Qantas vs Virgin Australia in battle for business class travellers

By David Flynn, January 13 2012
Qantas vs Virgin Australia in battle for business class travellers

The battle for Australia’s business travellers is hotting up, with Virgin Australia officially launching its business class seating and service next Wednesday, January 18.

Business class will replace the current premium economy cabin offered on most domestic Virgin Australia flights, and follows the debut of business class on the Sydney-Perth ‘Coast To Coast’ A330 service in May last year.

If you’ve flown Virgin Australia in recent months you may already have seen or sat in the new business class seats at front of the challenger airline’s factory-fresh Boeing 737-800s – they’re the ones with the cool new Boeing Sky Interior cabin – as well as many of the older but now refurbished 737s.

The leather-clad business class seats all sport a 38 inch pitch and laptop power socket, with one flight attendant dedicated to looking after the eight business class seats. They’ll also enjoy a new Luke Mangan-designed menu.

According to Roy Morgan Research, Australia has over 2.1 million domestic business travellers. However, Qantas has faced no true ‘business class’ competition since the collapse of Ansett Australia almost 10 years ago.

Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti is aiming to see 20% of the airline’s revenue come from Australia’s corporate and government market by June 2013.

As of June 2011 that figure stood at 13%, up by a third over the previous year – and with Qantas’ recent industrial woes playing to Virgin’s hands, Borghetti not only looks good to be closing the gap but could reach his goal ahead of schedule.


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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Aug 2011

Total posts 41

I'm flying a day trip from Gold Coast to Sydney in Business on Janurary 18th, the day Business Class launches. It'll be interesting to see how the crew go on their first day, not to mention also being the first day that a 5th flight attendant is added onto Virgin 737 flights.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2011

Total posts 732


I flew their A330 Sydney to Perth last year in September (6pm flight), it was excellent, great personal service, good food, particularly liked the trolley service for desert. The return however was on a refurbished 737, whilst the seat is fine (noticeably less comfortable than the A330 but that is too be expected) I found their food service mediocre. It struck me there is a huge difference between the A330 service and their 737 service. It was almost like an international economy offering (one tray service with a below average main, small quantity, salad and desert served simultaneously etc). Whilst the attendant was nice enough (3 seats out of 8 seats occupied) the choice was limited and quality disappointing. The attendant put it down to the limited possibilities they have to prepare food in the kitchen, but I can recall Qantas does a better job on their 73's in business. Hope to see this improved with their official launch! I will give them the benefit of the doubt and try again, and for sure will not hesitate to book on their A330 again!


04 Nov 2010

Total posts 670

I reckon that single dedicated crewmember will be pretty bored when there are only a few people in the business class cabin. I mean, how many people pay for business class from Sydney to Melbourne or Brisbane? I can't justify business class fares on anything but Sydney to Perth.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 785

A lot of people do BNE-SYD-MEL in business. Heck, even NTL-MEL can fill up in premium. Those seats will fill up over time. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Jan 2012

Total posts 335

What percenatge of Virgin Australia's 737 fleet currently have the new interior?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

According to Virgin Australia, almost all of them – bar a few older 737s which have yet to be upgraded.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Sep 2013

Total posts 4

When I fly business class, I always go Virgin. Qantas is not bad, in fact, Virgin's and Qantas' business class are equally good as each other, but I like Virgin better because I just like that 'new' feel of the cabin. The flight attendants uniforms look better (yes, i know Qantas has new ones on the way) and it usually isn't as crowded as Qantas. Virgin's the best for me, for now, but I am almost certain that that is going to change.

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