Airline review: Qantas 747 business class, Tokyo (Haneda) to Sydney

THE ROUTE

QF26, Tokyo (Haneda) to Sydney

CLASS

Business class. Seat 16K (upper deck). Three classes offered: Economy, premium economy, business.

THE PLANE

Boeing 747-400.  Not the newest kid on the block but the 24-seat upper deck business section still takes a lot of beating.

LOYALTY SCHEME

Qantas Frequent Flyer (affiliated with One World).

DURATION

The scheduled flight is nine hours 30 minutes, departing at 10pm. We take off on time and, with favourable flying conditions, we are set for an arrival 30 minutes early. That's before air traffic control intervenes and we touch down right on time.

FREQUENCY

Qantas has just begun flying this daily service direct between Sydney and Tokyo's Haneda (Ha-nay-da) Airport. 

BAGGAGE

Business class passengers can check in three bags at 32 kilograms each. Carry-on is up to seven kilograms. The baggage allowance for economy passengers is two pieces at 23 kilograms each.

THE SEAT

Its functionality is easy with the TV screen in the armrest. I'm by the window and, with a seating configuration of 2-2, I have access to the sizeable storage bin alongside my seat. This more than compensates for having to step over my neighbour.

COMFORT

What really matters on a night flight is the fully flat bed and it makes all the difference. There's a mattress, light doona and pyjamas. 

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SERVICE

It's welcoming, generous and very Aussie. There's a bit of banter but the object of the exercise is to get those who want a meal fed and everyone off to sleep.  At least I gather that's the case as almost all the cabin lights are off before you can power up a laptop. Even the baby and toddler in the front row succumb to the silence of the night.

ENTERTAINMENT

Confession time: I didn't turn it on. But on the way over, fulfilled a promise to myself and watched The Second Best Marigold Hotel. This piece of perfect in-flight entertainment was among a wide choice of new and classic movies, TV programs and music.

FOOD

There aren't too many takers but chef Neil Perry's supper menu includes tuna tataki with radish, edamame beans and ponzu dressing, pan-fried gnocchi and miso glazed cod with Sekihan, or sticky red, rice. Burgers are always popular and tonight's Japanese version is toasted chicken teriyaki sandwich with wasabi mayo and cabbage salad. There's ice-cream and pear and pecan cake for dessert. Breakfast is best pre-ordered and, at my request, the crew kindly keeps a cheese plate from dinner for my morning meal. For those who want to skip dinner, a good option is to have one last fix of authentic Japanese food at one of the excellent restaurants and bars in Haneda Airport. 

LOUNGE

For Qantas passengers with access to a lounge, the airline is using the JAL facility. There's an air of Ikea functionality about it in the main area, where drinks and a range of food, from dumplings to Sichuanese mapo tofu and sandwiches are served, but head to the first floor to find a quieter, more relaxing area with cosier seating, massage chairs and booths with desks.

ONE MORE THING

This new route is part of Qantas' expansion to Japan. A new Brisbane-Narita service uses refurbished A330 aircraft with capsule seats in business.

THE VERDICT

Haneda Airport (20 kilometres from Tokyo CBD) is way more convenient than Narita (a distance of 77 kilometres) when travelling into the city and while the 747-400 isn't Qantas' sleekest offering, it's a very small price to pay for the convenience of the destination. 

Tested by Sue Bennett, who flew courtesy of Qantas.

See also: Flight test: United Airlines Economy Plus class
See also: Flight test: Emirates A380 economy class

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