Retro Qantas Business Class – 747-400 – MEL to HND

Retro Qantas Business Class (747-400) - MEL to HND

Overview:

After being spoiled by Qantas’ updated cabin on my flight from Auckland to Melbourne, I went back in time and experienced their older business class cabin on my flight from Sydney to Tokyo. 

Even with it being the dated cabin, I was still excited to be flying on the Queen of the Skies, the 747-400. 

Check out what the outdated business cabin is like and see if it’s worth it when flying Qantas on your next flight!

Flight Details:

  • Flight Number: QF25
  • Port of Origin: Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, Australia
  • Destination: Haneda, Japan
  • Flight Time: 8:47
  • Aircraft: Boeing 747-400 "Nullarbor"

Booking:

This flight was part of a quick seven day trip around the Pacific Rim! I booked a total of 7 flights for less than $1,100 and used some points along the way to get 3/7 flights in business class. Check out the full article here!

Lounge/Airport:

I had time to visit the Qantas Business Class lounge at Sydney Airport in the International Terminal. The lounge is on the second floor after passing security and duty free.

Qantas Business Class Lounge Entrance at Sydney Kingsford Airport

Upon entering, you’re welcomed by a large seating are and a modern looking bar with a chic design. The bar has a few different mini-wine bars that have self-serve wine available along with a barista station for hand crafted coffee.

The lounge is very linear and runs from one side to the other without much depth. To the right, after entering the lounge, is seating with what seems to be a meal area. This area was closed at the time of my visit which was around 7pm. To the left, is more seating with the main food area.

This included multiple hot plates along with cold dishes, soup, espresso machine, and alcohol including wine, champagne, beer, and liquor.

Although there was an abundance of seating, there was a shortage of power supply. The only power plugs I was able to locate were along the back wall and were very limited.

In all, the lounge is a great offering. It has plenty of seating and food options. Additional power sources would be nice to have but hopefully your flight has power, or you have a battery pack.

Boarding:

Qantas 747-400 "Nullarbor"

I got to my gate about 40 minutes prior to official departure and there were some delays which pushed boarding back another 10 minutes. After this small delay, pre-boarding began, and never seemed to end. There were a ton of small kids and families pre-boarding which added another 5+ minutes. Finally, first class, business class, and premium economy could board.

 

After making it through the line, the rest was easy. Thanks to the wide-body 747, passengers diffuse quickly making boarding quick. I scurried up to the top deck to get to my seat.

Stairs to Upper Deck Business Class

The Seat:

The 747-400 features Qantas’ older business class product. It is unlikely to get a refresh since Qantas plans on discontinuing all 747’s by 2020.

 

On the main deck, the layout is a 2-3-2 layout and the upper deck is a 2-2 layout. All seats are next to each other, even on the upper deck, similar to Lufthansas’ 747 product.

Business Class Seat 16K

The upper deck offers extra benefit of having window seat cubbies to set items in which is nice to have. The seat offers some privacy with a rising center divider which blocks out you seatmate’s face and head. The 2-2 and 2-3-3 setup is not very competitive especially in the international space. Thankfully the A330 has the refreshed layout which is a 1-2-1.

Upper Deck Business Class Cabin

Upon arriving at my seat, I found a mattress already laid out on the seat with a pillow, blanket, and amenity kit. The blanket was heavy and had a great feel.

Blanket

Also at the seat was the amenity kit and a pair of pajamas. The pajamas were comfy and cozy but beware, with only one restroom on the upper deck, make sure you beat the crowd when trying to get changed!

Amenity Kit and Pajamas

The amenity kit included an eye mask, body essentials kit with lotion, socks, toothbrush with toothpaste, and ear plugs.

Amenity Kit

Similar to the A380, there is a generous amount of storage at the seat thanks to bins next to the window.

Storage Bins

Even though the plane has a dated layout and seating arrangement, the seat was still plenty comfortable and had an impressive layout of controls. The seat offers a full, lie-flat configuration along with massage function, adjustable lumbar support, and a foot rest.

Seat Controls

The foot rest came in handy when sitting but also when sleeping since the seat does not have an footwell it connects to when lying flat. Unfortunately, the foot rest is not adjustable in length.

Foot Rest

There is an entertainment remote located against the left side of the seat. This remote may come in handy since the entertainment screen is a bit laggy with its touch responsiveness.

Entertainment Remote

The seat comes with an AC power port, two usb ports, and an ethernet port.

Power Ports

The seat does lie flat but does not connect to a footwell. While some may not enjoy this, it does give your feet and legs unrestricted space to spread out if you chose to do so. The seat was otherwise plenty comfy to sleep on.

Lie Flat Seat

Entertainment System:

The entertainment system is also outdated. The screen releases from the middle of the seat and is adjustable with an articulating arm. It can sometimes be a pain to put back requiring a forcefully push to get back.

Entertainment Screen

The screen is touch compatible. The system is laggy and not super responsive. The menu interface is also a bit dated. However, the content is still up to date and superb.

Headphone are included but as usual, we recommend you bring your own headphones with a 3.5mm headphone jack to enjoy the entertainment system the best.

Headphones

Meal Service:

This red-eye flight includes a wide range of food choices which is surprising to see. I ended up going with the roast pork with corn puree, grilled zucchini, and salsa. For dessert, I chose the summer berry pudding with crème fraiche.

Before the main course was served, bread was served with butter.

Dinner Setup

The presentation of the main dish was excellent and the pork was tender without much fat at all. The corn puree complemented the tangy salsa perfectly.

Main Course - Pork and Corn Puree with Vegetables

The desert was very spongy and but the crème fraiche added just enough to make it all come together.

Crème Fraiche

Breakfast included fruit with yogurt and a bacon, egg, cheese, and barbecue sauce sandwich. While it was good, it turned out to be pretty messy. Fruit was fresh and with a cup of coffee, it was a great way to start the day.

Breakfast

Service:

Flight attendants were flat to start and seemed to be all business. Not much interaction to start. There were two Flight attendants dedicated to the upper deck.

Sticking to taking care of business, they were very quick about getting meals served and helping people get to bed as soon as possible. While I was slightly irritated about it in the beginning, I respected it and appreciated their tempo so I could grab some much needed shut eye.

Before the flight, drinks were offered including water, OJ, or champagne. At the end of the flight, hot towels were handed out. Overall, they did a good job but nothing over the top.

Pre-Flight Champagne

Overall:

A good product offered by the Aussies main carrier, Qantas. The seat layout is far from competitive or modern which is a bummer but the food and drink make up for that. The seat itself is also comfortable and has many adjustable features to customize your flying experience. I’d certainly fly them again but look for their updated cabin.

Sunrise Wing View

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