Qantas’ Absurdly Expensive Business Class Fares

Qantas’ Absurdly Expensive Business Class Fares

137

I know quite a few OMAAT readers are in Australia, so I have both an observation and a question…

Why are Qantas’ business class fares so expensive?

Long story short, I’m looking at booking a trip where I’d need to travel from Perth to Sydney on a particular day. Unfortunately Qantas doesn’t have any saver level business class award availability, and since the airline is pretty stingy with awards, I think it’s unlikely that more seats will open up.

So I then looked at just booking a paid business class fare on Qantas (since I’m hoping to review the flight). I figured it wouldn’t be too expensive, since we’re only talking about a four hour flight, and the plane appears to be mostly empty in business class. My gosh, was I wrong.

Qantas’ business class pricing is very expensive

Admittedly Perth to Sydney is probably Qantas’ equivalent to New York to Los Angeles in the United States, in terms of distance and being a “premium” route.

Qantas’ cheapest one-way business class fare in the market is $1,827. That’s in USD, not AUD (in AUD, it would be $2,711). Okay did I just pick a date where the flight was mostly sold out? After doing some digging, I saw that this is simply Qantas’ entry level business class fare in the market.

Whether you’re booking a week out or a year out, you won’t find a cheaper nonstop one-way business class fare between the two cities (and a roundtrip is priced at twice the cost of a one-way, so that’s not the problem).

Business class fares between SYD and PER

Let’s just compare that to New York to Los Angeles for a moment, which is not only a significantly longer flight, but also a flight between much bigger centers of wealth (no disrespect to Sydney or Perth).

Between New York and Los Angeles, airlines almost exclusive offer flat bed business class (while Qantas partly flies 737s between Sydney and Perth). You’ll generally find one-way business class fares start at $650, and they’re regularly $1,000.

Business class fares between JFK and LAX

Heck, American’s three cabin first class between New York and Los Angeles regularly costs $1,199 one-way.

American first class fares between JFK and LAX

What am I missing about Qantas’ pricing?

One thing is for sure — Qantas’ pricing in the market definitely reflects how Australia doesn’t have enough competition domestically. When the cheapest business class fare for a 737 business class seat on a four hour flight is $1,800+, then something isn’t quite right.

We often complain about lack of competition in the United States, but there’s not a single market in the country that has entry level pricing that’s this high. I mean, heck, you can fly from Newark to Honolulu for less than that nonstop in a flat bed if you plan in advance.

So all of that leads me to believe that Qantas is really just skimming the market with its premium pricing. The airline presumably tries to sell a limited number of seats at those fares, and then create all kinds of pathways for people to upgrade.

The US airline industry has evolved significantly in that regard over the past decade. Back in the day, domestic first class was priced obscenely high. Airlines would hope to sell a few seats, and then would upgrade passengers into 80%+ of those empty seats.

That has changed significantly over the years, and now a vast majority of first class seats within the United States are outright paid for, as pricing has become more reasonable.

All of this is even more confusing when you consider that business class hasn’t fully recovered post-pandemic. There are a lot more leisure travelers paying for premium cabins, but not at the same fares as business travelers did pre-pandemic.

Qantas’ business class pricing is confusingly high

What’s the best way to upgrade to Qantas business class?

This brings me to my question. For example, I’m looking at a flight in the near future in this market that’s operated by an Airbus A330, and currently a single business class seat shows as being occupied on the seatmap.

As someone with no Qantas elite status, but who has access to Qantas points (by means of a transferable points currency), what’s the best way to upgrade a Qantas ticket from Perth to Sydney?

Qantas seems to have three upgrade options:

  • There are Classic Upgrade Rewards, where you can redeem Qantas points for an upgrade, and be notified of whether you’re successful up to three days before departure for domestic flights
  • There are Bid Now Upgrades, where you can bid just cash or a combination of cash and points, for an upgrade, and you’ll only be notified whether you’re successful up to five hours before departure
  • There are Domestic On Departure Upgrade Rewards, though this is only available for elite members, and you can be upgraded on the spot up to three hours before departure

It seems that the Classic Upgrade Rewards have the highest priority. For what it’s worth, below is Qantas’ upgrade award chart.

Qantas’ points upgrade chart

A Perth to Sydney flight is around 2,000 miles, meaning:

  • An upgrade from a Classic Reward would cost 28,300 Qantas points
  • An upgrade from a Discount Economy ticket would cost 27,200 Qantas points
  • An upgrade from a Flexible Economy ticket would cost 10,900 Qantas points

So pulling up some sample fares:

  • A Discount Economy ticket would cost $458 (AUD), or $308 (USD)
  • A Flexible Economy ticket would cost $912 (AUD), or $614 (USD)
  • An Economy Classic Reward would cost 18,000 Qantas points plus $45 (AUD), or $30 (USD)

I’d say either the award or the discounted economy ticket would be the best value here, and then it would cost 27,200-28,300 miles to upgrade.

That brings me to my question for those who know more about Qantas domestic upgrades than I do. Let me again emphasize that I’m looking at an Airbus A330 flight, and the business class seatmap shows almost entirely unassigned:

  • Does Qantas offer last seat availability for upgrades?
  • What are the odds of actually clearing as a non-elite member? Is this a situation where seemingly everyone tries to upgrade (since so many people in Australia have Qantas points), or are odds decent if a flight isn’t looking particularly full?
  • If you use Qantas points to upgrade on a paid fare, can you still credit your flight to another program, like American AAdvantage?

