What It’s Like to Fly Qantas Business Class

I have a new goal in life: to fly Qantas Business Class all the time, well at least for any long haul flight from Australia to another destination.

Hang on, that’s almost all international flights.

My other goal is to avoid LAX (Los Angeles Airport) at all costs. Does anyone else detest that airport?

We recently had the pleasure of flying to and from the USA in business for our visit to The White House travel summit. From Australia to the US is one hell of a flight when you’re in economy, with your knees up to your chin and three inches of space for your torso to sit within, sleep does not come easy.

But being upgraded to business class on both our flights from Sydney to Dallas, and then from LA to Sydney made a HUGE difference in the on board experience AND feeling refreshed once we arrived – it’s going to be hard to go back to cattle class!

woman sitting in a seat
Welcome aboard champagne

The flying kangaroo has always been our preferred airline since we were teenagers, and as we shared in this post we had a lot of Qantas frequent flyer points saved up which helped to reduce the cost of our economy class tickets for this trip to the States.

We’ve also partnered on campaigns with Qantas before.

Craig went on their amazing Great Crusade Rugby World Cup tour in 2011 and attended the Qantas and Emirates partnership launch in Dubai back in 2013.

So when they heard about our White House trip they kindly popped us on the standby list for business class upgrade and we crossed our fingers and toes hoping a seat would open up.

Simply being on the list was no guarantee of an upgrade, and on both flights, it wasn’t until the last minute when we handed over our economy boarding passes to the gate attendant that seats became available. JOY!

It’s like winning the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s!

Like winning the Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka's

Many people wonder and ask what it is like to fly business class, so here is a little rundown of it for you.

Access to the business lounge

Qantas Business Class Lounge in Sydney Airport

We had access to the business lounge before both our flights, which made the flying experience even more amazing. It’s a gentle easing into the flight with complimentary food and drink. And showers!

I needed the shower before our long flight to the US as we had flown the red eye before it from Perth with our kids, not much shut eye on that trip.

The Qantas lounge in Sydney was amazing – spacious, light, comfortable, modern and with nice views. I didn’t like the Los Angeles lounge as much. It was a little darker, smaller and a lot busier. The food also wasn’t as good or didn’t have as many options.

Thumbs up Sydney!

Qantas Business Class Lounge in Sydney Airport
Sydney Business Lounge

View from Qantas Business Class Lounge in Sydney Airport

But, LAX is my most detested airport in the world anyway, so I could have had jaded glasses on.

You’ll probably see some famous people

Champagne anyone? Why yes, we could get used to this! Once we got settled in our seats we were enjoying a glass of the bubbly and then we had another nice surprise.

Steve Waugh, former Australian cricket captain (one of Craig’s childhood sporting heroes) was on our flight going to the States. His family was seated behind us in business and he photo bombed our We made it to business class and are so happy photo!

Once he settled his family in, he took off to First Class, lucky bugger!

Qantas Business Class flight to the USA
Steve Waugh photo bomb

And then in the LAX lounge, there was some famous rapper. He looked familiar and walked with a swagger and then when I saw him escorted to the plane with his entourage and eye-goggling attendants, I knew he must have been someone important.

No idea who he was though. He had silver teeth caps!

Outstanding service

To be honest, I’ve always been happy with the service on Qantas flights even in economy, but being in business you get outstanding attention. And so you should for the price! Who doesn’t love their every whim catered for?

You don’t even have to ask for another glass of wine, they just keep topping it up, and if you’re not careful, you have a smile on your face for more reasons than one!

Be aware of this because you might go to move and suddenly realise you’re a lot tipsier than you thought. Weee!!

OF course, I’ll have a Baileys! Make it a double.

Excellent food

Business class food is like a fine dining experience.

I think I’m one of those weird people that actually likes plane food. It’s the experience of just devoting my time to eating and watching a movie and joyfully opening each container to see what surprise it holds – and of course we didn’t have the kids with us on this trip where dinner is hardly ever a relaxing experience!

You’re not disappointed in business class, it’s always good. On Qantas, Celebrity chef Niel Perry creates your amazing meals.

Our photos don’t do the food justice as the lighting was challenging.

