|A critical review of various airlines as experienced first-hand by editorial members of The Business Travel Magazine team.|
|Air Canada, Business Class|
|Air China, Business Class|
|All Nippon Airways (ANA)|
|Air New Zealand, Premium Econ.|
|American Airlines, Business|
|British Airways A380, Business|
|British Airways, Economy|
|Delta, Business Elite|
|Emirates, Business Class|
|Etihad, Pearl Business Class|
|Korean Air, Business Class|
|Lufthansa, Business Class|
|Malaysia Airlines, Business Class|
|Oman Air, Economy|
|Qantas, Business Class|
|Qatar Airways, Business Class|
|Singapore Airlines A380|
|Ukraine International Airlines|
|Virgin Atlantic, Upper Class|
Qantas, Business Class
THE FLIGHT: QF002 from London-Heathrow to Sydney, via Bangkok, aboard a 747-400. Leaving London at 22.15 it arrived in Sydney at 06.30 (plus two days). Total journey time was around 21 hours, including a 90-minute stop in Bangkok, where we left the plane.
THE CHECK-IN: Qantas flies from Heathrow Terminal 3. There's a separate check-in area for Business and First Class Passengers. A helpful assistant changed my ticket so that I was able to sit in the same seat all the way through to Sydney.
THE LOUNGE: Qantas Business Class passengers use the British Airways Galleries Club Lounge, which was spacious and quiet. It was well-stocked with newspapers and magazines, and offered a wide range of snacks, hot food like chicken curry and macaroni cheese, and premium wines. The fast-loading wifi was free.
THE SEAT: I had a (lie-flat) window seat, upstairs in the 'bubble', which is exclusively a Business Class cabin with a 2x2 configuration. Particularly useful was the 'bin' placed underneath the window, which was large enough to store my rucksack, laptop and other items.
THE SERVICE: Before take-off we were offered a choice of Charles Heidsieck Champagne or orange juice, and handed a 'pre-order' form for breakfast. Dinner, which was delicious, included a choice of four main courses. I went for the snapper poached in coconut milk, followed by a cheese platter. Qantas has an extensive list of on-board wines, although the choice was limited to two reds and two whites. Breakfast included the finest omelette I've had on a plane.The video-on-demand system featured over 500 options and 60-plus movies, including recent Oscar winners The King's Speech and The Fighter.
THE VERDICT: The time, quite literally, flew by. The in-seat comfort, endless entertainment options, nicely-paced attention from the cabin staff and superb cuisine and drinks made the long journey a seamless, enjoyable and almost timeless experience.
THE DETAILS: Qantas operates a triple-daily service between London Heathrow and Sydney, with stopover options in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore. Business class fares are currently £4,132, for travel year-round. See: www.qantas.com.au.
Reviewed by Steve Hartridge (2012)