Frequent flyers in Australia are blessed with access to some of the best premium cabin products in the world. So which ones are the best?

In this guide, I take a look at the top ten Business Class products flying from Australian airports and, crucially, how to book an award seat using frequent flyer points.

What makes for a good Business Class product?

I’ve judged these products based on the:

  • comfort of the seat
  • privacy of the seat
  • food and drinks you’ll enjoy onboard
  • service you are likely to receive

I’ve narrowed the list by only including seats that go lie-flat and provide direct aisle access to all passengers. This is especially important for travellers in Australia, who tend to endure long flight times to get to other countries.

A ranking of the top 10 Business Class products flying from Australia

10. China Eastern 787 Business Class

In 2019, China’s second-largest airline has upgraded some of its Sydney and Melbourne to Shanghai flights to its latest product, featuring sliding privacy doors.

Whilst the hard product (the seat) is good, the lacklustre food and inconsistent customer service let it down.

The good news is that award availability is generous and you can use your Qantas Points to fly this product.

9. Qantas 787/A330 International Business

Qantas‘ flagship Business Class product can be found on a good chunk of its international flights. That includes to places like Auckland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Los Angeles, New York and London. It can also be found on coast-to-coast flights within Australia.

You’ll enjoy modern finishes and friendly customer service, with comfortable pyjamas provided.

The food can be a bit hit-or-miss, though.

Qantas A330 Business Class food

You can use your Qantas Points or Asia Miles for an award redemption. You are much more likely to find award availability on flights within Australia and to Asia than those to the US or London.

8. Emirates A380 Business Class

This product flies from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to Dubai and onwards to many destinations throughout Emirates’ network. It’s also available on their fifth-freedom flight from Sydney to Christchurch.

Emirates’ onboard experience tends to be very consistent, with well-trained crews and excellent dining options. You’ll get a comfortable, lie-flat seat with beautiful finishes and arguably the best inflight entertainment system of any airline.

Plus, you can head to the back of the plane for a drink at the onboard bar, reserved exclusively for Business and First Class passengers.

The most accessible way for travellers in Australia to access these seats is by using Qantas Points, but Emirates Skywards miles (an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner) can also be redeemed.

7. Delta Air Lines 777 Delta One Suites

This upgraded product started flying from Sydney to Los Angeles (Delta’s only Australian route) in March 2019. Whilst you’ll get a sliding door:

Delta One Suites

as you can see in the photos below (and as many travellers have experienced), the space is tight, which can make it difficult for sleeping.

Velocity Points can be used for redemption flights with Delta. However, given that award availability is almost non-existent on these flights, the likelihood of that happening is low.

6. Singapore Airlines A380 (new) Business Class

Singapore’s flag carrier operates a myriad of seat types on its Australian flights. The flagship version is on A380 flights to Sydney (and soon to Melbourne).

This product is a huge improvement over its older A380, A350 and 777-300ER seats. You’ll find more flexibility for centre-seat passengers, extra privacy and storage, and beautiful styling. Plus, you can convert two centre seats into a double bed.

Singapore Airlines A380 (new) Business Class cabin

You’ll also enjoy Singapore Airlines’ renowned customer service, which is consistently excellent. The dining and drink options are top-notch too.

Singapore Airlines A380 (new) Business Class drink

However, unless you have a bulkhead seat, you may find the sleeping space to be cramped, hence why this product is not rated more highly.

You’ll need access to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles to fly this product. The good news is that fuel surcharges are not applied to KrisFlyer redemptions on Singapore Airlines flights.

5. Etihad A380/787 Business Studios

This is an often-overlooked option that you can find on flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Abu Dhabi. (Note the 777 flight from Melbourne has an older product.)

This cabin is elegant, with lamps at every seat and faux-gold finishes.

Etihad A380 Business Class centre seats

Seat choice is important and will vary whether you are travelling by yourself or with other people—this review can help you decide.

