As goes without saying, any seat in Qantas Boeing 737 Business is leaps and bounds above Economy on the same plane. But as frequent flyers come to discover, some seats are still better than others.

Whether it’s more room to stretch out or a better place to hang your tablet on longer flights, choosing one row over another can make a big difference to the travel experience. And if you’re peckish, it pays to know the pecking order at meal times – both in when you get your food, and what you can choose from.

I’m a regular flyer in Qantas Boeing 737 Business. After all, it doesn’t cost many points to book or upgrade on my usual treks from Brisbane to Sydney and Melbourne. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way.

Qantas Boeing 737 Business cabin
The seats might look the same, but the experience in each row can be quite different.

Qantas Boeing 737 Business: row 1

Yes, 1A looks great on a boarding pass – and on a plane, it doesn’t get much better than the lowest number combined with the first letter of the alphabet. But as with every row of Business on the Qantas Boeing 737, there are upsides and downsides.

Here’s where row 1 stands out and where alternatives might be better.

Pros of row 1 in Qantas Boeing 737 Business

  • When it’s time to dine, row 1 is almost always served first in Business on the Qantas Boeing 737. On short flights, that gives you more time to enjoy the meal.
  • You’re practically guaranteed your preferred meal choice due to being served first.
  • When you board, your seat is right there: you’ve already arrived.
  • Upon landing, you’re the first off the plane. That’s very handy when you’re racing off to take a connecting flight.
  • There’s nobody in front to recline their seat, giving you a great deal of space from take-off to touchdown.

Cons of row 1 in Qantas Boeing 737 Business

  • In Qantas’ Boeing 737 aisle seats (1C/1D), you’ll often be bumped by other passengers passing through the Business cabin, especially during boarding.
  • You can’t keep any bags at your feet for take-off and landing. This can be annoying if you’ll be watching your tablet until you’re at the gate: especially in the window seats.
  • The overhead lockers above these rows can be occupied by emergency equipment, which means storing those bags further back in the cabin.
  • There’s a storage pouch on the bulkhead wall, but it doesn’t hold as much as in the other rows.
  • When watching video content, you’re always staring downwards. That’s because there’s no tablet holder at a comfortable eye line, and on planes with TVs, the screen here folds up and sits just above your knees.
  • Have long legs? Given the bulkhead wall, you won’t be able to stretch all the way forward.

When I sit in row 1, and when I avoid it

  • I like row 1 on short Qantas Boeing 737 flights in particular. That’s thanks to being served first, and having the broadest choice of meals. The swift exit is also a winner if I’m landing and dashing straight to a meeting.
  • Qantas Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge members can select row 1 from the time of booking. All other flyers may be able to select a seat here from 80 hours prior to departure.
  • I avoid row 1 on longer flights where possible. Watching TV for hours on end while tilting my neck downward just isn’t a comfortable experience. Combine that with the limited space to stretch forwards, and the next rows become better on those longer hops.
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Qantas Boeing 737 Business: row 2

Ah, row 2, my favourite place in Qantas’ Boeing 737 Business cabin. While there are again pros and cons, I find row 2 gets the balance just right. Here’s why.

Pros of row 2 in Qantas Boeing 737 Business

  • Unlike row 1 in Business on the Qantas Boeing 737, there’s storage available beneath the seat in front. It’s also available for use from boarding until disembarking – handy for quickly stashing your tablet into your bag when you arrive at the gate.
  • With that extra space in front, there’s more room to stretch out. Given the positioning of the seat frames, the window seats (2A/2F) are the roomiest picks.
  • When you’re on the left in 2A or 2C, all the main meal options are usually still available when the trolley comes past.
  • You’ll either have a TV screen in front of you at the eye line, or a tablet holder in the same place. It’s much more comfortable on longer flights in particular.
  • The lockers above these rows aren’t taken up by other bits and pieces, so you can keep your bag close.

Cons of row 2 in Qantas Boeing 737 Business

  • If you’re on the right-hand side of Qantas Boeing 737 Business (2D/2F), you may not get a choice over your meal. As a crew member rudely snapped at me on a recent Sydney-Brisbane flight, ‘the choice is yes or no’. Hmm…
  • Unlike row 1, there’s a seat in front of you. Whenever that’s the case, it means somebody could recline. But of course, you can too.

