A great Business class seat can make all the difference between a restful and an uncomfortable flight. Across the airline’s long-haul and short-haul fleet, there are 6 different types of Qantas Business Class seats. Some are lie-flat seats, while others are recliners. Naturally, some Qantas Business seats are better than others.
Until recently, Qantas also had different types of seats even across aircraft of the same plane type. Luckily, Qantas has now retired its last unrefurbished Boeing 747 and reconfigured all Airbus A330s.
Qantas will begin upgrading its Airbus A380s with new Business class seats next month, however, meaning there will be two different A380 Business class products out there for a while. There are also two different Airbus A330-200 configurations – domestic and international – with subtle differences.
Here are all of the Qantas Business Class seats, from best to worst…
Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Business Seats
The Business suites on Qantas’ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners are the newest and, arguably, the best in Qantas’ international fleet. Each of the 42 Business class seats converts to a comfortable fully-flat bed. With a 1-2-1 seat configuration, every passenger has direct aisle access. For privacy, the best seats for solo travellers are 1A, 1K, 3A, 3K, 5A, 5K, 7A, 7K, 11A and 12K as these are directly by the window.
Some travellers say that they find the Dreamliner cabin a little claustrophobic for long flights, compared to the A380 and Boeing 747. The Qantas Dreamliner seats may not quite be “mini First class” – as Qantas’ PR machine would like you to think – but they are modern and comfortable.
Qantas Airbus A330-300 Business Seats
Qantas’ Airbus A330-300s have similar cloth-covered “Business suite” seats to the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration. The main difference is that the cabin is slightly narrower and the privacy divider between the two middle seats (“E” and “F” seats) cannot be lowered. Once again, each seat has direct aisle access. Due to the staggered configuration, the best seats for solo travellers are the more private “A” and “K” seats directly beside a window, which can be found in rows 2, 4 and 6.
Qantas Airbus A330-200
There are two versions of the Qantas A330-200. There are 9 internationally-configured aircraft with the same Business suites as the A330-300. There are also 8 short-haul configured aircraft which have Business suites covered in leather, instead of cloth. On seat maps, you can tell whether a Qantas A330-200 has the international configuration because the seat 5K does not exist. (An extra toilet has been installed there instead.)
Qantas’ domestic-configured A330-200s are used mostly on shorter international routes (e.g. to New Zealand) and selected domestic flights, especially to/from Perth. On both configurations, the best seats for solo travellers are 2A, 2K, 4A or 4K.
Qantas Airbus A380 Business Seats
Qantas’ Airbus A380s feature the second (and last) generation of Qantas SkyBed seats. The Business cabin on the A380 upper deck is configured in a 2-2-2 layout, meaning window seat passengers don’t get direct aisle access. The Panasonic in-flight entertainment system is a little dated compared to that found on the 787 and A330, but there is still lots of content (and a tail camera). The SkyBed seats recline into what should be a fully-flat bed, however the seats are starting to show their age and some have a little bit of a “droop” in the centre.
There are no seats that are particularly better or worse than others, but some passengers prefer to sit in the more private mini-cabin from rows 11-13 at the front of the upper deck. The on-board lounge is located in front of row 11.
Qantas Boeing 747-400 Business Seats
Qantas’ Boeing 747s are due for retirement in 2020. In the meantime, the remaining 747 fleet contains the same SkyBed (Mark II) seats as those found on the A380.
The main Business cabin has a 2-3-2 layout, which isn’t great. But there is something rather special about sitting in the nose (rows 1-3) or the upper deck (rows 11-16). The upper deck is especially private as it has just 18 seats in a 2-2 layout, and there are two dedicated flight attendants for this cabin. If you’re travelling as a couple, the best seats would be 14A/B or 14J/K on the upper deck’s exit row. In this row, the passenger in the window seat can get out of the seat without disturbing sleeping passengers in the neighbouring aisle seat. The window seats on the upper deck also have extra storage bins to the side of each seat.
For solo travellers, 5B and 5J can be good seats because you’ll have extra storage space instead of a seat neighbour.
Qantas Boeing 737-800 Business Seats
The narrow-body Qantas Boeing 737-800 has just three rows of Business class recliner seats in a 2-2 layout. These Qantas Business class seats are perfectly fine for short domestic hops. But you may prefer to avoid this aircraft if possible for longer domestic flights and international journeys – particularly overnight flights. The Qantas 737 Business cabin is also less private as there is no curtain separating Business and Economy.
The leather seats are wide and you’ll have a reasonable amount of legroom, but passengers on the window seat of rows 2 or 3 cannot get out without disturbing their neighbour. Some passengers like row 1 as there is nobody to recline into you, but there is limited legroom due to the bulkhead in front.
Around half of the Qantas Boeing 737-800 fleet offers seatback in-flight entertainment screens. On other aircraft, you can stream content to your own device via the Q-Streaming App.
QantasLink Boeing 717 Business Seats
The QantasLink Boeing 717 also has 3 rows of Business in a 2-2 layout. The recliner seats are a little narrower than on the Boeing 737, and there is an annoying under-seat box which takes up some of the legroom if you’re in a window seat in the second or third row. In-flight entertainment is via iPads which QantasLink provides.
These seats are comfortable enough for short domestic flights, especially if you’re in row 1. Thankfully, these aircraft don’t typically appear on longer routes.