The best business class on Sydney-Jakarta flights

By Chris C., October 26 2016
The best business class on Sydney-Jakarta flights

UPDATE | Singapore Airlines' plans to launch Sydney-Jakarta-Singapore flights have been paused following a decision by the Indonesian government to withdraw its approval for the new route.

Read more: Singapore Airlines defers Sydney-Jakarta-Singapore route launch


PREVIOUS | Flying between Sydney and Jakarta is no longer a two-horse race between Qantas and Garuda Indonesia, with Singapore Airlines also joining the fold in November with new non-stop flights of its own.

Each airline offers its own flavour of flatbed business class seats on the route, but which is best for business?

Australian Business Traveller ranks your choices and shows how much you'd pay for a business class return fare with each airline, travelling in late November 2016.

Singapore Airlines: Boeing 777-200ER

From November 23 2016, Singapore Airlines will launch non-stop flights between these cities on a Boeing 777-200ER fitted with the same business class seats as SQ's flagship Airbus A380s:

Upsides: These refurbished Boeing 777s offer that winning combination of a fully-flat bed and direct aisle access from every seat, along with being one of the widest business class seats in the skies, measuring 30 inches wide when upright.

Downsides: While a great option on those daytime flights from Sydney, the seat gets considerably narrower when switched to bed mode as you'll need to lie diagonally to slide your feet into the smaller cubby...

... and to avoid the indent from the passenger's feet behind you:

AusBT review: Singapore Airlines Airbus A380/Boeing 777-200ER business class

Schedule: Three times per week, with a late morning departure from Sydney on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays (arrives early afternoon), and late evening overnight service home from Jakarta on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, touching down mid-morning in Sydney.

Pricing: From $2,933 return in late November


Qantas flies an Airbus A330-200 to Indonesia, but the seats and layout you'll find within the cabin walls can vary greatly from one plane to the next.

Upsides: Snag one of Qantas' many refurbished A330s and you'll fly in the Roo's great new Business Suites, pairing a fully-flat bed with direct aisle access from every seat, courtesy of a 1-2-1 cabin layout.

There's also plenty of space around the suite to store your gear, with nooks for everything from your smartphone and headphones through to your tablet and laptop...

... but if you'd rather keep your gear on the shelf nearby, that's fine too:

AusBT review: Qantas Airbus A330-200 Business Suite

Downsides: If your flight happens to land a non-refurbished A330, your flat bed is swapped out for a 'sloping sleeper' Skybed and in a less-favourable 2-2-2 configuration as well, which means most passengers are forced to hop over their seatmate to access the aisle, or will be hopped over themselves.

Schedule: Qantas flies from Sydney four times per week, leaving just after lunch on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays to reach Jakarta in the early evening, while return flights depart on the same days, running overnight to arrive in Sydney early the following morning.

AusBT review: Qantas 'sloping sleeper' business class Skybed

Pricing: From $2,260 return in late November

Garuda Indonesia

Garuda Indonesia also links Sydney directly with Jakarta using Airbus A330-200 jets – but while some of Garuda's A330s are fitted with the airline's newest business class seats, those flying to Sydney tend to have the older seats.

Upsides: 'Older' doesn't necessarily mean 'bad' – you're still guaranteed a fully-flat bed in Garuda business class regardless of the A330 that serves your flight.

Garuda is also the only airline to offer inflight Internet access between Sydney and Jakarta, starting at US$9.95 for 10MB on some A330s and US$11.95 for 30MB or one hour on others.

Downsides: With a 2-2-2 business class cabin arrangement, those in the window seats have to step over their seatmates to access the aisle, even though the beds come fully-flat.

AusBT review: Garuda Indonesia Airbus A330 business class

Also, passengers used to be able to clear Indonesian immigration while soaring through the skies to make for a faster arrival in Jakarta, but now that Australian tourists can visit Indonesia without a visa, this has been discontinued. (Business travellers still require a pre-arranged business visa, however.)

