Business class travel on domestic sectors in Australia, is not a major product offering from any of the domestic carriers. Many businesses travellers don’t consider it necessary because flight times between the major capitals in Australia are not that long. This, coupled with the excellent quality of service in economy, makes business class travel less attractive so carriers generally only offer about 12 business class seats.
Keep in mind that status with the Oneworld alliance airlines including Qantas, Cathay Pacific, British Airways and American Airlines, gives you advantages like seat selection at the front of the plane, or exit in rows at no extra cost, which make flying in economy on domestic legs not really that challenging.
The other point to consider is that flying domestic business class in Australia, if booked as a standalone ticket, is very expensive. The best way to take advantage of business class in Australia is to add it to an international business class flight. This way you generally pay hardly anything extra. Sometimes these combined tickets are the same price, or even less, than your international business class booking.
On the two domestic sectors I was flying Qantas business class from Sydney to Adelaide and then to Brisbane, after returning from a trip to Asia for work. I’d booked this flight with British Airways and so adding on business class flights in Australia hardly cost me anything extra at all.
After arriving from Singapore on British Airways you need to transit from the international terminal in Sydney to the domestic terminal. This requires using the transfer bus located on the arrivals level of Sydney International Airport where you clear customs.
Follow the signs which take you outside the terminal to the domestic recheck area. Here you will need to recheck your luggage for your domestic flight and then wait for the shuttle bus in the lounge nearby. If transferring from the domestic terminal to the international terminal you join the shuttle bus at the transit lounge near gate 15. This is a free service for Qantas and Oneworld passengers.
Once in the domestic terminal you can use the Qantas Business class Lounge (Oneworld Emerald members) or the Qantas Club (OneWorld Sapphire members), depending on your status, until your flight is called for boarding. All Qantas, JetStar and Qantas Link flights are called in the lounge.
Qantas business class on domestic flights consists of three or four rows at the front of the plane in a 2-2 configuration. The seats are leather, wider than economy with a little extra legroom, but certainly nothing special compared to international business class on most airlines. Where Qantas makes a difference is in the service that is provided, particularly the meals and drinks.
There is also a larger touch screen TV for viewing but the same programming offer is available as in economy. Headphones are provided which are marketed as noise canceling, but I found them really quite inferior compared to international business class offerings.
On morning flights breakfast is usually served. This generally includes a hot breakfast, juice, yogurt, bread and spreads. Brewed coffee and tea are also available.
The views coming in and out of Sydney are always spectacular and something not to be missed by any first time traveller to this part of the world.
On flights at lunchtime, or later in the day, a full meal is served. On my flight from Adelaide to Brisbane I was served meatballs which were quite tasty. They were served in a pesto sauce with a potato mash and sesame encrusted polenta.
After 12 noon Qantas serves complementary alcohol to business class passengers. The champagne was Grant Burge Pinot Noir Chardonnay which I had before the meal service. I paired my meal with a glass of the very delicious Tullock Shiraz; its strong oak characteristics blending well with the red meat in the pasta dish. I particularly love the peppery after notes of this Shiraz.
What really stood out for me though was the top-quality service on each Qantas business class domestic flight. The crew were clearly very experienced and focused on looking after each passenger as an individual. You were welcomed by name, regularly checked on, and had your glass topped up before it was empty.
In fact on my flight to Brisbane when I mentioned how much I had enjoyed the glass of red wine, and asked to photograph the bottle so I could look for it at my local bottle shop, the cabin supervisor insisted I take a bottle home with me. Now that is business class service!
Expert Traveller Recommends…
Adding a domestic business class flight onto your international business class booking to Australia is definitely well worth it. For very little extra cost, the benefits of the service, plus the food and the wine, makes Qantas domestic business class a stylish way to begin or end your international travel experience. However if you are solely travelling for business in Australia, I would say that the cost is quite prohibitive.