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This article is part of our ongoing Business Travel 101 series for newcomers to the world of business travel.
Qantas flies a total of six different types of jets on international routes, with widely varying business class seats – so your experience at the pointy end can depend heavily on which particular plane you're on.
In the case of the larger Qantas hubs such as Sydney and Melbourne, travellers often have a choice between aircraft.
For example, across the year flights to Singapore and Hong Kong are made on the Airbus A330, Airbus A380 and Boeing 787, while flights to Los Angeles can see a mix of the A380 superjumbo, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and even the original Boeing 747 jumbo jet.
So should that choice present itself, here's your guide to choosing the best Qantas business class seats for your flight.
1. Qantas Boeing 787 business class
The Boeing 787 is fitted with Qantas' latest business class seat, dubbed the Qantas Business Suite.
If you want to fly the very best Qantas business class, the red-tailed Dreamliner is it.
The Boeing 787 Business Suite ticks all the boxes for a modern business class seat: every passenger enjoys direct access to the aisle, copious personal space around their seat, a large HD screen for whiling away the hours with inflight movies, and of course a long and fully-flat bed.
It also has one significant advantage over the original Business Suite which debuted on the Qantas Airbus A330s at the start of 2015 – the paired middle seats have been redesigned to put a sliding divider between them.
Push it down if you want to be sociable with your seatmate...
... or raise it for privacy.
Plus there are the added benefits of the Boeing 787 when it comes to reducing the impact of jetlag – higher humidity, lower effective cabin altitude, cleaner air and even time-sensitive LED lighting schemes – which will help you feel a lot better when you step off your flight.
But there's a caveat here. Like many of today's business class designs, when the seat converts to a bed your feet are tucked into a small recess, and that nook will prove an uncomfortably tight fit for passengers with plus-sized plods.
For blokes, the further you are from an Aussie size 8 or a European size 42 (or a 10/41 for female flyers) the more your feet will feel like they're in a vice.
To skip the squeeze, select a seat in the front row of the Boeing 787's two business class cabins – those are 1A and 1K, 2E and 2F, or any seat in row 10 – as they have a much larger foot cubby located in the bulkhead wall rather than under the seat in front of you.
2. Qantas Airbus A330 business class
After the Dreamliner, the business class of the Airbus A330 is your next best bet. As mentioned above, the A330s were Qantas' launch platform for the first-generation Business Suite.
Almost everything about the Boeing 787's business class seat applies here, including the size of those foot nooks – again, travellers with larger-than-average feet should select a seat at the very front row of the cabin.
If you're flying with a partner or friend, note that the middle seats on the A330 – unlike those of the Boeing 787 – don't let you push down the panel between those seats.
Of course, the A330 lacks the jetlag-busting technology of the Dreamliner, but all else considered it's still a great way to fly.
Unless, that is, you find yourself on one of the older A330s which are still burdened with the 2002-era Skybed business class seat. This isn't even a fully flat bed – it's an angled bed or 'sloping sleeper', and the seats themselves are certainly showing their age.
At the time of writing, only two of Qantas' 28 Airbus A330s sport these Skybed seats and it's a bit of a lottery which routes they appear on: Beijing, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Shanghai and even Singapore have all been visited by these old birds in the past week alone.
Sadly, there's no way to plan for this or work around it – it's just the (bad) luck of the draw.
3. Qantas Airbus A380 business class
The mighty Airbus A380 is Qantas' biggest and most impressive jet, but its business class cabin is decidedly behind the times.
Travellers walking onto the superjumbo's upper deck are faced with 72 'Skybed II' business class seats designed circa 2006.
The 2-2-2 layout means that a lot of travellers end up awkwardly stepping around or over their seatmate (or being stepped around/over) and there's a paucity of space to stow almost anything of use during the flight.
While the seats convert into a flat bed, their age sees a bit of droop in the lower half of the 'bed'. Pro tip: you can avoid the Skybed II sag by adjusting the seat to more of a sunbed-mode recliner rather than going fully flat.
One thing in the Skybed II's favour is the exceptional legroom, or rather the sheer space around your legs. Unlike the Lego-like modular Business Suite, the Skybed II pods are especially a blessing for large-footed flyers.
Another plus for the superjumbo is the business class 'lounge'.
Sure, it's a bit pokey and often underused, but it's always nice to be able to decamp from your seat and relax over a drink and some snacks with fellow travellers.
Note that from March 2019, Qantas will begin upgrading its A380s to overhaul the lounge – in fact, to create two lounges – as well as replacing the Skybed II pods with the the same Business Suites as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
This will be a substantial improvement for business travellers, although it's a slow process which is expected to take until the end of 2020 for all twelve A380s to be refurbished.
4. Qantas Boeing 747 business class
Qantas has been steadily whittling back its ageing Boeing 747 fleet and will put the last of its jumbo jets out to pasture by the end of 2020 as the next wave of its Boeing 787 orders arrive.
Even so, there are still nine of the big four-engine 'Queens of the Sky' trundling around the Qantas network.
Each has the same Skybed II business class seat as the Airbus A380s, with the same drawbacks – and the added annoyance of a lack of any inflight lounge, compounded by a noisy rattling experience once you're in the air.
Some rows of the business class cabin even have a 2-3-2 layout, which means you may even be stuck in the dreaded middle seat.
But if a Qantas Boeing 747 is all that's on offer, you can still make the most of it by
a) choosing a seat in the nose of the 747, where the old first class cabin used to be, for a cosy cool vibe
b) opting for the jumbo's hump, the upper deck, where the smaller cabin has a private jet feel
c) snaring the prized seats 5B or 5J, which on most Qantas Boeing 747s are a solo seat with a handy personal locker by your side.
We should also note that one of the remaining 747s still has first class seats at the very front, although these 14 seats are sold as business class and mainly offered to top-tier Qantas Frequent Flyers (Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman's Lounge members) booked into business class.
5. Qantas Boeing 737 business class
The single-aisle Boeing 737 is the workhorse of Qantas' domestic fleet but it also appears on overseas flights to New Zealand, Bali, Noumea and (from Perth) Singapore.
The Boeing 737's twelve recliners make for the least appealing business class of Qantas' international fleet, but travellers rarely have a choice – except for some flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Auckland which feature the larger and more comfortable Airbus A330 Business Suites.