Schedule: Garuda flies from Sydney four times per week, departing around lunchtime on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with the return journey an overnight service from Jakarta on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Pricing: From $2,153 return in late November

Also read: Garuda begins direct Jakarta-London flights, switches to Heathrow

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.


Garuda Indonesia - Garuda Miles

30 Jan 2015

Total posts 23

Garuda's service is really good and their seat is reasonable. SQ seat is better, but it requires some work to change the seat to a flat bed, which is a bit inconvenient. On a GA plane, I simply adjust the seat whenever I feel like it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 692

One would normally think that a new route offering (SQ) would attract some good introductory fares - or did I miss them?

At $2933 (vs $2260 for QF and $2153 for GA) SQ obviously are putting a substantial 'premium' between their product and that of their competitors.

Whilst a refurbed SQ B777-200ER might be pleasant, I'm not convinced that the premium being sought over the two competing A330-200's represents 'great' value.


16 Nov 2011

Total posts 585

Its not good value. But from what I can see the market that SQ is going after is the wealthy Indonesian traveller and for them price doesn't matter.


Cathay Pacific - The Marco Polo Club

17 Apr 2013

Total posts 8

Agree with AJW on this one. Indonesian travellers have always consider SQ superior to GA and there's a certain level of prestige when flying SQ. The style of hospitality is also more familiar compared to QF's approach. 


16 Nov 2011

Total posts 585

QF41/42 has seen a non refurbished A330 about twice in the past year or so. In fact it was the first route where, about a year or so ago, one could be all but guaranteed a refurbished A330. It does see a A330-300 about once a fortnight, often on Sundays.

And maybe not a big issue for many, but the IFE system on the SQ 777-200's is no where near as good as Qantas. It uses the older platform that is slow and has about half the content compared to what can be found on SQ's A330, A350, A380's and 777-300ER's.

18 Apr 2015

Total posts 67

This is what I had expected. Just noticed that the seat map on my outbound flight in Dec has changed to the old school layout. Do you think this is fixed or could a new one be swapped in??

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Feb 2015

Total posts 34

I've always wondered, why are there still two un refurb A332 with QF? They've done the rest of the fleet, whats taking these birds so long? And don't put them on HNL, QF's longest A332 route, do it domestically. 


16 Nov 2011

Total posts 585

The problem is the two international -200's eg the unrefubished ones, are they are the only ones with sufficent galley space to do two full meal services which is required for HNL. Hence why it is either one of them or a -300 that flied to HNL. The rest of the -200 fleet was purchased for domestic and later Jetstar services so have smaller galley space.

They are also putting these onto the 'new' PEK service too. Though I wouldn't be surprised to see them get a refurb soonish, but retain the larger galley so will remain a dedicated subclass, but maybe less J seats compared to the other -200's.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Feb 2015

Total posts 34

So ill make a guess qantas is punching the numbers and doing the maths now to keep the galley space when they refurb. 

Cheers :)

29 Mar 2014

Total posts 78

GA also "sometimes", like really rarely, when they're feeling it I guess, flies a new-config A330-300 down to SYD, with the 1-2-1 reverse herringbone business class.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 645

just a comment/opinion The 2 unrefurbed (skybed) QF332s will be focused/utilized on the PEK/SYD route from 25Jan 2017. (this route requires 2 aircraft to provide its daily schedule, and the skybed is fine for the PEK/SYD target 'market', and of course the cabin crew/flight crew/galley facilities are a factor as well).  So the likelihood of an 'old' skybed on other A330 routes will be highly unlikely from 25Jan 2017. My opinion is the 2 skybed 332s will not be refurbed with 'suites' as the 'trickle down effect' of the introduction of the B787(as aircraft types get shuffled around on various routes as more 787s are added), will mean the 2 'rogue' 332s will leave QF during 2018. No point refurbing aircraft that will leave QF in a year or 2. QF is a business, just like any most airlines, and things/plans change, due to its 'fluid' nature. And of course aircraft/product substitutions can occur at  ANY airline. Sorry the long post, just trying to explain as best how complex airlines are. :)

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