Airline review: Qantas 747 jumbo jet business class, Melbourne to Los Angeles

Our rating

4.5 out of 5

Qantas staff go above and beyond to meet the needs of a fussy passenger in business class.

The plane

Boeing 747-400

The route

Melbourne to Los Angeles

The loyalty scheme

Qantas Frequent Flyer (One World alliance)

Class

Business, seat 14K (upper deck)

Duration

13 hours, 37 minutes

Frequency

Qantas flies Melbourne to LA 10 times a week, with daily A380 flights plus three evening services on 747s.

The seat

Seat 14K is on the upper deck, where there is a 2-2 layout. Business class on the lower deck is 2-3-2. The seat is 24 inches (61 centimetres) wide with a pitch of 60 inches (152 centimetres).

Baggage

Flights to the US have different baggage restrictions to other international routes. In business class it's three pieces up to 32kg each, with two carry-on bags up to 7kg each.

Comfort

Not only is 14K business class, but it's also exit row, which means even more leg room.

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The 747 seats aren't the newest in Qantas fleet (and the old jumbos will be getting replaced on some routes once the airline starts taking delivery of new 787-9 Dreamliners from 2017) but they do convert to an almost-flat bed and offer the shell design that provides privacy when sleeping. The crew puts a thin mattress on the seat  before I bed down for the night and Qantas still provides business passengers with those comfy pyjamas (when one passenger refuses them, the flight attendant suggests maybe he'd like to give them to someone as a gift, which I'm sure would be appreciated).

Entertainment

Qantas has always had a solid selection of movies and TV shows, but the recent deal with HBO means there's an abundance of quality television on board. The system now has its own HBO channel, featuring critically acclaimed shows like Game of Thrones, True Detective and many more. The touchscreen works well though my system requires a reset soon after take-off to get it working.

Service

The crew are friendly, chatty and attentive. I'm not a demanding passenger but my neighbour advises the crew that his simple tastes mean he doesn't like the look of anything on the Neil Perry-created business class menu. He just wants something simple (not even a chicken ciabatta is basic enough for him). The cabin manager raids premium economy and economy classes to find him something suitable and returns with some small hotdogs and hamburgers (possibly from the kids' menu). The passenger is delighted.

Food

The menu may not have suited my neighbour, but it looks great to me. I opt for asparagus soup followed by snapper with fennel and roast garlic potatoes, with a selection of cheeses for dessert. For breakfast it's toasted muesli with yoghurt, plus scrambled eggs and bacon on toast with roasted tomatoes and beans. Overall, the food is very good.

The lounge

The Qantas business class lounge in Melbourne is large. There's a sweetcorn soup, a curry and various salads and other snacks on offer, along with the usual beverage options. Wi-Fi is provided and there are numerous quiet desk areas for those needing to work.

One more thing

One of Qantas' selling points on this route is the timing – it's a 5.45pm departure (Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays), which means you can eat dinner at a regular time, sleep through the night and arrive in Los Angeles feeling refreshed.

Verdict

Melbourne to LA is an extremely long haul but one couldn't ask for a much more pleasant journey than this. In particular, the crew were highly impressive and pleasant, particularly in their efforts to meet the needs of that fussy passenger.

The writer travelled as a guest of Qantas.