10 things you didn't know about the new Qantas Business Suite

10 things you didn't know about the new Qantas Business Suite

The Qantas Business Suite is all the buzz with Australia's business travellers, and with good reason – it's a revolutionary leap forward for domestic and international flights on the Flying Kangaroo's Airbus A330 fleet.

We've already presented a 'deep dive' on the details of the seat, but here are ten things that you probably don't know about the next-gen seat – including a lot of information that wasn't in the official Qantas press release. 

1. About that 'gate-to-gate' recline

One unique trait of the Business Suite is that it can partially recline for taxi, take-off and landing (the aviation geeks call this TTOL).

You can't drop it into flat-bed mode until the plane reaches level flight – but you can hit a button on the control panel to angle the seat back and swing the legrest up as soon as you board the plane.

Here's how the seat is shaped in its gate-to-gate recline mode.

The actual degree of recline varies between aircraft: the Airbus A330-200 used on domestic routes will have a 5 inch recline, equivalent to 21 degrees. On the international A330-300 jets you'll get a more snooze-friendly 7 inches or 25 degrees.

"Slight nuances between the domestic and international configuration means that the gate-to-gate recline position for take-off and landing are pre-set slightly differently," Qantas tells us – indicating that the longer business class cabin of the A330-300 makes for a bit more room between the suites, in turn allowing for that extra recline.

If you want to really maximise your sleep, your Business Suite can not only be pre-reclined before you board but also be dressed with a mattress.

With Singapore-Sydney flights around the 7h30m mark, for example, everything you can do to snare more sleep – and everything the Business Suite can do to help in this regard – is a win.

2. There's a lap-sash seatbelt

A key safety measure for the gate-to-gate recline is a three-point seatbelt similar to what you wear in a car (and in the first class seat on Qantas' Airbus A380).

An over-the-shoulder belt combines with the waist-height belt for additional extra restraint during the take-off and landing stages, and can withstand the 16G forces exerted in what is classified as a 'survivable accident'.

3. The seat width varies

So just how wide is the Business Suite? It depends on where you're sitting.

Some Business Suites have a seat width of 23 inches, others give you 24 inches; and not all of the suites can drop their armrest to gain an extra two inches in bed-mode.

Qantas hasn't yet released a seating chart for the new A330s, but here's what savvy travellers (and plus-sized passengers) will need to know in order to choose the best seat.

The Business Suites follow a 1-2-1 layout so that every passenger has easy access to the aisle, but some seats are directly next to the aisle while others have the side console positioned between them and the aisle.

With 28 Business Suites in each A330 (domestic and international) that'll mean seven rows of 1-2-1, with each row alternating in the actual location of the seats.

One row of 'window seats' has your armrest next to the window,  with the console between you and the aisle.

The row behind flips that – the console is next to the window while the armrest is adjacent to the aisle.

Got that? Now here's the cheat sheet.

1. Those seats which have the armrest directly on the aisle are 23 inches across when you're sitting or reclining, and the armrest can be pushed down into the seat's shell to deliver an effective 25 inch width as a lie-flat bed.

2. The seats with the console next to the aisle are also 23 inches wide but the armrest remains raised when the seat becomes a bed.

3. If you're seated in the middle pair of Business Suites the armrests are also locked in place, but the seat itself is a slightly wider 24 inches in both 'seat' and 'sleep' modes.

Armed with this knowledge, once Qantas releases a seat map for the new domestic and international A330s you'll be able to 'decode' this to directly identify the '23 inch, 24 inch and 25 inch' seats.

4. Privacy plus

Unlike the sliding screen between business class seats on the Qantas A380, the panel on the paired middle Business Suites (the '2' in that 1-2-1 configuration) is fixed in place.

That's probably not as bad as you think, given that no two Business Suite seats are smack next to each other.

5. New interface for video screens

The refurbished A330s will get a new inflight entertainment system from tip to tail with touchscreens for all Business Suites and economy seats.

Those screens will sport an all new finger-friendly user interface which bears more than a passing resemblance to Windows 8 with several different-sized 'tiles' displaying the latest movies and TV shows, popular programs, flight information and more.

We've seen a preview of the system ahead of its early November reveal and it's very slick.

6. Lighten up (nor not)

The Business Suite is littered with small but clever touches. One of these is the small sensor mounted atop the video screen, which monitors the ambient light in the cabin and automatically changes the screen brightness accordingly.

Of course, you can always over-ride that to dial the brightness up or down with the touchscreen or handheld controller.

7. "Now where did that passport go?"

Hands up if you've ever lost a precious pen, an iPhone or even your passport in that slim gap between the cushion and the armrest? It's not fun for you, the crew or even for the engineers who sometimes need to be called in!

There'll be no emergency rescue operations on the Business Suite, however, as it has a small piece of netting stretching from under the edge of the seat to the sidewall to catch those wayward bits of kit.

8. Do Not Disturb mode

The Business Suite's 'Do Not Disturb' mode will be especially handy for those overnight flights from Asia back to Australia.

Tap the button on the control panel and a small but noticeable indicator on the side of your suite lights up, alerting the crew to let you snooze (or work) without interruption.

