Economy vs Business Class on Qantas

We are so excited about our upcoming trip in October 2013 but were shocked at the difference in cost for business class. Could I get comments about whether or not we should consider economy for the transpacific portion of the trip. I have heard economy referred to as "sardine" class on Qantas!


  • I travelled recently in economy to australia. It was not near as bad as flights I have taken to Europe, but if you are used to Business Class will wish you had spent the money if you can afford it. You might look in to I think they called Economy Confort or Elite. You don't get to stretch out as in business class but have more room then Economy. The worst part I found was once they finish serving supper they dim the lights and close the curtains were the stewerdesses are and you have no room to walk around to stretch your legs and on the return flight not as much sleeping and it was really noticeable. So, if it is the difference between having spending money like it was to me then go Economy you will live through it.
  • Hi Eileen,

    When I fly internationally in and out of Australia, I never fly Qantas. I choose my flights and airlines carefully based on directness, my convenience, service and comfort provided and yes, safety, too. It very much depends on my destination and the route I choose to take. If I am flying to the west coast of the USA, I choose to enter via San Francisco. Qantas & United fly in and out of Australia from Sydney to LAX and visa versa. I live in Melbourne. I don't want to have to transit in Sydney and add what amounts to another half a day to a wearying journey for what is, in reality, an onwards flight of 1 hour & 10 minutes. Similarly, I don't want to have to transit through LAX when I'm flying to SFO.

    I am guessing that this will be your first and only visit to Australia, with Tauck. My personal opinion? Don't make this extraordinary trip to my extraordinary homeland (I can be biased, can't I? ;)) in Qantas economy class if you can afford business. As Crackers says, you will live through Qantas economy. I just don't want you to have to ... just live through ... the experience if you were just wondering. It is a long way. And Qantas makes a motza from its Pacific route. Because they can. So they do.

    Last October I flew home from San Francisco on Singapore Airlines via Singapore. Yes, I know where that is! :)) But it was a great fare and a very pleasant experience. And I had the extra time to spare. This year I will fly out of SFO with Air New Zealand to Auckland connecting to Melbourne. I've taken this flight many times. Of course, it depends where you are headed for first off in Australia. If Sydney's your first stop that's one less thing to think about! Have you any Frequent Flyer points you could use for an upgrade? (Just a word to the wise here, though. Qantas aren't the most generous or easy place to get a points upgrade, but it can be done with enough lead time.)

    If you have the time to check out the alternatives to Qantas economy, please do. I always try to make my entire trip special, not just the Tauck part! JMHO. But, as Crackers rightly says, you will live through the experience.

    When I fly within Australia, which isn't very often, I fly Qantas. I'm a life member of the Qantas Club and have been for a very long time. My membership # is only 4 digits long. Times certainly have changed .......


  • Hi Eileen, we are heading toward Melbourne from LAX business class on Air New Zealand to join the group in a week. Have your travel agent look for availability of business class bookings through an air consolidator. The cost can be often cut in half, from current United quotes, depending on availability. We are very much looking forward to our upcoming travel.
  • edited January 2013
    We did this trip in Oct/November and flew from the east coast to LAX and then onward. Several suggestions to make your life easier and the travel part of the journey:
    (1) if time and $$ allow, go a day early to LA and chill at a nice hotel
    (2) if you have a Platinum AmEx card, call them and check out their International Business Class companion offer. We did this and flew from LAX to Melbourne via Auckland for a significant savings from anything our travel agent or Tauck offered. Air New Zealand is wonderful; the lay-flat seats are very cozy and sleep worthy and the flight at the end of the trip is from Auckland so your return to LAX is non-stop, which worked out so much better for us than those who had several connections back to LA on Quantas. The Lounges at airports are also a nice perk in Auckland for connection and return flights.

    If you don't have an AmEX Platinum card, it's worth it to upgrade just for this trip but we also used their Fine Hotels and Resorts deal in LA and got a 4 pm check out among other perks! Made the flight time of 9:30 pm a breeze.

