Every week, Australian Business Traveller brings you road-tested analysis of the best seats to pick on the aircraft you're most likely to fly.
This week: Qantas' business class on the four-class extended-range Boeing 747-400ER, which the airline is using on its Sydney-Dallas/Fort Worth-Brisbane flights, QF7 and QF8.
The plane also flies other long-distance routes, including Sydney-Buenos Aires and from Sydney & Melbourne to Los Angeles.
Qantas has six in its fleet, and is the only airline that bought the long-range version of the plane from Boeing.
Other Qantas Boeing 747s are outfitted differently, including the two-class version that flies between Sydney and Perth.
The Business Class cabin
There are 52 business class seats on the plane, and all are Qantas' first-generation Skybed, which only reclines to an angle rather than going fully flat like the second-generation Skybed on the Airbus A380.
Why are the fully flat versions better? Don't miss our article on the Lie-Flat Lie.
Business class is spread out over three cabins: 24 seats in the smaller, more private upper deck; 28 seats immediately behind first class, and 14 seats further back in front of Premium Economy.
Upstairs, it's a 2-2 configuration (with an extra storage bin next to the window), while in the small cabin behind the nose there's a 2-3-2 layout: seats A & B next to the left window, then D, E and F in the middle, then J and K by the right window.
Each seat is 21 inches wide, with 60 inches of pitch -- that's "your space" on board, between your seat back and the seat in front. There's an on-demand entertainment system with a small TV screen and an AC power point.
The best seats on the plane
Row 16: these four seats upstairs are just behind the emergency exit, so have extra legroom. The entertainment monitors are in the armrests (and not on the seatback in front), which makes bedtime viewing a little easier.
Row 11: still on the upper deck, these seats also have more legroom and TVs in the armrests, but the loo is in front of 11J and 11K, which could be noisy. Those seats are also the bassinet crib position for infants.
Rows 12-18: the rest of the upstairs cabin is better than anything downstairs: no middle seats and a quieter cabin. There's less air noise the further back you go in the cabin, but avoid row 18: it's got the galley kitchen, lavatory and closet behind it.
Row 23: if you're tall, the front row of the section behind the nose cabin is a good choice, especially in seats 23A, 23B, 23J and 23K, which are by the windows. (However, these seats are bassinet crib positions, so you may be moved to make way for an infant, and it may be a little noisy.) Avoid 23E, which is a middle seat.
Row 29: like Row 23 except further back, these seats are over the wing so the view from 29A and 29K will be less interesting.
(Avoid 29E, which is also a middle seat. But these are immediately in front of the wall between Business Class and Premium Economy, which means the cabin is likely to be noisier.)
The worst seats on the plane
Row 30: the very last row in business class, these seats are likely to experience significantly more noise than elsewhere.
Row 26: at the back of the larger main deck cabin, these are right in front of the galley and bar area, although there's a bit of space between that should deaden the noise a little.
E seats in any row: avoid the middle seats downstairs if you can, so you won't need to clamber over anybody.
- Business Class on Malaysia Airlines' A330
- Business Class on Etihad's A340-600
- Business Class on Emirates' A380
- Club World (Business Class) on British Airways' 747
- Business Class on Singapore Airlines' A380
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.