Qantas operate the Airbus 330 on some domestic routes within Australia and these feature seats in Business Class that are referred to by the airline as the Business Suite. These aircraft are primarily deployed on transcontinental services between the east coast capitals and Perth, flights to Asia and Hawaii and certain services from Sydney to Melbourne and Brisbane. Let’s have a look at these on a short flight between Brisbane and Sydney.
QF549 – Brisbane to Sydney (BNE-SYD)
21 April 2016
Airbus 330-200 VH-EBJ “Margaret River”
Seat: Business Class 2A
Departure: 18:25 Arrival: 20:00
The seats are in a 1-2-1 configuration and feature a console to one side of you. Row 2 and Row 4 are the seats to choose when travelling solo as you sit by the window and the console is on the aisle side. Rows 1, 3, 5 and 7 have the console by the window which makes you more exposed to aisle traffic. The configuration is shown correctly on the Qantas seat map. Once I boarded, I immediately explored my Business Suite.
When I flipped open the door to the inflight entertainment (IFE) control and found the mirror I had to smile! I thought it a great idea and probably very handy for people who need to put on makeup. Storage is very generous in the business suite with a number of different locations for the business traveller to store her or his material during flight. It’s probably also nirvana for the leisure traveller who is unable to travel without all their crap right next to them! The table is noticably sturdy and would be perfect for working on a heavy laptop.
The seats also feature a massage function which I did not use on the flight as I did not realise what that particular button was for. As Qantas have a massage function in their Skybed, it is great to see this continued. A pre-departure juice was offered and I chose a lemon juice as I quite like it and hear it is good for you!
The aerobridge was attached to door 1L which meant that people were wandering past as the flight boarded. Eventually doors were closed and we were treated to the Qantas safety video. This video is an excellent showcase for Australia and has a lot of tongue in cheek humour while imparting the serious safety message. It is new for 2016 and I suggest spending five minutes watching it as it is very well done. The video below is for the A380 however it is virtually identical to the one for the A330.
Once the demonstration finished we took off into the night and headed for Sydney. One of the features of the business suite is that you can have the seat in a semi-reclined position during take off which means you can comfortably relax or nap as soon as you’re on board. I tried the seat briefly in flat bed mode and found it to be fine.
The IFE is brand new on this aircraft and I especially liked the layout and detail of the moving map. It was well presented and professional as opposed to more childish and old fashioned versions I have seen from other airlines. You will see along the top other options – you can make a playlist, see what you last watched and so on. Very nice!
Cabin service commenced swiftly and there were two choices for dinner on this flight. My choice was the cutlet with beans which came with a passionfruit tart for dessert. The cabin crew offered bread from the basket and there was a Lindt chocolate to finish with. I chose my usual drink and had Champagne. I quite like Yarra Burn Champagne and have great memories of sampling a few bottles with my friend Tanya in Melbourne one time over a very long lunch!
Dinner was excellent for a flight that was under 90 minutes in duration. You don’t see this kind of service on a flight of this length in the USA and even in Europe you will generally receive a salad rather than a complete hot dinner. The meat was lean, tasty and delicious and the tart was sublime. Full marks to Qantas all round!
The Business Class cabin on the A330 is split into two sections. There is the forward section and a small mini-cabin aft of doors 2. I wanted to get some more pictures so I asked the crew if there was anyone seated in the mini-cabin. To my delight I was told no-one was seated “in the Versace lounge”. The crew member elaborated that this was his nickname for the mini-cabin and I’ve always thought of it as such since. I went on a photo spree to give you a good idea of what the cabin looks like. After this I visited the toilet and got that too!
You can select Do Not Disturb on your seat controls and it changes the seat numbers from white to red for when you want to sleep. The mini-cabin would be great if you were travelling as a group and could fill it, otherwise the missing windows mean this really isn’t a prime space to be seated. I thought the black sink in the bathroom oozed quality so that was another pleasant surprise.
My tray was cleared away and I asked for another bottle of Champagne. I was refused in the nicest way by the crew saying I still had some in one of the bottles. Clearly my habit of anticipating things in good time did not mesh with the Australian Responsible Service of Alcohol training! My seat was also annoying me at this stage as it had an electrical problem meaning the foot well lights and other lights would not stay off. Any movement by me turned them all back on again which was irritating. No problem on a short flight, but probably a big deal if I had been on an international overnight flight. Soon we descended into Sydney and landed uneventfully.
The Qantas Business Suite is a world class product in every way. A lot of thought has been applied to the design to align it to the needs of today’s demanding business traveller. It is a big step up from the standard domestic business class which I reviewed here. Apart from the lack of a massage function it has everything one could want from an aircraft seat. The sense of space coupled with the generous and varied storage areas, device charging points, IFE screen and the rest make for a very pleasurable flight.
The onboard service from the Qantas crew is always professional and has been honed to perfection. This coupled with the exceptional meal service makes Qantas the first choice for flights in Australia. Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.