Australian travellers were familiar with the Qantas 'Skybeds' for many years, but these have ultimately been replaced by a next-generation business class seat on many Qantas international flights.
This seat, dubbed the 'Business Suite', improves upon the Skybeds of yesteryear by introducing direct aisle access for every passenger, which certainly beats having to step over a seatmate in the middle of the night, or being stepped over yourself.
Why Qantas Business Suites are superior to standard business class
Simply put, if you're flying Qantas business class, you'll have the best experience in a Business Suite, compared to an older-style Skybed or even a domestic-style reclining seat.
While these still appear on many flights, savvy travellers may often be able to choose one flight over another to snag a suite. Here's where the Business Suite trumps the Skybed.
Qantas' Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 Skybeds are quite open. Passengers seated against the aisle have little privacy, and those closer to the window can raise a privacy partition, you're still very close to your neighbour.
The Business Suites, on the other hand, place a shelf between many seats and the aisle which makes those ideal for sleeping, and while some seats still certainly line the aisle, there's more personal space between each passenger.
Speaking of space, the improvements aren't only for 'people' – these Business Suites come with extra room for laptops and gadgets, not only on the bench beside each seat, but via the shelves above.
This keeps your tray table or foot space free for other purposes, which is otherwise where you'd be storing most personal items on Skybed flights.
Particularly handy on overnight flights, Business Suites have the added advantage of a 'do not disturb' light, signalling to the crew that you wish to be left alone and not woken for breakfast.
As long as your seatbelt is on, you'll be left to rest until it's time to land – or, if working hard on a laptop, left about your business.
Which planes offer Qantas Business Suites?
While Qantas offers Business Suites on a variety of routes, they're not available on every aircraft.
For example, you wouldn't expect to find Business Suites on a Qantas flight from Brisbane to Bundaberg, or from Sydney to Johannesburg, which uses an older aircraft and seat.
Business Suites are exclusive to the following planes:
- Qantas Airbus A330-200
- Qantas Airbus A330-300
- Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
As refurbishments are completed across Qantas' Airbus A380 fleet, these aircraft will offer Business Suites also – but do not at the time of publishing.
Routes offering Qantas Business Suites
The aircraft above fly a variety of domestic and international routes on which you'll find the Qantas Business Suite.
Of course, not every flight on every one of these routes is guaranteed to have Business Suites – particularly domestic flights from Australia's east coast to Perth, which use a mix of Airbus A330s (which have Business Suites) and Boeing 737s (which do not).
That said, Business Suites regularly appear on the following routes, including travel in the return direction:
- Sydney to Auckland
- Sydney to Bangkok
- Sydney to Beijing
- Sydney to Denpasar/Bali
- Sydney to Hong Kong
- Sydney to Jakarta
- Sydney to Manila
- Sydney to Osaka
- Sydney to Perth
- Sydney to San Francisco (from December 4 2019)
- Sydney to Santiago (from June 2020)
- Sydney to Sapporo
- Sydney to Shanghai
- Sydney to Singapore
- Melbourne to Auckland
- Melbourne to Hong Kong
- Melbourne to Los Angeles
- Melbourne to Perth
- Melbourne to San Francisco
- Melbourne to Singapore
- Melbourne to Tokyo
- Brisbane to Auckland
- Brisbane to Chicago (from April 2020)
- Brisbane to Hong Kong
- Brisbane to Los Angeles
- Brisbane to Perth
- Brisbane to San Francisco (from February 2020)
- Brisbane to Singapore
- Brisbane to Tokyo
- Perth to London
- Perth to Singapore
- Los Angeles to New York
Best seats when choosing a Qantas Business Suite
As goes without saying, there's no such thing as a bad Qantas Business Suite, but some suites are better-suited to particular travellers.
For example, with the cabin adopting a staggered layout – where the seat and side table alternate from one row to the next – right-handed travellers may prefer the side table on their right.
Similarly, southpaws may prefer that table to be on their left. Here's what that looks like on the Airbus A330-300, for example:
Couples travelling together will gravitate to a pair of seats in the centre, where they'll have to choose between both passengers having the shelf to their right, or to their left.
Solo travellers may prefer the A and K seats, particularly those that place the seat closest to the window and the side table between their seat and the aisle, for maximum privacy.