Priority Access through Customs and Security
Breakfast in Qantas Business Lounge in Sydney, including barista coffee and fresh pancakes
Excellent lie flat seats, allowing a proper nights sleep
Good selection of Australian red, white and sparkling wines
Selection of International and Australian beers
Snack menu for hot meals outside of the main breakfast/dinner serving windows
Access to the Qantas lounge at LAX between flights, with complimentary showers, drinks, snacks and WIFI
Extra service and attention from the cabin crew
Far thicker and warmer blankets and pillows then offered in Economy class
Noise cancelling headphones
Increased bag allowance
In-flight entertainment screens/systems are as unreliable in Business as they are in Economy
Qantas Business Class Review - Sydney to New York via LAX
My wife and I got to experience how the other half live in 2010 when we flew Business Class from Sydney, Australia to New York via Los Angles with Qantas on QF107. Our business class experience began as soon as we arrived at the airport, with a dedicated check in line having our bags and us checked in quickly. We were then given tickets for priority access to expedite our process of clearing both Australian Passport Control and then security.
After my wife picked up the obligatory bottle of perfume from duty free, we ventured to the Qantas Business Lounge, where were able to enjoy a fresh batch of pancakes and barista made coffee as we waited for our flight to board. During our time in the lounge we were able to catch up with the latest news with that morning's newspapers and access the Internet via the lounges complimentary WIFI while we admired the view of the Sydney CBD from the panoramic windows in the lounge.
Before long an announcement within the lounge informed us that it was time to leave and board our plane. After a short walk from the lounge, we walked straight to the front of the First/Business class line and were guided to our wonderfully large business class seats, located on the lower bay of the Qantas 747-400. It would have been nice to have been on one of the new Qantas A380's, but unfortunately our flight was on the older 747.
The flight from Sydney to Los Angeles started badly for the poor lady sitting across from us when the flight attendant accidentally spilt a drink all over her before we had even taxied away from the terminal. We both decided not to put on the Qantas issued pyjamas mainly because no one else in the cabin was putting them on, but in hindsight this was a mistake on my part when I spilt a good chunk of the beautiful lunchtime red curry over the shirt I would have to wear for another 24 hours!
We both enjoyed the cream of broccoli soup for entree, as mentioned my shirt and I enjoyed the red chicken curry main while my wife devoured the roast beef and potatoes and then macadamia and vanilla ice-cream with chocolate sauce. I washed this all down with a bottle of St Hallets Shiraz.
It was then time to lie the sky beds flat and while away the time with a combination of in flight entertainment, angry birds and books on the iPad and some much needed sleep. My wife was able to find 2 recent release movies in the in-flight entertainment system that kept her entertained before she used the controls to turn the seat into a flat bed, where she managed to squeeze in a solid 7 hours of beauty sleep, and even though she can sleep anywhere and is barely 5ft tall and therefore can't reach the seat in front of her anyway, she did admit that sleeping in business class is certainly a happy experience. The much thicker and better quality blankets and pillows that are offered in Business Class certainly help to make a big difference in comfort.
After watching 2 movies, I discovered that having my in ear noise cancelling headphones in with the Qantas over-ear noise cancelling headphones drowned out all aircraft noise, and with my eye patches on I managed to squeeze out 4 hours sleep. This is amazing for me, as I am never able to sleep on planes. Being able to fly effectively in a bed in comfort makes all the difference, and on long-haul flights where you need to hit the ground running at your destination I believe justifies the significantly higher cost by itself. Breakfast was of a comparable high quality to dinner, with a choice of hot and cold breakfast options being available, as well as surprisingly drinkable coffee and juices.
In what felt much quicker than the 12 hours it had taken so far, it was time to return the seats into the upright position as we commenced our decent into LAX. We couldn't see anything as we came in due to the low level cloud but we safely landed on time after 13 and a bit hours. Ours was the first plane of the day to land at the terminal and we were the first customers of the day for our surprisingly friendly but very, very dry TSA agent who let us into the country with a minimum of fuss. Our bags came out seconds after we arrived at the baggage claim. We were the 2nd people to clear customs where we weren't asked a single question nor were our bags checked at all and we were officially released onto US soil. We put our bags into the domestic transfer for our trip to NY and then had the surreal experience of walking through a people less terminal. We cleared security in seconds (It's amazing how much easier it is when there are no lines and the agents are in happy moods because they haven't had hours of dealing with people yet) and then straight to the lounge. The entire adventure from getting off the plane to getting to the lounge with all of those security check points was done in 20 minutes!
We had the lounge to ourselves on arrival. One massive annoyance was that although there was 3 different types of bottled carbonated water were on offer, plus 11 different soft drinks, 5 different juices and a variety of other exotic drinks, there was no still water available. That aside, we took advantage of the wonderful shower facilities, where the shower suite I was provided was larger than our hotel room in Sydney. After a very long, hot shower I felt like a new man and we sat down to wait for our connecting flight through to New York.
We were in the lounge for a little over an hour before it was announced that our flight was boarding. The leg from Sydney to New York is considered a single trip with a stop-over, all under the QF107 flight number. They use a different plane to fly the Los Angeles to New York leg, a Airbus A330-200, which although has the lie flat seats and is much newer, was not as nice as the 747 we flew the first leg on. The plane is not as wide and therefore they had had to put slightly smaller business class seats in. This decrease in width makes a big difference when trying to sleep lying flat, as there isn't the additional move to roll from your back to your side which makes the whole experience nowhere near as enjoyable, but still a million times better than being in Economy.
We departed on time and experienced great flying conditions, so good in fact that we arrived 30 minutes s early at JFK Airport, in a very pleasant 4.5 hours. My wife never feels great flying so she decided to sleep the entire journey, even electing to forgo the beautiful cheesecake with berries on the dessert menu. I was able to watch some more from the in-flight entertainment, after having to get the cabin staff to re-boot the machine for me and then lied the seat flat and caught up on 2.5 hours sleep. Being a domestic flight, it was pleasant to not have to traverse TSA again and we only had a sixty second wait for our bags before exiting the airport and making our way to Manhattan
The ability to achieve quality sleep on a long haul flight is worth the extra price to fly business class. It made such a huge difference to our holiday to be well rested after our 26 hours in transit and we were able to maximize our time in New York, instead of spending most of the first couple of days recovering from the flights. The quality of the food presented by Qantas was excellent, considering the limitation of preparing food on an airborne plane. The service was received from all Qantas employees was all excellent and friendly and it was a pleasure to fly with them
To read a full review of the Business Lounge in Sydney, please read my review Qantas Sydney International Business Lounge/Qantas Club review and my review of the Qantas Business Lounge at LAX.