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The best seats in Business Class on Qantas' Airbus A330

By John Walton     Filed under: qantas, business class, a330, Airbus A330, best seats, worst seats

Travelling on one of Qantas' Airbus A330s for your domestic or international flight? We've got the best seats to pick on all four of Qantas' A330 configurations.

The plane

Qantas has four different layouts for its two types of A330. The "international" seat map is on its slightly larger A330-300, while the smaller A330-200 has three types of domestic configuration.

The planes are used internationally to Asian destinations Tokyo, Jakarta, Manila, Shanghai and Hong Kong, plus Singapore and on to Mumbai. It's also seen on the Sydney-Auckland-Los Angeles-New York run.

Domestically, you'll find it between Sydney and Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane, plus between Perth and Melbourne.

The Business Class cabin

Unsurprisingly, business is at the pointy end of each cabin layout. We'll call them:

  • International: ten planes, with five rows of seats in 2-2-2 layout (angled lie-flat Skybeds)
  • International two-cabin: four planes, with two mini-cabins containing a total of six rows of seats in 2-2-2 layout (angled lie-flat Skybeds)
  • Domestic single cabin: two planes, with one cabin of six rows of seats in 2-2-2 layout (business class recliners, not Skybeds)
  • Domestic "premium economy plus" cabin: two planes, with one cabin of six rows of seats that resemble long-haul premium economy seats in a 2-3-2 layout, although after passenger complaints the middle seat was covered with a table called "workspace", making it effectively 2-2-2 with less legroom and less comfortable seats

Seat types vary from international standard Skybeds through to the premium economy-style seats on two of the domestic planes.

The best -- and worst -- seats on the plane

With four different configurations, it's difficult to give hard and fast seat rules, but once you see the seat map for your plane you can pick seats according to a few rules. 

International

You'll spot this layout because it only has five rows of business class seats.

Pick seats as far forwards as you can. There's slightly more room in bulkhead row 1, but seats 1A, 1B, 1J and 1K are bassinet crib positions, so you may be bothered by an infant or moved to make room.

The lavatory is right in front of 1F and 1J, so pick seats on the other side of the plane if you're sensitive to noise or smell.

Aisle fans should go for the centre pair, E and F seats, since there's nobody climbing over you to get out.

Behind business class on this layout is a series of galley kitchens rather than economy, so you're likely to be bothered in-flight by cooking and chatting rather than noise from the back of the plane, but "as far forwards as possible" is the best advice here.

International two-cabin

You'll spot this layout because it has a total of six rows of seats across two cabins, with three rows in each cabin.

Row 4: bulkheads at the front of the second cabin with a bit more legroom, we reckon these are slightly better than Row 1 because they're further away from the lavatories, behind the first set of doors. On the downside, Economy is right behind row 6, and 4A, 4B, 4J and 4K are bassinet crib positions, so you may be moved for or disturbed by a baby.

Row 1: again, these bulkheads have more legroom. On USA flights, 1A and 1B are blocked off as crew rest seats, so don't pick these on those flights even if they're available. 1A, 1B, 1J and 1K are bassinet crib positions, but on a USA flight you're less likely to be disturbed.

3E 3F 3J 3K: seats F and K are designed to take child car seats, so if you pick any of these seats you may be moved to make way for a small child.

E and F seats: as usual in a 2-2-2 layout, these are best for aisle seat fans: nobody climbing over you.

Domestic single cabin

You'll spot this layout because it has six rows of seats in a single cabin, and there are E seats available to choose.

Again, as far forwards as you can. Economy is closer in behind business class, so it's even more important for an undisturbed flight.

Bulkhead row 1 has a fair bit of extra room, but again, seats 1A, 1B, 1J and 1K are bassinet crib positions, so you may be bothered by an infant or moved to make room.

Aisle fans are again best to pick E or F seats.

Domestic "premium economy plus" cabin

You'll spot this layout because it has six rows of seats in a single cabin, and there are D seats available to choose.

There's much less legroom on this configuration, so row 1 is particularly highly sought after. The bassinet crib here is in front of 1D and 1F, so go for 1A, 1B, 1J and 1K instead.

With less elbow room, passengers who'd like a bit more space to their sides should go for the D and F seats -- these are actually a row of 3 seats with the middle one blocked off and with a workspace table installed. There's nobody climbing over you, and you'll get a good amount more elbow room.

All in all, this layout is dreadful -- pay for business, but get premium economy! -- but fortunately there are only two planes with it in the fleet. Fingers crossed that these seats, which resemble Jetstar's old "Star Class" (which Jetstar is now cheekily selling as "business class") are off to the low-cost carrier soon.

Previously: 

Profile

About John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

 

Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 7/7/11 by am

With regards to the 2-3-2 business class planes (VH-EBO and -EBP) - it's really not dreadful at all. I didn't notice the reduced width of the seat when I got this configuration a couple of weeks ago flying SYD-MEL, and the legroom/feeling of space forward was way better than in the other 2 domestic birds. the headrest and lumpar support are both way better in these seats and the seatback IFE is great for shorter flights where you can just about squeeze in a movie if you start it straight after the safety demo. I was assigned 4K but moved to 1K in flight (to get a double seat to myself) and found that the knee room was better, but your feet had nowhere to go (no cutout in the bulkhead)... Of course, these seats a bit wider in true 2-2-2 would be better, but I still think it was an improvement on the previous product... I thought it would be bad, but waaaay better comfort. :)

1 on 7/7/11 by am

Also heads up - you've labelled "international two cabin" (so the A332s) as 'domestic two cabin" - if only these were domestic!!!

1 on 7/7/11 by John

Thanks for the catch -- and for the info on the "Jetstar Plus" layouts. I'll be interested to compare it to the new 737 business class on Virgin Australia, 

1 on 7/7/11 by am

Scored a ride on the BSI 738 with VA going SYD-MEL to try out the lounge :), and while I wasn't in J the seats didn't look as wide as the ones QF have in the 738s, but the armrests looked a bit wider. My guess is (and I don't have dimensions or anything) is that they're a similar width so would be much the same... 

 

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