Qantas Business Class: In Need of a Refresh?

When Qantas introduced the A380 to its fleet in 2008, the airline’s flagship long-haul aircraft featured a world-leading Business class product. Fast-forward nine years and the seats are starting to show their age. While other airlines have continuously improved their Business class products, some of our members believe the Qantas product now lags behind.

One member, a frequent Business class traveller on the Sydney-Los Angeles route, has noticed a decline in the Qantas service on recent flights.

I do the trip between SYD and LAX a few times a year for work, and travel in J. QFF Gold status for a couple of years now. I’ve been really disappointed with the service and overall experience on recent flights.

Some of this member’s grievances relate to the on-board service and on-time performance. Other concerns relate to the quality of the Qantas Business class seats.

The ‘lie flat’ beds aren’t really flat, legs and feet half sagging down to the floor.

Qantas’ A380s feature SkyBeds in Business class, set out in a 2-2-2 configuration. The SkyBeds are fully lie-flat, although there is a fairly well known “droop” issue when the seat is converted into a bed.

Many airlines now use a more passenger-friendly 1-2-1 layout in Business class. That way, everyone gets direct aisle access. Indeed, Qantas recently replaced the Business seats on its Airbus A330s with new Suites in a 1-2-1 layout. Qantas’ new Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which arrive later this year, will also feature Suites in this style.

It is widely speculated that Qantas will refurbish its entire A380 fleet with new seats in all cabin classes in the next 1-2 years. It is likely that the new Business class seats would be like those being installed on Qantas’ Boeing 787s. This would be a welcome improvement.

From 15 December, the 787 Dreamliners will begin operating as QF95/96 on the Melbourne-Los Angeles route. Until the A380s are refurbished, our members suggest booking on one of these flights across the Pacific for the superior Business class product.

The good news is for the LAX run, come Dec, there WILL be a Suite option available ex-MEL for QF flyers, so perhaps an option to consider.

Despite its various shortcomings, Qantas’ A380 Business class is still a good product – and significantly better than Economy or Premium Economy. Some suggest that our member may simply be tired of all the trans-Pacific flying. The recommended cure for Business class fatigue is a long-haul flight in Economy.

As far as J become more mundane with repeated exposure, that’s also a common experience. A long-haul flight in Y is the usual cure for that malady.

Many of our members agree with this analysis of Qantas’ product. But, as one member points out, the quality of Qantas’ pilots remains second-to-none.

One thing that hasn’t changed on Qantas is the quality of its pilots and that, I’m sure you’ll agree, is one of, if not the main criterion.

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]