Some lucky Qantas Business class passengers have the opportunity to fly in First class seats – for no extra cost!

Qantas international flights operated by Boeing 747 aircraft are sold as three-class services; featuring Economy, Premium Economy and Business class. But two of Qantas’ remaining Boeing 747s actually feature a fourth cabin class: First. As Qantas is not selling First Class tickets on any of the flights operated by these aircraft, lucky Business class customers can snag one of these seats!

Got 1K on one of the last QF5’s to FRA. Spacious cabin and flat bed. Given the opportunity, everyone should experience riding in the nose of a 747 before they’re gone. You sit in front of the pilot.

There are 11 Boeing 747 aircraft left in Qantas’ long-haul fleet. Of these, 9 have been refurbished with upgrades to Business class seats and in-flight entertainment, among other things. As part of the cabin upgrade, these 9 aircraft had their First class cabins removed. But the two aircraft in service that remain “unrefurbished” still feature 14 older-style First class seats in the jumbo jet’s nose.

The old First class seats aren’t quite up to the high standard of the modern First seats on Qantas’ A380s. One member describes the old-style seating as “narrow and hard”. And if you’re seated there on a Business class ticket, you’ll still receive the standard Business class meals and service.

First class seat = lie flat, but very narrow and hard. So its business class ticket, service, conditions. Just the seat is different.

But these seats do offer a comfortable lie-flat bed, as well as additional space and privacy over regular Business class seats.

This will be one of the unrefurbished 747s. We flew to JNB on one last year. The extra room in 1A was pleasant but service was very much J (in fact this leg the service was pretty good).

So, how do you know if you’ll be flying on one of the “unrefurbished” 747s featuring First class? The clues lie in the seat map. Seats 2E and 2F only exist on the two aircraft configured with old First class seats. In economy, the unrefurbished 747s can be identified by the existence of H, J & K seats in rows 58 and 59.

If you are booked in Business class on one of these jets, you should be able to select a First class seat by choosing your seat online or by calling Qantas.

The unrefurbished jumbos spend most of their time flying to Johannesburg, Santiago and Tokyo (Haneda) from Sydney. They also feature occasionally on other Boeing 747 international routes.

Share your experience HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]