but selling it to your competitors and making money off them as well seems better! At least this way, if they don't like other parts of your product and choose to fly someone else, at least you get some revenue for it...
     
  18. HardieBoys

    HardieBoys Member

    Sep 28, 2003
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    The BA beds are notably narrower than the QF J seats. For me, I can't lie flat on the BA flat bed, and find that I get a better sleep on the QF seats. Flew SYD-LHR last year, one way with QF, return with BA, and thought that QF had the better product overall.
     
  19. xsprint

    xsprint Junior Member

    Jan 17, 2006
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    Straitman you hit the defining difference for me also - At 6'4" I found the BA bed distinctly uncomfortable - On HKG-LHR redeye I had to do a weird bend of the legs around the person's bed cubicle in front of mine to attempt sleep.. :(

    Compare this to the QF skybed SYD-HKG flight where I was able to lie on my back straight and generally feel more at peace with the flight. :wink:
    Sliding down the bed can be annoying though... high friction clothing would be a scientific solution to this perhaps?!

    Suffice to say I try and book all my flights on QF then CX

    Dunc
     
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