A bowl of soup on a table

A plate of food on a table

A plate of food on a table

The seats on business class move

Not only can you lie completely flat with your seat to sleep, but you can recline it back to get comfy for a movie, or sit it back up to eat or type on your computer, or for reading a book.

And the seats are wide and comfortable. Just hit a few buttons until it moves into the position you want, without having to worry about encroaching on the space of the people behind you, you know, like when they have their tray table out and you want to sleep.

woman sitting on an airplane

You can lie down

Okay so this is the prime reason for taking business class on long haul flights – you have a bed!

Jet lag is killer, and flying business won’t necessarily get rid of it (you can see my secret tips for dealing with it here), BUT it helps as you can actually get a good night’s sleep – especially for Craig who CANNOT sleep in economy no matter what!

Now, the beds aren’t Westin Hotel plush comfortable. It’s still on a plane, so it’s a little harder than normal. But you actually get to lie flat and stretch your body out and have your own SPACE with no stranger resting their head on your shoulder.

Oh, and the little toiletry kit with socks helps you get all comfy and homey.

I had a seven hour sleep on both flights, and it’s the first time I’ve arrived in the US without feeling like a zombie.

If you can, try to time your sleep so that it starts to merge with the time zone of where you are arriving. It will help with your jet lag adjustment.

woman sleeping on an airplane
Apparently I missed the end of the movie!

Massage chairs

This sealed the I must fly business class all the time goal for me. The seat has a massage function!!!

I have flown business before on Delta and they did not have this. I almost squealed out loud and I had the massage function going for almost the entire 15-hour flight.

If I’m going to be picky, I’d say it could have been a bit harder, perhaps a deep tissue hardness would be good!

It was very soothing. When I was woken during the night with a little turbulence I whacked that straight on to calm me down.

You have more private space

This can be a good and bad thing.

It’s always nice to have your own space to just chill out and do what you want without having someone talk non-stop to you for 12 hours, or be stuck next to someone with a small bladder or bad body odour.

We even had a barrier that we could put up between Craig and I – it’s always great to be able to shut out your spouse when they annoy you! It’s much more chilled.

Qantas Business Class flight from LA to Sydney

How can you fly business class?

Well, you can simply pay for your tickets. Of course, it is a lot more expensive, but if you have the money why not? It’s my goal to get to that why not place!

You can use points to upgrade. We use ourAmerican Express Business credit card through the Commonwealth Bank to pay for everything, which gives us Qantas frequent flyer points. Gather enough of those and you might be able to upgrade or do points + pay.

Pray that lady luck shines upon you and you get a surprise upgrade. To be honest, I’m not sure these really happen anymore?!

Or, you could be fortunate enough to work for a company that will fly you business class. As happened when Craig worked for Delta and I scored a lucky standby seat. I can assure you, Qantas kicked their butt for quality and service. I was treated so rudely by the staff there. That is a story for another time!

TIP for Aussies flying to the US

If you are flying Qantas to the east coast of the States, or LA is not your final destination, we highly recommend you consider flying direct to Dallas instead. It walks all over LAX.

We were through customs in no time, you can just jump on a train shuttle to your connecting terminal and it just has a more pleasant atmosphere.

We regretted flying back home through LAX. It’s utter chaos. It has been years since I’ve seen lines so long, they were that long that we didn’t even have to take our laptops out of our bags or shoes off, they were just pushing people to get through the security.


And there are no interconnecting shuttles between terminals from behind security. We had to come out into the madness of the street scene that is LAX, walk to the Tom Bradley terminal, and then back through check-in and security again. Shuttle buses run every twenty minutes – but it was quicker to walk, and if we didn’t we wouldn’t have made our connection.

The laugh of the day came from the LAX sign that said LAX is happening.com with a trademark symbol!

They need to revisit what “happening” means!

Have you flown business class before? Share your experiences

What is it like to fly Qantas Business Class? Like this!

14 thoughts on “What It’s Like to Fly Qantas Business Class”

  1. I hate to say it, but I miss flying, if only for the upgrades to business class. 🙂 I haven’t flown business on QF in the past or on my RTW, but I had enough ‘we-love-you’ status to use any and all of the Oneworld lounges, including the beautiful one in SYD. I’m glad you both enjoyed QF business class!

