Business travel between Melbourne and Los Angeles is set for a shake-up this year with new airlines, aircraft and seats lined up the LAX route.
Trying to choose the best business class for your next trans-Pacific trip? Our handy cheat sheet will help.
The Red Roo flies an Airbus A380 daily between Melbourne and Los Angeles, but the flagship superjumbo's business class is somewhat of a let-down.
Yes, it is a lie-flat bed – but 10 years on, the Skybed II seat showing its age.
It tends to sink and sag, there's almost no storage or working space around the seat – and with an outdated 2-2-2 layout there'll usually be somebody climbing over you (or you'll be climbing over somebody else) to get to the aisle, unless you opt for a seat in the middle row.
In the next few years Qantas will begin overhauling its A380 fleet with new seats from tip to tail, including the airline's latest Business Suite – or an evolution of same – in the business class cabin. That can't come soon enough.
Until then, if you've got 45,000 to 57,000 Qantas points, consider springing for an upgrade from business class to first class – it's great value.
A few days a week sees Qantas also flying the Boeing 747 between Melbourne and Los Angeles: it's fitted with the same Skybed II business class seat as the A380.
But from December 15 the jumbo will make way for the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which sports an improved version of the Business Suite already seen on most domestic and international Qantas Airbus A330 flights.
The Boeing 787 will run six days a week as QF95/QF96 alongside Qantas' daily Airbus A380 service.
United already flies a daily Boeing 787-9 between Melbourne and Los Angeles, but it's also hampered by a last-gen business class seat.
There's some personal space around the seat, which converts into a fully-flat but narrow bed, but the 2-2-2 layout has the same drawbacks as on the Qantas A380.
At some point in the future United will roll its Dreamliners into the hangar to be fitted with the airline's new Polaris business class seat (below), but being relatively new members of the fleet the Boeing 787s sit at the very back of the upgrade queue.
After pulling the plug on Melbourne in late 2014, Virgin Australia comes back with a bang from April 4.
The flights will run five days a week on Virgin's Boeing 777-300ER jets, which now sport all-new business class seats (above) with the most modern design of all three airlines: the seat's wide and in flat bed mode very long, and there's plenty of room around the seat.
There's also a swanky business class bar where you can socialise en route.
On a Virgin Australia flight from Sydney to Los Angeles we found it easy to spend a few hours at the bar chatting with fellow travellers; it's refreshing to be able to get up from your seat, and you can also have breakfast at the bar as you approach Los Angeles.
The biggest drawback for business travellers is Virgin's schedule, which at five flights a week won't line up quite as neatly as United's daily Boeing 787-9 roster or Qantas' nine flights per week (daily on the Airbus A380 plus two more on the Boeing 747).
How do you rate these business class seats for trans-Pacific trips?