Flying from Sydney to the US

It certainly seems in the past three years, business & first class air travel has moved forwards in leaps & bounds.

What sparked this blog? The article How the Rich Guys Fly: Sneak Peek at SWISS's New First Class Cabin.

For the past 7 years, I've travelled from Sydney to California at last once per year. During one 12 month period I did the trip 6 times. During that time you only had two choices of airline for direct flights from Sydney to either LA or San Francisco: Qantas or United Airlines.

Qantas' business class product was always my preferred choice as the service was usually good (you'd have the occasional problem) and seat itself was great, despite not being fully flat. My last flights were in November and December last year on a Qantas B747 and both times the experience was great. I've yet to travel on a Qantas A380 and therefore experience Marc Newson's Qantas A380 Interiors and the new fully flat business class seat. I expect it might be a while before I do as we don't have any international trips in our diary at the moment and the days of travelling business class for work will likely not return for a while. :-( Hopefully I can keep my points balance up and snare upgrades! :-)

I've only ever experienced United Airlines internationally once... but I can't say much about their business class product other than it reflects their profitability in recent years. Interestingly, the price for their flights wasn't far off Qantas' price for a far superior product.

Thankfully, the options for direct flights from Sydney to the US are increasing.

V Australia's business class product looks to match Qantas' product. Checking costs of flights for both airlines using their own websites from Sydney to LA indicates V will likely be picking up a lot of passengers as their price is much better than Qantas for a comparable product (V was $7762 versus $14250 for Qantas, both departing 1 July, returning the 8th. To be fair, Qantas fares of ~$11052 are available via online travel agents but it's still a big gap). Details of the upcoming Delta flights on the same route are sparse but their business class product looks comparable to both Qantas and V.

If you are willing to do a stop-over to save a bit of money, both Cathay Pacific and Air New Zealand have great products as well (although I find Cathay's seats from Sydney to Hong Kong on their A330's to be a little claustrophobic).

Of course, if you simply must travel first class, Qantas offers the only option at this stage on that route. I've not travelled first class with Qantas for quite some time but have had the pleasure of free upgrades on both Cathay Pacific and a Qantas code-share flight operated by British Airways. With the BA flight (from Singapore to Sydney), I confess that I can't really see the value in their product over business class. By contrast, Cathay's product (from Hong Kong to San Francisco) was outstanding, primarily because of the service provided by the crew. Perhaps I'm unfairly comparing an overnight flight where they expect you to sleep with a day/night flight?

Regardless, getting back to the reason I started this in the first place, the SWISS first class cabin looks very nice indeed.

Images from Wallpaper


posted by Lee Gale @ 5:45 AM,


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