Qantas, Virgin Australia close the gap in business class dogfight

By David Flynn, November 5 2015
Qantas, Virgin Australia close the gap in business class dogfight

Qantas and Virgin Australia are both set to raise the stakes in their business class battle this month, although it's the travellers who seem to be winning.

The last of Virgin Australia's six Airbus A330 jets is being wheeled into the hangar next week for the installation of the airline's latest business class seats, dubbed The Business.

AusBT review: Virgin Australia's 'The Business'

When it takes to the skies by the end of November, Virgin's entire A330 fleet will sport the impressive new seats – delivering a consistent experience for corporate travellers on the east-west route.

The Airbus A330s will be rostered onto all of Virgin's weekday Sydney-Perth and Melbourne-Perth flights, with a mix of the A330 and smaller Boeing 737s shuttling between Brisbane and the WA capital.

Meanwhile the eighth of Qantas' 18 reconfigured domestic A330 jets will also take wing before the month is out, bringing the Flying Kangaroo close to the halfway mark for adding the all-new Business Suite to its local twin-aisle fleet.

AusBT review: Qantas Business Suite

(Six red-tailed international A330s also sport the Business Suite and are mainly flying to Singapore, Hong Kong and other Asian cities.)

As the western anchor of the busy transcontinental trek, Perth Airport has also been getting its share of love from both airlines.

August saw Qantas open its first business lounge at Perth's Terminal 4...

... while the terminal itself has also received a swish make-over at the hands of Australian-based global design firm Woods Bagot.

Virgin Australia's turn comes on November 22nd, when the airline moves into the shiny new T1 Domestic Pier.

The airline's new home will feature two new lounges – one for members of Virgin Australia's elite The Club, and another for The Rest Of Us – plus a new fast-track check-in system with kiosks and bag-drop channels.

Read: Perks of 'The Club', Virgin Australia's secret VIP tier

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

09 Nov 2011

Total posts 88

Travelled both recently - Virgin is way out in front on all counts and with the new terminal about to open there is nothing more to consider for me. Virgin needs to get into the medium haul market though - big hole in the availablity of Asia routes. Singapore Airlines is the option but I don't particularly enjoy SQ Business class. Too many Business class passengers on each aircraft with rushed service and tatty beige cabins.

17 Feb 2012

Total posts 121

You don't like Singapore Business Class?  Yikes - they are the best in the sky.... Says a lot about you.  Virgin lounges are terrible and despite a decent new biz product is still a glorified budget carrier at the back...


09 Nov 2011

Total posts 88

WOW if you think SQ Business is the best in the sky and Virgin lounges are terrible - that says alot about you - since being personal seems important??!!  Qantas Clubs are glorified main airport terminal areas - overcrowded with queues at bars and food buffets

17 Feb 2012

Total posts 121

You are not comparing like with like.  You need to compare the Qantas Business Lounges with Virgin Lounges, as that is all you get on Virgin Business...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Feb 2015

Total posts 150

There is no need to take it onto a personal level, everyone has their own preference. Personally I don't think SQ (and CX for that matter) services are that great, yes they are efficient but all working just like a robot and follow the routine as they're told. While QF/VA crews have much more personality and makes one feel more 'homely' in a way. Also there are a lot more good bus products in the sky now so I won't say SQ has that much bigger advantage anymore. BUT again it's just my personal preference. 

09 Jul 2014

Total posts 31

SQ J is still angle flat ex Perth... That's definitely not considered "the best in the sky" these days.

06 Jan 2015

Total posts 66

Up front now in J, having tried both new products my preference is with VA on the A330. The seat is better and I think their food/wine is also better. VA have some nice lounges in the main cities and Perth soon but I believe QF have the edge here still.

Either way I still travel on the cheaper fare/best flight time/points  so very spoilt for choice.

01 Mar 2014

Total posts 6

I flew virgin interstate in business class and they don't supply a chice of meal for all 8 passengers...they actually ran out of salads after 3 were distributed and as I could eat the remaining option there was no lunch for me... not a happy "paying" customer!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Mar 2014

Total posts 219

I think its hard to split. personally had more than favourable experiences on both airlines.

I wish i could bitch about which business class I am flying

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