Airline review: Qantas Airbus A330 business class

Our rating

5 out of 5

THE PLANE

Airbus A330, Qantas has 28 of these aircraft that have been reconfigured with new business class suites designed by Marc Newsom.

THE ROUTE

Bangkok to Sydney

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

Qantas Frequent Flyer (One World)

DURATION

7 hours 55 minutes

THE FREQUENCY

Qantas flies daily from Bangkok to Sydney.

THE SEAT

Business class, seat 4K, in a 1-2-1 layout. The newly rolled out business seats have a seat pitch of 31 inches  (78 centimetres) and width of 18.1 inches (45 centimetres). Seat back screen size: 11.1 inches (28 centimetres). The seat, by Thomson Aero Seating, also has a world-first "take-off recline" which allows you to kick back and relax during take-off and landing at a surprisingly supine angle.

BAGGAGE

Two pieces of checked luggage up to 40 kilograms, 52 kilograms for Qantas Club Silver members, 56 kilograms for Gold Frequent Flyers and 60 kilograms for Platinum One. Carry on is seven kilograms.

COMFORT

There is  no doubt that the reclined take-off is far better than remaining bolt upright, and with the addition of a fitted mattress it is very comfortable. There is a travel kit with the usual eye shades, lip balm and socks. A bottle of water sits on your spacious side shelf, there is a handy shoe compartment, and Qantas PJs are available. I do not sleep on flights, not even on the previous incarnation of business class, but this time the flat bed means I get quite a good night's sleep.

ENTERTAINMENT

Such a good selection of new release movies, from arty and gross-out comedy (for when the long-haul brain drain kicks in), that I make plans for what I will watch on the way back. Good selection of alternative music as well for when you tire of the flicks.

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SERVICE

From the pre-take-off bubbles to the in-flight meal, the service, from what looks like a quite senior crew, is as smooth as the bump-free flight.

FOOD

The Neil Perry-inspired menu does not hold back on the spice. I have a sweetcorn soup with chive creme fraiche to start, followed by a Siam perch in hot and fragrant sauce, squid ink noodles and gai lan. A couple of glasses of white wine pair well and I have no room for dessert despite the fact it sounds amazing (warm chocolate brownie with orange marmalade and vanilla ice-cream). Breakfast starts with a tangerine juice and I opt for a light fruit salad with yoghurt.

ONE MORE THING

The express lane immigration pass speeds things up but this flight still arrives at a time when customs is slammed.

THE VERDICT

Luxury in travel is always about the little things and a reclined take-off, seamless-yet-unobtrusive service and Neil Perry's uncompromising flavours make this a business class that stands out.

Tested by Paul Chai, who travelled courtesy of Qantas.

See also: First class vs business class: Why first class is on the decline

See also: World's best airline for 2016 named: Skytrax awards