9. Mirror mirror, on the wall...

Here's another of those little flourishes which shows how much thought has gone into the design of the Business Suite.

Flip open the panel covering the handheld controller and you'll spy a compact vanity mirror concealed in the underside of the lid – perfect for a quick pre-landing touch-up of your lipstick, eyeliner or hair without having to queue for the loo.

10. New Kate Spade amenity bag

Also on show at this week's reveal were the new edition amenity kits to be handed out on international flights.

The ladies will get this colourful eye-catching Kate Spade bag.

The blokes will be handed a more subdued Jack Spade bag in the same mostly-grey design as before, but with a red stripe.

(Beyond the toiletries in the kits, we've found these bag are great for toting those large 6 inch smartphones as well as the usual assortment of USB cables, memory keys and what-not.)

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

39 comments

  • fxdxdy

    fxdxdy

    23 Oct, 2014 09:38 am

    David,

    At the top of the large space under the table and near your feet is a metal box with a tab that says 'Pull'.

    What is that for? I haven't seen it open in any photos. 

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  • eminere

    eminere

    23 Oct, 2014 09:53 am

    Life jacket?

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  • fxdxdy

    fxdxdy

    23 Oct, 2014 10:20 am

    The life jackets are in the black box and the very bottom, near the floor.
    I am thinking of the silver box that is under the table. 

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  • standby

    standby

    23 Oct, 2014 02:15 pm

    The small one under the table is for the life jacket. The other one near the floor is additional stowage, perhaps for shoes

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  • fxdxdy

    fxdxdy

    23 Oct, 2014 02:20 pm

    Oh right, gotcha.
    So only 1 person gets the 'black compartment'

    Lucky them. 

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  • am

    am

    23 Oct, 2014 05:05 pm

    Both contain life jackets. The one just beneath the console is for the seat directly on the aisle while the one near the floor is for the seat with a console on both sides.

    There will (presumably) be space for shoes beneath the ottoman.

    Question for David - is the position of the TV screen adjustable? I only ask because one of the press photos appeared to show the screen protruding above the shell of the seat, much higher up than the standard position in the photo here. Would be great for the taller among us if it does. 

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  • tonywills

    tonywills

    23 Oct, 2014 10:23 am

    Delta cost to coast 767 but with ugly wood grain

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  • chrisjrn

    chrisjrn

    23 Oct, 2014 10:28 am

    So part 1 says that the A330-200 seats have a lower pitch than the A330-300 seats. What's the actual difference in pitch?

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  • smit0847

    smit0847

    23 Oct, 2014 10:51 am

    What would be REALLY cool with that partial recline for take-off is if you set it to partial recline before taking off and then when the seatbelt sign went off after takeoff the seat automatically fully reclined. That way if you dozed off during take-off you could sleep right through.

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  • Oliver menkens

    ollie117

    23 Oct, 2014 10:54 am

    this is going to be a good product well done qantas 

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  • Kerry Neilsen

    KerryN

    23 Oct, 2014 12:12 pm

    We have booked with Qantas business from Brisbane to Hong Kong next March, on 330.300, is there any chance we will get the new business suite, everything crossed but not hopeful..??

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  • Al Glidden

    AlG

    23 Oct, 2014 05:11 pm

    Your guess is as good as anybody's, Kerry, at this stage.

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  • Hugo

    Hugo

    23 Oct, 2014 02:17 pm

    Can we tone down the ridiculously clickbaity headlines? 

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  • Mal

    Mal

    23 Oct, 2014 05:10 pm

    Yes, because we all want boring headlines :P

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  • watson374

    watson374

    23 Oct, 2014 08:44 pm

    Readers Prefer Boring Headline: POLL

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  • Hugo

    Hugo

    24 Oct, 2014 12:46 pm

    You Won't Believe What This Amazing Poll Says About Readers!

    One Weird Trick Discovered By A Mom To Make Readers Click On Your Headlines!

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  • watson374

    watson374

    24 Oct, 2014 12:59 pm

    "Can we tone down the ridiculously clickbaity headlines?" :P

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  • Joe

    Joe

    24 Oct, 2014 11:27 am

    Hope the seat designers are on top of these seats so they dont start sagging at footrest when in flat bed mode like the MKII seats on A380.

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  • watson374

    watson374

    24 Oct, 2014 01:06 pm

    If you put them on top of these seats there wouldn't be much room for yourself.

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    24 Oct, 2014 12:08 pm

    I wonder why Qantas elected/had-to have different widths/drop down arm configurations for the different seat positions? Unfortunately it looks like you always have to give up something - as I'd prefer a closest to the window seat (privacy), but with drop down arms (because fixed are annoying when in lie flat and recline) and with widest possible width for sleeping/seating (comfort). 

    Based on the analysis I'd probably elect to go the centre seat now, and just hope the other centre seat is vacant.