As opposed to Emirates, you’ll get to eat whenever you want, not when the crew decides. (Qatar Airways also has dine-on-demand.)

Etihad A380 Business Class Dining

On the A380 Sydney flight, you can stretch your legs and head to the onboard bar.

Etihad A380 Bar

You can use Velocity Points for an award flight, but you’ll get slugged with a hefty cash co-payment. If you have access to Etihad Guest or AAdvantage miles, you’ll save on taxes and surcharges.

4. Virgin Australia 777 Business Class

Australia’s second-largest carrier flies its flagship premium cabin product from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Los Angeles. You’ll get an extremely cushy reverse herringbone seat:

Virgin Australia A330 Business Class

and exceptional food (something that I think Virgin Australia beats Qantas at).

Virgin Australia Business Class meal

On these long Transpacific flights, you can enjoy a drink at the sit-down bar, with a dedicated bartender serving you.

Virgin Australia 777 onboard bar

You can also enjoy the same seat on Airbus A330 flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Perth, Fiji and Hong Kong. These planes just don’t have an onboard bar.

You can find a similar seat on:

  • American Airlines from Sydney to Los Angeles (a good low-surcharge option using Qantas Points)
  • Air Canada from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Vancouver
  • Vietnam Airlines from Sydney and Melbourne to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi

3. China Airlines A350 Business Class

This is an underrated product and one that should be on your radar, given that it flies from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Taipei. (From there, you can enjoy Taiwan or connect onto North Asia, Europe or North America.)

The Business Class cabin is just beautiful, with comfortable seats featuring wood-centric finishes.

China Airlines A350 Business Class

You’ll also enjoy great food and excellent customer service.

China Airlines Business Class menu

You can use your Qantas Points to book China Airlines flights.

2. Japan Airlines 787 Business Class

Whilst the aesthetics of this product are getting dated, it receives such high marks as all passengers enjoy great privacy and a lot of space. Whilst set up in a 2-2-2 configuration, these Sky Suites have been cleverly designed to allow window passengers to slip in and out without impeding aisle guests.

Japan Airlines 787 Business Class seat

You’ll also get superb customer service and delicious Japanese food onboard your flight.

Japan Airlines 787 Business Class food

You can find this product flying from Sydney and Melbourne to Tokyo and you can use your Qantas Points or Asia Miles to book an award seat. You’ll want to get in early as award space is snapped up quickly.

Korean Air also flies a version of this product (Apex Suites) from Sydney and Brisbane to Seoul when the 747-8i and 787 are operating, respectively.

Korean Air 747-8i Business Class

1. Qatar Airways QSuite

This is arguably the world’s best Business Class product and we’re lucky to see it on flights from Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra to Doha.

As a solo traveller, you’ll enjoy a high degree of privacy with a sliding door.

Qatar Airways Qsuite privacy door

However, if you are travelling with a partner, you can convert two centre seats into a double bed.

Qatar Airways Qsuite double bed

Or if you are travelling as a group, you can convert four centre seats into a family room.

You can use your Qantas Points or Asia Miles to book an award flight, with the best availability usually found on Adelaide flights.

Summing up

You’ll see that some notable products are missing from this list. Cathay Pacific does not make the cut as their food can be disappointing, they haven’t innovated with their seat offering and the customer service is not proactive.

United has the best Business Class redemption availability of any airline flying nonstop between Australia and the US. However, until they upgrade their Dreamliners flying these routes, their outdated product will continue to rank poorly.

Whichever flight you book, make sure to check the aircraft type and seatmap to make sure it matches the one you had in mind. Note that equipment swaps can happen in the leadup to departure, so it helps to check your booking every so often before your trip.

I would love to hear from you. Do you agree with my rankings? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

This article was co-written with Evin Tan Khiew and Daniel Pillar.

The top 10 Business Class products flying from Australia [2019] was last modified: August 13th, 2019 by Matt Moffitt