While we’ve been bunkered down, the rest of the world’s still been spinning. But Australia has just had some great news: our international border is set to open in November.
Though there is still a long way to go before travel returns to ‘normal,’ many Australians, inspired by the latest news, are turning to their maps and throwing darts (if not literally, metaphorically); thinking about where we’d like to travel when they eventually can.
Speaking of cool new things to try: what are the best business class products to fly when travel comes back? To answer that question we did some digging – here are the top three business class suites Australians should try when travel returns, in our opinion.
Delta One Suites
If you like flying Qatar Airways’ business class on flights to Europe, then you should consider the US rival to Qatar Airways’ Qsuite – Delta One Suites – for your next flight to the US. Especially if you live in Sydney.
Delta One Suites are part of the suite-style of business class that made waves around the globe when it was popularised in 2017 (since then business class has started becoming less and less distinguishable from first).
Despite Delta One Suites not being as famous as the Qsuite, Delta remains a frontrunner in the business class suite space, and despite some teething issues which have been pointed out by some business class travel bloggers, it’s still one of the most under-rated business class seats out there.
Being a suite, you get to slide the door shut for privacy, lie-flat beds, bigger entertainment systems and signature Delta amenities like Westin Heavenly bedding and designer Alessi service-wear. The seats are also staggered so that when you look to your left or right you don’t see your neighbour.
Speaking of this, the suites are set up in a 1-2-1 configuration. The suites are 21-24 inches wide and the fully flat bed is 79-81 inches long.
Delta One Suites are available on Delta’s A330 Neos, A350s and select retrofitted 767’s.
At the time of writing, return Delta One Suite fares from Sydney to LAX in February are going for $11,932 for a return flight (on Delta’s flagship A350).
Flights to LAX with Delta One Suites are also available from Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane (though you’ll have to fly to Sydney first).
ANA ‘The Room’
ANA was the first Japanese airline to start offering the staggered seat arrangement business class travellers now expect from a premium product. This smart setup gives you direct aisle access no matter where you are seated, and the spacious room means you can sleep, eat, enjoy yourself, or work in supreme comfort. The seat in ANA’s ‘The Room’ has a sumptuous pitch and a footrest that can be adjusted to four different heights. Oh and instead of a seat you have more of a sofa/bench.
The Room is also equipped with a large 12.1-inch touch-panel LCD monitor, a large table, a personal reading light, a universal power port, and USB port. Some travel bloggers call it the best business class seat in the world due to how spacious it is. Whether that’s an overblown claim or not, what’s not up for debate is that this is an excellent dark horse to try.
Sydney to Tokyo, when travel gets back to normal, is a route with an abundance of direct ANA flights. To try The Room though you’ll need to continue your trip to London or New York (from Tokyo), as these are the routes which are flown by ANA’s upgraded Boeing 777-300ER flagship jets (which has The Room).
Qatar Airways Qsuite
With one of the best-known business class seats in the sky, you could be forgiven for worrying Qatar Airways’ Qsuite is all just hot air. But then you sit down, bottom cupped in ergonomic ecstasy and champagne fizzing on your tongue, and you realise they really can back up the claim.
Qatar Airways offers both aft and forward-facing seats, as well as ‘quads’ – a private space perfectly adaptable for those travelling in groups. The airline has also partnered with two Italian luxury brands BRIC’s and Castello Monte Vibiano to design an amenity kit that is made to ensure that you arrive fresh faced at your destination, and single travellers will enjoy their private suites.
In four words: the suite of suites.
Qantas A330 Business Class
Though there are many awesome business class offerings that will take you to Europe, you’ve probably heard of all of them before. We hardly need to extoll the virtues of Qatar Airways, Etihad or even Singapore Airlines’ business class products.
Enter: the (relatively) recently refurbished Qantas A330, which we reviewed in 2019 (when it really was new) and which, despite being around for a few years now, hasn’t been experienced by as many Australian travellers as it could have, thanks to the pandemic.
The old Boeing 737s that previously serviced the Sydney to Denpasar route were re-routed around 2019. From that moment (up until COVID throwing the whole industry a curve ball) if you were flying to Bali with Qantas from Sydney you would have had the chance to try a swanky new business class on one of Qantas’ A330s.
Thanks to the A330’s 1-2-1 layout, every Qantas business class passenger on the A330 has direct aisle access – a feature the smaller 737’s lacked. Dubbed The Vantage XL, the seats on the Qantas A330 are made by the prestigious Thompson Aero Seating.
The new configuration (and style of seat) also gives you more space to store your belongings, eat, work and watch movies (on a larger 16″ inflight entertainment screen) with oodles of comfort and privacy.
This was a welcome development for customers travelling from Sydney to Bali of an evening (flights typically depart Sydney around 4:30pm and arrive in Bali at 9:30pm), giving them the opportunity to indulge in a pre-landing nap after their movie and dinner.
It was an even more welcome development for passengers who wanted to get some sleep on the overnight return QF44 trip – a flight which typically leaves Bali around 10:30pm (local time) and arrives in Sydney at approximately 6:30am.
Another bonus: the increase in the number of Business Class seats (the old 737’s had 12; the A330’s have 28) meant that there were more pointy end tickets available for travellers looking to use their Frequent Flyer points to get an upgrade on the A330 when travelling from Sydney to Denpasar.
Unfortunately, looking at Qantas’ flight schedule for next year, it appears the 737s are back on the job for now (for flights to Bali). The A330, however, will still be found on other Qantas routes and so is worth keeping an eye out for.
In a summary of its international restart plans Qantas has said: “From mid-December 2021, flights would start from Australia to COVID-safe destinations, which are likely to include Singapore, the United States, Japan, United Kingdom and Canada using Boeing 787s, Airbus A330s, and 737s and A320s for services to Fiji.”
“Qantas will extend the range of its A330-200 aircraft to operate some trans-Pacific routes such as Brisbane-Los Angeles and Brisbane-San Francisco. This involves some technical changes that are now being finalised with Airbus.”
Keep your eyes peeled.