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  • undertheradar

    undertheradar
    Banned

    24 Oct, 2014 01:55 pm

    the model is manufactured by thompsonaero(.com) ..QF and any other airlines can only modify/customize to a certain degree, within the restrictions/dimensions/ base structure of the manufacturers model...plus all of this needs to fit into an aircraft fuselage which has a finite width and aisle width requirements...so QF are providing the best widths/space available to each seat 'config'

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  • undertheradar

    undertheradar
    Banned

    24 Oct, 2014 02:00 pm

    add on... fixed 'arms' on both side still gives an acceptable 24in width..in my opinion

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    24 Oct, 2014 02:32 pm

    Yes, in your opinion it's acceptable for one seat in the same cabin to have so and so width, another to have so and so width, and then another to have so and so width in seat/bed configurations. In my opinion (which I'm free to make for myself) I find that annoying and requiring me to really study seat maps/advice guides to find the seat that is the best compromise out of the various configurations. I like a seat that doesn't make me feel enclosed/cramped), offers privacy, and doesn't put seat arms in the way/in uncomfortable places when reclining or in bed mode - you may differ, but then I'm not picking my travel to suit anyone other than myself.

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  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    24 Oct, 2014 02:25 pm

    Is there any evidence that this is a restriction of ThompsonAero base model? These are, after all, marketed as "highly customised" versions of the base model by Qantas. Aisle width requirements might explain differences between centre and window seats, but not differences between seats within those columns. It's a bit of a glib response to my seeking to understand why three different settings.

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  • StA

    StA

    25 Oct, 2014 07:33 am

    I cannot speak for the seat manufacturer, but it would appear that there are structural elements underneath some arm rests and not others (namely those directly adjacent to the aisles). Underneath the 'console' or 'side-table' of each passenger is the feet compartment for the passenger behind. If all armrests can be lowered, the space of the feet compartment would have to be reduced. An interesting implication is that all seats in the last row of business class could potentially be much wider (at the shoulders) than other seats, a la Singapore Airlines business class, as there is no need to make space for seats behind. These could be offered to high status frequent flyers... But most likely the design and certification costs of the necessary modification would outweigh the benefit.
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  • David Flynn

    David

    25 Oct, 2014 10:40 am

    There are no sliding middle-seat dividers on the original Vantage XL or the SAS version (see http://www.ausbt.com.au/look-familiar-new-sas-business-class-seat-is-qantas-business-suite). It's simply not part of the design, because the flat wall next to Passenger A is the rear of the storage nook next to Passenger B.

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  • Flea17

    Flea17

    24 Oct, 2014 05:51 pm

    Hi

    if travelling with partner is it possible to have a conversation without getting out of your seat?

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  • chrisjrn

    chrisjrn

    24 Oct, 2014 06:59 pm

    Yes, but you'll need to take a centre pair -- half of the centre pairs are closer to the aisle (separate), half of them are joined together. Get a joined-together pair and it'll be easy to chat with your partner.

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  • planemad

    planemad

    24 Oct, 2014 06:21 pm

    Hello everybody! Is Qantas the first or have other airlines introduced the gate-to-gate recline???

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  • chrisjrn

    chrisjrn

    24 Oct, 2014 06:58 pm

    Virgin Atlantic and Air New Zealand both have gate-to-gate recline.

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  • planemad

    planemad

    25 Oct, 2014 05:17 pm

    Is that in Virgins Upper Class and ANZs Business Premier?

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  • chrisjrn

    chrisjrn

    25 Oct, 2014 05:33 pm

    Correct. They're the same seat.

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  • planemad

    planemad

    26 Oct, 2014 06:37 pm

    But Qantas is the first to not do it in the herringbone style?

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  • DHB

    DHB

    5 Nov, 2014 01:51 am

    With the understanding that Thompson is a product design company who  is the actual manufacturer as well as holder of the TSO on the seats?  Also, is the 3 point seat belt a required component in order to get the seat design to meet 16G to include row to row HIC certification requirements?

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  • Flea17

    Flea17

    16 Nov, 2014 08:27 pm

    What if you want to talk to your partner?

    what seating do you suggest?

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  • David Flynn

    David

    17 Nov, 2014 12:59 am

    Economy?

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  • fxdxdy

    fxdxdy

    17 Nov, 2014 07:38 am

    I think the idea is to take a well earned rest from your partner.

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  • Nicole Devitt

    Herbie

    4 Mar, 2015 08:18 pm

    Hi, can anyone help?? We are travelling to Hong Kong from Melbourne end of June 2015 flexible on dates. My husband has health issues and so we always fly first for flat beds so he can recline fully. As qantas have no first class now to Hong Kong I'm trying to ensure the new A333. I am happy to pay extra to ensure he will be in a new 1-2-1 configuration, does anyone know which flights operate the new planes or can anyone point me in the right direction. I appreciate they are subject to change but does for example QF 29 run the new planes.

    any feedback appreciated 

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  • David Flynn

    David

    4 Mar, 2015 10:32 pm

    Qantas hasn't scheduled any of the new A330s with the lie-flat Business Suites onto any Hong Kong routes at this stage. If you have to have a flat bed then your best bet right now would be Cathay Pacific business class.

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23 Jul, 2019 09:51 pm

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