Best seats: Qantas Airbus A330-300 Business Suite international business class

Best seats: Qantas Airbus A330-300 Business Suite international business class

Qantas’ upgraded Airbus A330-300 jets featuring the airline's flagship Business Suite business class seats are now seen on most international routes from Australia to Asia, so here's how to choose the best seat for your next flight.

(Domestic flights on Sydney-Perth, Melbourne-Perth and Brisbane-Perth transcontinental services, along with some east coast ‘triangle’ routes such as Sydney-Melbourne, will run on Airbus A330-200 jets – click here to discover the best Business Suite seats on those aircraft.)

Read the AusBT review: Qantas Airbus A330 Business Suite

The international A330 Business Suite is identical to its domestic cousin, with two exceptions.

Firstly, the international seat is covered in covered in cloth while the domestic versions are clad in leather.

The international seats also have a slightly greater recline in the taxi, take-off and landing position: you'll get a snooze-friendly 7 inches, equivalent to 25 degrees, compared to 5 inches or 21 degrees on the domestic models.

"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.

The Qantas A330-300 business class cabin

The A330-300's business class cabin contains seven rows of seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.

All business class seats on the Qantas A330-300 are contained within a single cabin, unlike the smaller A330-200 which splits them across two cabins.

The solo window seats are labelled as A and K, with the paired centre seats marked as E and F.

The 1-2-1 layout of the Business Suites gives every passenger direct aisle access, but the actual physical location of each seat is typically offset compared to the rows in front and behind. This makes it crucial for fussy frequent flyers to know exactly which seat they’re getting.

If you want an A330 Business Suite that’s directly next to the window so you can fully enjoy the view, ask for seats 2A, 2K, 4A, 4K, 6A or 6K.

However, because this puts the Business Suite’s side table between you and the aisle, amply-built ‘passengers of size’ may find it less than comfortable moving from the seat to the aisle and vice versa.

All other ‘window’ seats have the Business Suite’s side table situated between you and the window, while you’re in fact sitting right next to the aisle: those seats are 1A, 1K, 3A, 3K, 5A, 5K, 7A and 7K.

Not too fussed about being near a window? The A330-300 also has seven pairs of middle seats.

None of those double seats are directly next to one another, so the Business Suite isn't really designed for couples who want to fly together and fully share the journey.

One seat in each pair is located directly next to the aisle – those are 1E, 2F, 3E, 4F, 5E, 6F and 7E, as indicated below...

... while the other seat has a side table between the seat and the aisle (1F, 2E, 3F, 4E, 5F, 6E and 7F).

The first and last rows in the A330-300's business class cabin are likely to be subject to noise, light and activity from the front and rear crew areas, which could be especially bothersome if you’re trying to sleep on an overnight flight.

As with the Qantas A330-200, there are baby bassinet mounts directly in front of seats 1A and 1K.

Seats 7F and 7K are also directly ahead of the second business class toilet, so those seats would be the very last on our list.

It’s also been suggested to AusBT that left-handers may find it more convenient in seats where the side table is to your left, and right-handers where the table’s at the right of the seat.

If that’s so, then note that the more southpaw-friendly seats are 1A, 2E, 2F, 2K, 3A, 4E, 4F, 4K, 5A, 6E, 6F, 6K, and 7A; every other seat is subtly geared more for righties.

Click here to download Qantas’ reconfigured A330-300 seatmap [1.8MB PDF] 

Also read:

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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.
 

7 comments

  • gippsflyer

    gippsflyer

    11 Jan, 2015 09:51 am

    Using fabric on the International A330-300 Business seat (the A330-200 business seats will stay leather) is a positive move, even though it may increase cleaning requirements between services for Qantas. After all, Qantas do fabric for First (and it's one of the things I appreciate about Qantas' version of First), as fabric just breathes better (even if may not have quite the same élan as leather - but then you spend more time sitting on your seat than admiring it). Obviously the more frequent turn-around of domestic services made it hard not to use low-maintenance and easy cleaning leather, but for long haul, seat comfort becomes more important (and there is more time available for cabin cleaning).

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  • JBH

    JBH

    12 Jan, 2015 09:28 pm

    small but important point re: left/right handers - thanks David

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  • jpm

    jpm

    22 Jan, 2015 12:24 pm

    Is there some way of knowing which QF flights will use the planes with the new business class? I have a to book a MEL-PER flight for the start of February and I'd like to try out the new business class cabin. I rang and asked the Qantas FF department, but they couldn't help me. Any ideas?

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  • Annie Evans

    aussieviking

    25 Mar, 2015 07:27 pm

    This configuration is not very friendly for two people travelling together wanting to be able to communicate with each other when sitting in the middle seats because of the non-removable screen. However, it looks like a better bet might be if one person books the middle seat facing directly to the aisle and the other person books the window single seat also with the seat directly facing the aisle in the (almost) same row. I have noticed that on one (only) side of the aircraft these two seats are quite close together when in the same row. When on the other side of the aircraft this matching does not happen directly,  so the seats mentioned above are further apart. Has anybody tried this out?

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  • jon1

    jon1
    Banned

    31 Jan, 2017 06:48 pm

    Hi aussieviking.  I too was just wondering about that. Perhaps for example Window seat 5A and seat middle cross from the aisle 5E could be as close to each others if not close enoguh to see each others for couples perhaps?  I can see that the middle seats on the plane left and right both may be close but it has a wall on the side unable to see each others. While the one ive mention you can look on the side and you can see your partner/love one. But yeah it looks like its really not design for couples on business class. So im yet to hear from other peoples experiences with this. Just so i know what im getting. First time to hop on a business class  in the near future as interest.
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  • Ben Hamilton

    benzqn

    30 Mar, 2015 08:55 pm

    Did anyone notice the recent double in price of business class on MEL-PER?  Is anyone actually paying this?  I regularly fly MEL-SIN (twice the flight time ) on BA, QF, EK, SQ for the same or less.  I don't even know know which QF flight has new biz class!   Is it just me?

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  • Longreach

    Longreach

    24 May, 2017 04:57 pm

    Any recommendations David, for father and daughter travelling together BNE-SIN and return? Side by side (nominally in the middle but apparently far apart), one in front of the other on the side of the aisle, staggered between side and middle, or cattle class, which by all accounts is really appalling, but at least you can sit side by side.

    On the way up you'd like to talk, while on the SIN-BNE leg you'd rather nod off after a while.
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22 May, 2019 01:07 am

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