Qantas Business to Perth: A Tale of Two Aircraft

Qantas 787 Business Class
Qantas 787 Business Class

Qantas uses a mixture of different aircraft types on its trans-continental domestic flights between Australia’s east coast and Perth. A Qantas Business class ticket costs the same price, regardless of the type of plane. But the experience can be very different, depending on which flight you choose.

AFF member chooms recently flew Qantas from Melbourne to Perth on a wide-body Boeing 787 with Business class suites. This member then flew from Perth to Brisbane on a narrow-body Boeing 737. The experience could not have been more different.

Chooms flew from Melbourne to Perth on QF9, a 787 Dreamliner service. As this happens to be an international tag flight, with the aircraft continuing to London, QF9 departs from the international airport in Melbourne. If, like chooms, you happen to have Qantas Platinum status, this means you’ll have access to the excellent Qantas First Lounge. (Ordinarily, Business passengers would have access to the Business Lounge.)

Although the service on the flight over to Perth was nothing special, it was perfectly fine and the meal was nice. Business class on the Dreamliner is also a very comfortable way to fly. Not everyone agrees it’s “mini first class”, as Qantas routinely claims. But the spacious seats convert into fully-flat beds and every passenger has direct aisle access.

Pretty standard J class trip. Service was ok, but I think they were training as a heap of FAs on the flight. Would do again, even with the hassle of the International Terminal, which was quickly forgotten on entering the F Lounge…

The return trip from Perth to Brisbane was on a Boeing 737 with a much smaller Business class cabin of 12 recliner seats across three rows. The Boeing 737s are frequently used on trans-continental routes these days, alongside Airbus A330s and Boeing 787s. But the Business product on the Boeing 737 is far inferior. It’s also less private.

Now, I have no problem with QF B737 J seats on the golden triangle. Perfectly fine for those 1-2 or even a 3 hour flight. To have these on transcon paying over $2k one-way for a J seat it just outrageous.

Chooms was not all that impressed with the promptness of the service on the second flight, nor with the crew running out of meal choices after serving less than half of the cabin. But an overly chatty seat neighbour did not improve the experience…

Feeling like I’ve been entombed for my flight, I pull out the headphones and try and forget about the world. Problem was, my seatmate didn’t recognise the international signal for not wanting to talk (headphones). Tap tap on my shoulder…

“Hi! I’m on vacation from Texas with my husband, he sits in coach, but I have to sit in First class. It will be our first time in Brisbane, but we’re only there for six hours… what should we do?”

Christ help me.

This trip report serves as a friendly reminder to check your aircraft type when flying across the country. Lie-flat Business seating is available on at least 5 Australian domestic routes.

Read the full trip report on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: QF9 – the short leg in J


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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]