The best business class on Sydney-Bangkok flights

By Chris Chamberlin, December 20 2016
The best business class on Sydney-Bangkok flights

There's more than one way to fly between Sydney and Bangkok in business class, with Qantas, Thai Airways and even Emirates jetting between the two cities.

Depending on which airline and flight you book, you could end up in a fully-flat bed with an inflight cocktail bar at your disposal, or in an angled-flat business class seat aside a noisy galley.

Australian Business Traveller examines your options on this popular international route based on the full experience you'll have from door to door as a business class passenger, while also including the price you'll pay to take a return trip in mid-February 2017.

1. Emirates Airbus A380

Emirates covers an expansive network of Australian routes with passengers able to fly the Airbus A380 solely between Sydney and Bangkok – you don't need to be travelling onwards to Dubai or elsewhere to book this flight.

Upsides: Fully-flat beds and direct aisle access come standard in Emirates' A380 business class...

... but so does an inflight bar and lounge area where you can socialise with fellow travellers while enjoying a cocktail at 40,000 feet.

Free inflight Internet is too provided with 10MB of data offered at no charge and a further 500MB available for only US$1, while Emirates' lounge in Bangkok also adopts the airline's latest design palate, as also seen in Melbourne, Perth and Los Angeles.

But wait, there's more – Emirates business class passengers enjoy complimentary chauffeur-driven airport transfers at each end of their journey, while Qantas Frequent Flyer members can earn both points and status credits on these flights by booking them under a Qantas (QF) codeshare flight number.

Downsides: Those chauffeured rides are only available when booked on an Emirates (EK) flight number, not a Qantas (QF) flight number, so if your goal is to earn Qantas Points, you'll need to choose between Chauffeur Drive and earning status credits: you can't have both.

Emirates' lounge in Sydney is also a step behind that found in Bangkok, but remains leagues ahead of the nearby Qantas business class lounge.

Schedule: Emirates offers a return daily service with EK419 (QF8419) leaving Sydney at 7:50pm, reaching Bangkok at 1:10am early the next day. Homeward-bound, EK418 (QF8418) pushes back at 7:30pm, landing in Sydney at 9am the following morning.

Price: From $3,349 return in mid-February

Also read: Emirates Airbus A380 business class review

2. Qantas Airbus A330

Upsides: Also promising direct aisle access from every seat in a 1-2-1 layout, Qantas' Airbus A330 Business Suites offer plenty of storage that's useful on both daytime and night-time flights, including for gadgets of all sizes, reading material, glasses and more.

The seat can also remain partially reclined for take-off and landing and lie fully-flat in between – provided you don't immediately drift off to sleep!

During waking hours, ensure you get your first meal choice on flights from Australia by pre-ordering your preferred main course via the 'manage by booking' section on the Qantas website. Platinum frequent flyers are also treated to the superb Qantas First Lounge in Sydney when beginning the journey.

Downsides: There's no ideal pair of seats for couples travelling together or colleagues and friends hoping to chat, with even the middle pairs having a fixed privacy divider in between that can't be opened or moved.

Qantas' business class lounge in Sydney is also starting to show its age, while the default Louis' Tavern lounge used in Bangkok too leaves much to be desired.

However, savvy Qantas business class travellers can instead visit the modern Cathay Pacific and Emirates lounges in Bangkok for a better pre-flight experience, courtesy of Qantas' Oneworld and Emirates partnerships.

Schedule: Qantas flies daily in each direction with QF23 departing Sydney at 9:45am to arrive in Bangkok at 3:35pm. On the return, QF24 is wheels-up at 6pm for a 7:25am landing in Sydney the following morning.

Price: From $3,349 return in mid-February

Also read: Qantas Airbus A330 Business Suite review

3. Thai Airways Boeing 747

Thai Airways offers the most flights between Sydney and Bangkok of any one airline, although the business class seats it flies to Sydney don't come close to rivalling those of Qantas or Emirates.

Upsides: Thai's biggest drawcard is its schedule, with a daily return flight complemented by four additional return services each week to provide added flexibility for business travellers.

