Flight Test: Qantas business class
Reconfigured Qantas 747s offer the same business class seats as the A380 superjumbo. Photo: Andrew De La Rue
Route Sydney to Bangkok.
Aircraft Boeing 747-400. Code share with British Airways.
Class Business, seat 17K.
Flight time 8hr 42 min.
On-time performance Scheduled 12.30pm, departure 12.55pm. Arrival time is spot on but we are late to board and the captain gives a clue as to why — the state of the cabin. The crew volunteered to clean, he says. And it is spotless. The route's early-afternoon scheduled departure time (shifted from last year's 5pm flight) connects with the BA flight to London. The flight time is also ideal for those staying in Bangkok. Arrival at 6.50pm for me means it's dinner by the Chao Phraya River at 8pm.
Seat width and pitch 21.5 in; 60 in pitch
Seat configuration Upper deck, six rows of two-two; lower deck, four rows of two-three-two for a total of 52.
Luggage Business class is 32 kilograms, with carry-on of two bags up to seven kilograms each.
Comfort Pre-departure, the express-lane pass to clear customs for Qantas's first- and business-class customers is seamless. On board, the upper deck is quiet and it's a joy not to be in a thoroughfare. Fully flat skybeds are on international A380 and reconfigured 747 aircraft. I am on a lie-flat skybed with an incline of eight degrees that extends to almost two metres. There are purpose-built nooks for shoes, a water bottle and a nifty slimline reading light that extends from the seat's side. The window seat also means access to storage bins. My fellow passenger gets a nudge to stop his snoring but a better alternative is to recline into the shell design, noise-cancelling headphones on. The back-massage function is a highlight.
Entertainment More than 500 choices on an adjustable 26.5-centimetre screen including 18 new releases, documentaries and sitcoms. There's a power outlet for PCs and PDAs. If you are travelling with children, cabin crew can lock channels.
Food and beverage NV Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve is served during boarding and a Shaw and Smith sauvignon blanc with lunch. From the Neil Perry menu I choose prosciutto with hummus and crunchy green beans, pan-fried salmon with caramelised witlof, crushed peas and preserved lemon dressing, fresh fruit and Valrhona chocolates and Bodum coffee. Service Efficient and warm during meal services, unobtrusive for the rest. My water glass is never less than half full.
Flight frequency Qantas flies non-stop daily from Sydney to Bangkok with Melbourne passengers flying Qantas to Sydney to connect. Business-class fare is $7390 return including tax.
Online See qantas.com.
Tested by Jane Reddy who flew courtesy of Qantas.
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