When I sit in row 2, and when I avoid it

  • Row 2 is my favourite all-rounder, and 2A is my specific go-to. It’s got all the best features, with the only downside being the potential for somebody to recline in front. But hey, it’s Qantas Boeing 737 Business, so there’s still plenty of knee room.
  • If you have Qantas Gold status or above, you’ll be able to select row 2 from the time of booking. Other passengers may be able to select these seats from 80 hours prior to departure.
  • After that ‘choice is yes or no’ comment on my most recent voyage in 2F (2A wasn’t available), I’d consider choosing somewhere in row 1 under the same circumstances if I really wanted a choice over the meal.

Qantas Boeing 737 Business: row 3

That brings me to row 3. This is usually where travellers sit when flying Qantas Boeing 737 Business for the very first time. That’s because it’s the only row you can select from the time of booking, unless you hold high status with Qantas.

There’s nothing wrong with row 3: the physical seat is exactly the same as row 2. But here’s what you’ll notice as those journeys in Qantas Business become more frequent.

Pros of row 3 in Qantas Boeing 737 Business

  • Because you can see the whole Business cabin from your seat, row 3 provides the greatest sense of overall space.
  • On Qantas’ newer Boeing 737s with mood lighting, it’s in these Business seats that you’ll be able to enjoy it the most. It’s nice to see the lights turn orange to reflect a sunrise or sunset, or a calming blue while you’re cruising along.
  • If you’re a Silver or Bronze member of Qantas Frequent Flyer, it’s here that you’ll be able to select seats with a companion from the time you book.

Cons of row 3 in Qantas Boeing 737 Business

  • You’re among the last to be served food – or the very last, if you’re in 3F of Qantas Boeing 737 Business. Most of the time, this means there’s no choice over the inflight meal, so you take what you’re given. It’s not a problem if you pre-order a special dietary meal, though.
  • Because you’re the last served, you have the least amount of time to enjoy your meal. ‘Cabin crew, prepare for landing’ doesn’t come long after your meal tray has landed on short flights!
  • If privacy is your thing, these seats offer the least during the flight. Passengers here are easily visible to those sitting in Economy on the opposite side of the cabin.
  • Because these seats are always open for selection by all, you’re more likely to have a neighbour when flying solo. That’s because somebody who can only choose row 3 will think the cabin is full, and make their aisle or window selection from what’s available here at the back.
  • There’s a small privacy partition mounted to the ceiling between Business and Economy. When you’ve reclined your seat, it’s easy to hit your head on it when standing up. Ask me how I know! (Ow…)

When I sit in row 3, and when I avoid it

  • If there’s already somebody on each side of row 2 and I’m flying solo, I’ll usually take my chances on having a spare seat beside me in row 3. After all, that’s better than guaranteeing I’ll have a seatmate by deliberately choosing a spot next to an occupied seat further forward.
  • Seats in row 3 can be selected by all travellers, regardless of frequent flyer membership or status. If you’re not a Qantas Gold member (or higher) and are travelling as a pair, booking early and choosing seats in row 3 means you’ll be able to secure something together.
  • If I’m travelling at a main meal time, particularly on a shorter flight, row 3 would be my last pick. Likely having no choice over the meal, and the time it takes for it to arrive, don’t endear me towards these seats.

Summing up

Again, any seat in Qantas Boeing 737 Business is a good seat – especially when compared to Economy just behind. In fact, the ‘worst’ seat in Business will still be leaps and bounds better than the ‘best’ in Economy.

For many travellers, simply being able to fly Business will be reward enough. Turning those hard-earned Qantas Points into a comfortable flight, or splashing cash on the same, is still a pleasant way to fly.

But when you fly Business regularly – as many Qantas status-holders do – you start to notice the subtleties. Each seat and each row is different: and there are trade-offs with choosing each one.

As for me, you’ll find me in 2A. If I’m anywhere else, somebody beat me to it!

All photography by Chris Chamberlin, from journeys taken at Point Hacks’ expense and his own expense.

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Best seats in Qantas Boeing 737 Business: should you choose row 1, 2 or 3? was last modified: December 9th, 2022 by Chris Chamberlin