Business class passengers can also down a fresh barista-made coffee at the Air New Zealand Sydney lounge before leaving Australia...

... and in Bangkok, can head to the Thai Airways Royal Orchid Spa for a complimentary 30-minute foot massage or neck & shoulder massage before their flight, with treatments secured on a first-come, first-served basis.

On flights from Bangkok, you can also lock-in your preferred meal choice from the standard inflight menu plus a broader selection of dishes available exclusively to those who pre-order online: similar to Singapore Airlines' Book The Cook service.

Downsides: Thai Airways' Boeing 747 business class beds don't lie fully-flat, nor do they provide direct aisle access from every seat. Instead, you'll find them in a 2-2 layout, both on the jumbo's upper deck and also downstairs, with some seats bordering a galley rather than windows.

The Air NZ lounge Thai uses in Sydney can also be quite busy in the mornings, while in Bangkok, we'd consider Thai's array of Royal Silk business class lounges to be more 'acceptable' than 'amazing'.

Schedule: Thai's daily TG476 flight from Sydney takes the skies at 10am to reach Bangkok at 3:35pm the same afternoon, with TG475 jetting to back Australia at 5:50pm local time, arriving at 7:10am the following morning.

Additionally, TG472 flies from Sydney on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 4:10pm ahead of a 9:35pm arrival in Bangkok, with TG471 taking wing at 7:25am on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays in reverse, reaching Sydney at 8:45pm the same calendar day.

Price: From $3,340 return in mid-February

Also read: The best seats in business class aboard Thai Airways' Boeing 747s

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Oct 2016

Total posts 40

I love these best seat guides, please can you do some for economy?

Hi Stefan, AusBT is dedicated to premium travel, so our focus is first class, business class and premium economy. With a few rare exceptions, we don't cover (or review) economy, as it's not our market. :)

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

31 Oct 2016

Total posts 73

Hi Stefan,

Check out seatguru, either the website or the App, can offer some good insights across all levels of seats if that's just what you're after..

Just be aware that SeatGuru isn't always correct - it's often missing aircraft layouts, claims some seats are bad when they're actually good and doesn't always have the correct details about amenities (TV size etc) and seat pitch/width.

It can still offer some useful information, but do consider double-checking any info against the official airline seat maps and cabin details before relying on the data. :)

17 May 2012

Total posts 81

Thai are my prefered airline for locations served and convenience, however (other than the seat issues listed below) I still cant get a beam on why they insist on a really rushed meal out of Sydney on TG476 10am flight, completed within 60-70 mins after takeoff and then its lights out and the cabin thrown into complete darkness (Business and Economy) with the staff difficult to find. Its a DAY flight and in fact ive just got out of bed to get the flight.. I have inquired but never really got a straight answer. Same for TG471 BKK-SYD departing 7am, although the excuse then is that it has connecting flights from Europe. My bet is that it's the crew. All long serving, its a  senior priority destination for them and they are looking for rest time asap. Perhaps Thai could elaborate coz it is unnecessary and Im sure not most passengers choice.

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 581

Thai has gone down hill big time the past few years. Never seen a more sour, inept crew in all my life. They go through the motions, then as you said go an hide. My wife (who is Thai) now refuses to set foot on a Thai airways aircraft.

Also had very bad check-in experiance on our last trip, which is what tipped the wife over the edge. The check-in agent just didn't want to be there, and what I found worse is when I approached the check-in supervisor to complain he basically couldn't give a toss and when I asked for a complaint form or complaint email address he said to ask for one on the plane, which they didn't have. Luckily though was able to make a complaint on Thais website, but still the response was far from nice to encourage us to fly this shocking airline again.

And don't get me started on their aircraft, the 747's and the 777-200's in particular. Awful awful awful.

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 118

This is great to read the new Qantas A330 is working this route, have had such a mixture of equipment on this route.

And a small tip if you want a multi city itinerary which has you landing in Bangkok on Qantas, then departing Phuket with Emirates then on to Dubai this can only be booked with EK flight nos. not QF for the entire ticketing.


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