Already spoiled for choice, Aussie travellers will have yet another business class option to the US before the year's end with the launch of American Airlines' non-stop flights between Sydney and Los Angeles.
But just how do AA's business class seats stack up against the likes of Qantas, Virgin Australia, Delta, United and also Air New Zealand across the Pacific?
To begin, business class passengers on AA's Boeing 777-300ERs enjoy direct aisle access from every seat, thanks to the cabin's 1-2-1 layout...
... a bed that's 66cm wide and stretches to between 190 and 198cm when fully-flat...
... and that provides ample space to work throughout the day with a handy side table for your extra gadgets and a desk-level power point to stay recharged:
Qantas Airbus A380, Boeing 747 business class
On all Qantas Airbus A380s and its refurbished Boeing 747s, the Skybed II seats also clock in at 198cm when completely extended, and too go fully-flat for a good night's sleep.
However, they're around 12cm narrower than AA's seats, and come in a 2-2-2 layout on the A380 – which means that passengers in the side pairs are either hopping over their fellow travellers or being hopped over themselves...
... leaving only the middle pair of seats with direct aisle access and nobody climbing over you.
It's a similar story on the Boeing 747, where all seats on the upper deck and most in the nose on the lower deck come as 2-2...
... expanding to a less-than-desirable 2-3-2 further back on the main deck.
Other than the small centre cocktail table to house your welcome drink, most of Qantas' Skybeds also come without a side table or separate working space, which you'll find on AA.
(Exceptions to the rule include row 5 on the refurbished Boeing 747s and the window seats on both the A380 and the Boeing 747 upper deck, which each have a shelf area atop the side storage bins.)
From time to time, Qantas' non-refurbished Boeing 747s can also appear on USA flights, bringing with them the first generation of Skybeds.
While similar to the newer model, these seats don't go fully-flat...
... instead resting on an incline of nine degrees, making them 'lie-flat':
Fortunately the newer Skybeds appear more often than not across the Pacific, but last-minute aircraft substitutions are always a possibility.
Virgin Australia Boeing 777 business class
Virgin Australia's full fleet of Boeing 777s sport fully-flat beds in a 2-3-2 layout, which again means there's no one 'ideal' seat for uninterrupted aisle access...
... and when in sleep mode, VA's beds are 2-10cm shorter than those on American and around 8cm narrower, also without space to plonk anything larger than an amenity kit.
However, the seats in row 5 are extremely private, with each group of two or three seats completely curtained off from the aisle and the rest of the cabin:
The airline will also begin replacing these seats from later this year with new mini-suites, offering each and every passenger direct aisle access and matching AA.
The new seats also boost the 'stretch zone' when you're lying flat with 203cm of space from head to toe – that's 5-13cm more than on American Airlines – and seats that are 71cm wide with the armrests lowered, again topping AA by 5cm.
Adding to that: a moveable conversation screen between the centre pair of seats for travellers flying together, and ample space for your kit on the side table and in multiple storage slots underneath.
Delta's Boeing 777 'Delta One' business class
Also with direct aisle access for all is 'Delta One' Boeing 777 business class, in a familiar 1-2-1 configuration.
Delta's herringbone layout doesn't afford a great deal of privacy, as every seat faces the aisle and is 'on display' for anybody walking towards the rear of the aircraft:
But at 198cm, Delta's fully-flat beds either match or beat the length of those on AA, with AA winning on seat width by 13cm.
Side space is also limited to the small shelf holding your amenity kit, so you'll need to keep everything else on your tray table or in a seat pocket.
United Boeing 777, 787 'BusinessFirst' business class
United uses a different forwards-backwards layout on its Boeing 777 Sydney flights, but which doesn't offer uninterrupted direct aisle access as you'd find on American Airlines and Delta.
Instead, seats are eight-abreast in BusinessFirst – grouped as 2-4-2 and with every second row facing the rear:
United's seats also don't offer much side storage space or indeed the width of AA's, coming in at roughly 15cm narrower...
... but each form a 193cm fully-flat bed, which meets AA's bed length in the middle of the spectrum.
Melbourne travellers get a completely different seat on their Boeing 787 flights, all of which are forward-facing and come in a 2-2-2 layout: That gives some travellers – at least in the centre pairs – that ideal combination of direct aisle access and nobody hopping over you.
That gives some travellers – at least in the centre pairs – that ideal combination of direct aisle access and nobody hopping over you.
The Dreamliner's seats are also longer than found on United's Boeing 777s and somewhat on American Airlines, as AA's seats again range from 190 to 198cm, depending on where you sit.
There's also a centre cocktail table and a small storage nook next to your head, yet AA's seats remain approximately 10cm wider.
Air New Zealand Boeing 777 business class
Air NZ remains a popular option for Aussies heading to San Francisco and also Los Angeles via Auckland, with an AA-beating bed length of 202cm when fully-flat:
Every passenger also enjoys direct aisle access, but privacy is relatively limited with the walls between each seat extending to waist-height...
... and which face directly towards that aisle, rather than away from it. NZ's seats are also around 10cm narrower than AA's, although it's fair to highlight that AA doesn't currently serve Auckland.
Which is your business class seat of choice on flights to the USA, and do the new seats of American Airlines and Virgin Australia sway that decision? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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