    This is a great trip and hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
  • Thank you so much for the excellent and well appreciated information! You all have helped us make this trip our dream vacation!
  • Hi Eileen,

    May I suggest you have a look at ....

    They have some very extensive reviews on both types of seating. Like Jan I stopped using QANTAS many years back when they simply became way too expensive.

  • edited January 2013
    Thanks for that link, Rod. Very interesting. It reminded me why I started flying to Europe in the early 80s with Singapore Airlines. Those were the days when SQ didn't fly all the way to London. I used to fly with them as far as I could ... Paris, Amsterdam ... then take a short hop to LHR. I can't believe some of the Qantas economy cabin crew who were so good at ignoring you way back then are still working economy today! I'll have to go back and check if anyone has posted anything about first class! I don't think even senior public servants have to fly Qantas any more and I doubt they'd bother to post reviews on line. On the other hand ... ;)


  • To CL and DL

    We can't thank you enough for such good advise! Used the AMEX Platinum and saved a good amount! If you are ever in South Carolina we owe you a nice dinner!
  • Eileen,
    Glad it worked out for you! You will love Business Class on ANZ. If you are staying before in LA, check out the Fine Hotels and Resorts part of AMEX Platinum. You book it yourself so no need to call AMEX agent.

    If you are near Charleston, we may take you up on at least meeting you (you don't owe us dinner--it's part of the loving to travel--sharing helpful hints and info). My brother lives in Charleston and we occasionally go down to visit.

  • We are in Upstate South Carolina but frequently travel to the coast for a change of scenery! Charleston is our home away from home in all seasons except summer! Keep us posted when you are traveling this way! We would live to meet and pick your brain and see your pictures. Thanks again!

  • If you live on the east coast, try going east with Emirates. There is only one stop and it may be quicker. After March, these flights are code share with Qantas, so you may be on either an Emirates or Qantas plane for the second leg from Dubai to Australia. The other one stop route from either east or west coast is by Cathay Pacific with one stop in Hong Kong. Both Hong Kong and Dubai are the best airports, much better than LAX or Sydney.
  • EileenSC wrote:
    We are so excited about our upcoming trip in October 2013 but were shocked at the difference in cost for business class. Could I get comments about whether or not we should consider economy for the transpacific portion of the trip. I have heard economy referred to as "sardine" class on Qantas!

    We were on the Aus/NZ tour Jan17 to Feb 5. We booked Premium Economy. This is the first time we flew on Qantas and we were a little apprehensive about the long Transpacific flight from LA to Melbourne. The price on Premium Economy is more reasonable than Business Class. The seats are wide, and the seats recline at a comfortable angle.Service on Qantas is excellent. If you want comfort , and do not want to spend a fortune on your plane fare, book Premium Economy, you will be happy with it.
  • edited February 2013
    Hi Eileen,

    My husband and I toured New Zealand with Tauck a couple of years ago. We booked our own air. After many unsuccessful attempts trying to redeem our Mileage Plus miles for award tickets with their partner, Air New Zealand - flying with Air New Zealand as opposed to United flights (Air New Zealand, IMHO, is a far superior experience from what I had learned through extensive research) - we decided to purchase tickets through Air New Zealand. Business Class was very cost-prohibitive for us. Air New Zealand Premium Economy was our choice. A very "happy medium" and far better option for us than booking Economy. The Premium Economy cabin was excellent, seats comfortable, legroom very ample, dining a wonderful experience. Service/crew were outstanding.

    If costs prevent you from Business Class, Premium Economy on Air New Zealand is a fantastic option. If you decide upon this option, please look into the upstairs Premium Economy cabin. It was delightful.

