No, Qantas 787 Business is NOT “Mini First Class”

Qantas 787 Business Class
Qantas 787 Business Class Suites

Ever since Qantas revealed its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner Business Class suites, the airline has been telling us that frequent flyers nickname them “mini First Class”. And, sure enough, media outlets have repeated this claim time and time again.

It’s quite a claim, but are frequent flyers really calling Qantas Business “mini First Class”? We’re not so sure…

Here’s an example of Qantas’ “mini First Class” claim from last week’s announcement that Dreamliners will fly to Hong Kong:

Qantas’ Dreamliner carries 236 passengers across three cabins. It features the latest version of the airline’s Business Suite, nicknamed “mini First Class” by some frequent flyers, as well as a next generation Premium Economy seat and a significantly improved Economy seat with extra storage compartments and more legroom.

The Qantas Business suite is a good product. Each suite has direct aisle access and the seat converts to a fully-flat bed. But this is neither unique to Qantas Business Class, nor comparable to First Class on many other airlines around the world. In Etihad Airways A380 First Class, for example, passengers receive a spacious “apartment” with a separate bed, widescreen TV and sliding doors for privacy.

Etihad First Class Apartment
Etihad First Class Apartment

Both Etihad and Emirates also have on-board showers for First Class passengers. And Singapore Airlines gives First Class passengers on its A380s a suite that’s almost bigger than some hotel rooms.

Singapore Airlines A380 First Class
Singapore Airlines A380 First Class

Even Business Class on some other airlines compares favourably to Qantas’ Business Suites. For example, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic and even Virgin Australia all have on-board bars for Business Class passengers. Qantas just has a self-serve snack bar.

On-board bar in Virgin Australia 777 Business Class
On-board bar in Virgin Australia 777 Business Class

Qatar Airways’ new Qsuites are arguably a good example of a Business Class seat that frequent flyers would nickname “mini First Class”. The Qsuites feature sliding doors, and the entertainment screens can even fold away to create a double bed – or a private room for up to 4 people!

Qatar Airways Qsuite
Qatar Airways Qsuite

Qantas’ Business Class seats have none of these features. In fact, some frequent flyers have described the seats as “cramped” and “claustrophobic”.

Here’s one AFF member review

All in all it was a good flight. Not great.. not horrible.. Good. Would I fly the 787 to the US again? I think so, specially if it made sense to do so. I wouldn’t do that J product to London though.. I find it a little cramped but it is far superior to the skybeds and great for flying solo due to aisle access and the privacy.

And another

Well we found it very claustrophobic- the layout makes it private, but because it is all so close together you really feel it is all on top of you. It isn’t, as you have plenty of space but it just feels unpleasant. The foot wells are what gives you the stretch space.

As far as sleep quality goes I found the 747 on the way over was better and I would probably avoid the 787 in J again, although everything else was good.

To be clear, we’re not saying Qantas’ 787 Business Class Suite is a bad product. It isn’t. But it’s Qantas’ marketing department – and not most frequent flyers – calling this “mini First Class”.

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: QF Dreamliner to fly MEL/SYD/BNE to HKG



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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]