  2. I used to fly business class on various airlines for work, and for 6 years used points or found deals to fly my family business class. But I got sick in 2010 and stopped working. I haven’t flown business class since mid 2010 and miss it. My now 11 year old daughter misses it too. I dropped from Qantas platinum to bronze, and not once did they ask why we weren’t flying with them any more. I used to do 2 overseas trips a year, plus lots of domestic travel. Basically all Qantas. They never asked why. We still fly overseas on an annual basis, mostly economy unless there’s a super deal such as Air New Zealand having an auction to upgrade your seats. We are flying Qantas overseas for the first time in 5 years in June, but sadly in economy having lost my platinum status.

  3. I have only flown long haul business class once and it was on a flight from Abu Dhabi to Brisbane on Etihad. It was brilliant! You actually get treated like a real person, you have heaps of space and I was on the window so I had no one sitting next to me because of how they configure their planes.

    The way I got it, and I have seen this on and Air NZ flights too, is that I actually put in a ‘bid’ to get upgraded. Basically they emailed me to see if I wanted to pay extra to upgrade and on which leg I wanted to do it. I put in the minimum bid of $900 and luckily got upgraded. I figured that if my overall ticket from Brisbane to London return was $2800 which included business class on the longest leg then I was happy.

    Unfortunately it was my last long haul flight and I came back saying I would never be able to travel economy again. I have another one coming up in August but I am hoping that I will have forgotten all about my business class experience by then 🙂

  4. Thanks so much for this post!
    I’m travelling to the US in Business this August and this made me so excited! (been saving QFF points for YEARS!). Oh, and I agree, LAX is the absolute worst!!

  5. I used miles to fly business class from New York to Melbourne. I was 18F flying from LAX to Melbourne! While it wasn’t my first time sitting out of steerage, it was my first time flying on the upper deck. I’m still amazed that airplanes can have staircases inside.
    Can’t say I was particularly thrilled with my dinner choice though.
    Benji and Joel Madden from Good Charlotte were on my flight. That would be Cameron Diaz and Nicole Ritchie’s husbands, respectively.

  6. I’m determined to one day fly business class! It looks and sounds so amazing, and above and beyond what you get in economy.

    Lizzy from Nomad Notebook

  7. I would love to fly business class one day and looking at flights to Asia with Qantas miles recently I found a deal where it would only cost $187 in taxes + 45,000 points one way! I think I will be booking that 🙂

  8. Business class is AWESOME! We managed to get enough miles to fly business class from Honolulu to Bangkok for less than the cost of an economy class ticket and it was fabulous! Like you, all I want is to be able to continue to do that for long-haul flights from now on – business class makes flying actually enjoyable again – bliss!!! 🙂

    Loved seeing the pics – you guys look like you really enjoyed the perks!

  9. Qantas is a much loved airline and its business class flying is wonderful. The business lounge is refreshing and cuts down boredom of waiting for flights for sure. You get complimentary drinks too. However, the USP of Qantas is their service and when you get upgrade to business class it is even better. Adjusting the seats for sleeping or catching a movie is within finger tips and their food is lip smacking good. Now the massaging feature of these seats is like icing on cake. It will take many first time fliers by surprise. I think using Qantas frequent flyer points to win upgrade to business class is the best option for most economy class users.

  10. Ronald Gruenwald

    Flew Dallas to Sidney in April on an upgrade. Loved it for such a long flight. Am on oxygen, this was a lifesaver for my journey. This was on an A-380, also excellent service I might add.
    Planning another trip flying to Singapore in 2020, for our 50th Anniversary.

  11. On booking my flight to Auckland in December, I took the plunge with the credit card and booked business class, never done it before, what the hell need a bit of luxury at my age and a need to arrive ‘fresh’ to play with the grandchildren. Virgin Atlantic London to Hong Kong – first the Virgin lounge at Heathrow so comfy, service food and drinks great. Straight onto the plane, seats in a herringbone pattern, converted into a bed, with duvet, pillows and oh so comfy pj’s. Service, food and drink (not to much) fantastic. Should have been flying Air New Zealand but due to time changes was put onto Cathay Pacific. Used the lounge Hong Kong, excellent showers, easy accessu to plane. Seat comfortable and converted to bed, staff excellent but food no better than economy, what a shame! Wouldn’t have missed the experience, maybe one day will do it again!!

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