    Good luck and enjoy your trip! We love our Tauck experience in New Zealand!
  • Have your travel agent try to price business class on ANZ through an air consolidator. There are some real bargains out there. My wife and I just returned from the AUS/NZ Tauck adventure. You are going to love it.
  • lvgregger wrote:
    Have your travel agent try to price business class on ANZ through an air consolidator. There are some real bargains out there. My wife and I just returned from the AUS/NZ Tauck adventure. You are going to love it.
    Couldn't agree more. Excellent advice. I've flown across the Pacific with Air New Zealand many times. Once you learn to drive their little pods, sit or lie back and enjoy the flight!

    Also, as an earlier poster suggested, check what deals Express Platinum travel has. Most of the comment on here regarding CCs is irrelevant to us in Australia, with our different financial regulations. But I was really pleased to read that Platinum travel was able to offer similar services in the US to those offered here. Just something else to throw into the travel research pile!


  • edited February 2013
    Just booked a Tauck tour to the Canadian Maritimes---our next trip is to Australia and New Zealand, maybe next year

    Have read various posts about Quantas and Air New Zealand Premium Economy--flew Delta PE from Amsterdam to Atlanta, nice upgrade from economy

    Have read that ANZ has these "shell" seats in PE, and that Quantas PE is highly rated

    Would like some feedback---Business is not an option , way too expensive

    Finally, I have an AMEX Platinum, which I bought soley to gain access to all flight clubs, has worked well--from what I read, the "half price business" deal is a scam---
  • Our experience with AMEX Platinum was great. We booked one full price ticket and the second ticket was taxes and fees only. Even with paying for one full fare ticket we saved thousands. Highly recommend looking into this!
  • EileenSC---there is nothing in the AMEX Platinum package that talks about this----are you sure it was AMEX that got you the deal and not an air consolidator??

    BTW, we are in Aiken SC--actually going to Boston Pops in Greenville tomorrow
  • EileenSC--just found the website for AMEX Platinum Int'l deals---thanks for the info---
  • Enjoy the concert! We love Keith Lockhart! We live in Greenville!
    So glad you found the info. Good luck with your travel plans. We will have to compare trip experiences. We are considering the Canadian trip next.
  • EileenSC--concert was fabulous---stayed at Hampton Inn downtown, also superb, had some appetizers and drinks at High Cotton--

    We had all but decided on a 4-5 week driving trip from SC to Philadelphia, to Montreal, Quebec City, to Maritimes, for 10 days, back through New England, New York City--

    Decided it was too much driving, not enough relaxing and sightseeing

    Then considered a rail trip from Montreal, QC, to Halifax

    Finally opted for the Tauck Canadian Maritimes Tour, June 30--great hotels, they do all the driving, all tours and everything else Tauck is famous for included---we mainly went on Tauck's reputation, hope it works out

    We learned from a Viking River cruise trip last year that it pays to go a day early, and to fly only from a gateway city, this time we are driving to Atlanta to avoid a plane cancellation/ delay in Augusta that caused a missed flight to Paris--
  • Also meant to ask for some thoughts on AUs/ NZ Tauck tour
  • So glad you enjoyed G'vl! We are very proud of our city!
    This trip will be our third with Tauck. We have done the Canyonlands and England /Ireland. They were all superb. We also have done river cruising with Uniworld which was great also. We have planned this trip to AUS/NZ for years and decided to go for it now. I am still working while hubbie has retired. We researched and compared tour companies and flights extensively! Once you have taken a Tauck tour though, nothing compares to the experience. Since this is our "over the top" blowing the kid's inheritance, we just didn't want to trust our time to anyone but Tauck! So my expectations are very high!
  • Thinking Aus/NZ is a near $30,000 by Tauck and Business Class, but saving $7,000 with Amex Platinum!!! All the other trips I read about don't have the private charter in NZ, and most go to Christchurch, which I wouldn't want to go near due to earthquake damage and repairs

    My thought is breaking up the trip by flying from Portland where our daughter lives---spend 4-5 days going and returning to break up the trip as well as accomplishing the required grandma fix for my wife and our 2 infant grand daughters

    What date is your trip, I am thinking of Dec 2013 or Jan 2014
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