If there’s anything else I’m missing or any of my analysis is wrong, please let me know!

Bottom line

Qantas business class fares are outrageously expensive, especially on domestic flights, where competition seems to be lacking. Premium fares in the United States pale in comparison to what Qantas is charging. That leads me to believe that Qantas is essentially just trying to skim the market with its premium fares, selling a few seats, and then offering various pathways to upgrade.

I’m curious to hear what OMAAT readers think about this, and hopefully some Qantas frequent flyers can share some tips on upgrading.

What’s your take on Qantas’ business class pricing? Is there something I’m missing?

Conversations (137)
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  1. Vu Nguyen Guest

    Honestly I’ve been struggling to understand why the Australian public is still supporting this shamble company since I migrated here. I avoid traveling with them as much as I can because their ludicrous price point does NOT justify the service. Outdated fleet (14 years old avg at the time of speaking), axed ground service (self check in even for int’l flights), shrinking flight network (Singapore Airlines has recently announced increased flights to all major airports...

    Honestly I’ve been struggling to understand why the Australian public is still supporting this shamble company since I migrated here. I avoid traveling with them as much as I can because their ludicrous price point does NOT justify the service. Outdated fleet (14 years old avg at the time of speaking), axed ground service (self check in even for int’l flights), shrinking flight network (Singapore Airlines has recently announced increased flights to all major airports in Australia, a sign that Qantas is losing its market despite being very much protected by the government from competition), terrible carrier charge if redeeming flights by points. Honestly, I do collect Qantas FF points but only using it to redeem flights with other Oneworld partner airlines coz the carrier charges are reasonable. The list can go on and on. In short, avoid them like a plague.

  2. Josh Guest

    You're missing that there is a lack of competition. That's all you need to know.

    The way capitalism works is that competition helps to drive up quality and drive down prices. You can't expect for the cost of something in one place with lost of completion keeping costs low to translate to another part of the world were there is less motivation to find efficiencies.

    Things cost what they cost. Competition is what helps...

    You're missing that there is a lack of competition. That's all you need to know.

    The way capitalism works is that competition helps to drive up quality and drive down prices. You can't expect for the cost of something in one place with lost of completion keeping costs low to translate to another part of the world were there is less motivation to find efficiencies.

    Things cost what they cost. Competition is what helps make them better. Regulation makes them cost more.

    These are the basics of how price and capitalism works.

  3. Lisa Guest

    I requested an upgrade ( must be some kind of lottery system) from Perth to Sydney. If successful I would have to fork over some points. Did the same going back from Sydney to Perth. I was successful both times and sat in business class. Now here's the rub. Flying to Sydney, I had a fully reclining air bed. Awesome. Sydney to Perth I sat next to someone in a wider seat and couldn't recline...

    I requested an upgrade ( must be some kind of lottery system) from Perth to Sydney. If successful I would have to fork over some points. Did the same going back from Sydney to Perth. I was successful both times and sat in business class. Now here's the rub. Flying to Sydney, I had a fully reclining air bed. Awesome. Sydney to Perth I sat next to someone in a wider seat and couldn't recline more than a little, and as luck would have it, I couldn't recline at all because of the size of the person behind me. Also no personal TV or anything nice except for the wider seat.
    I looked up the cost of the full fares and it's the same either direction!!! If I'd have paid full fare for business class both ways, I'd have been really angry. As it stands, I'm still not very happy. What's this all about????

  4. Jordan Guest

    Worked in the Australian airlines industry for a number of years - to answer your 3 questions.

    (1) yes QF classic upgrade gets last seat availability. Bid now doesn’t, and they are only ever considered after all classic upgrades are cleared. No bid now will be accepted regardless of how high the bid is (you can bid the max and it won’t matter), if there is still pending classic upgrades.

    (2) Odds of clearing with...

    Worked in the Australian airlines industry for a number of years - to answer your 3 questions.

    (1) yes QF classic upgrade gets last seat availability. Bid now doesn’t, and they are only ever considered after all classic upgrades are cleared. No bid now will be accepted regardless of how high the bid is (you can bid the max and it won’t matter), if there is still pending classic upgrades.

    (2) Odds of clearing with no status highly varies. There is no way for a customer to tell and this is purposely opaque (to reduce dilution potential). QF doesn’t have a publicly visible standby list (not even at the airport on the day of departure). Some flights would have 10 platinum ones listed, some flights you’d be the only one. Only RM could tell.

    (3) you can’t - once you are upgraded the FQTV filed is locked in the PNR. You cannot disassociate it without losing your upgrade. This is done on purpose to prevent customer leakage.

    QF domestic premium pricing strategy is such that it believes the only people will pay for domestic J is due to corporate policy or extreme high net worth (so demand is completely inelastic) - the cabin is filled (especially on PER-SYD/MEL lie-flat flights) with classic upgrade. This acts as an incentive to ensure stickiness as it is the only way most people could realistically travel J on QF domestic flights). The J cabin on these 330 east west flights almost never go out with empty seats. But excluding upgrades paid load factory is consistently <50%. On the international front due to competition there’s routinely cheaper fares (SYD-CGK/MNL is almost always cheaper than SYD-PER for example)

    Qantas loyalty is a huge business, and the airline does a number of odd things to ensure the stickiness continues.

  5. Erick Guest

    I am also Confused, people have high expectations for business and first class, but they also expect the lowest price they can get

    1. Josh Guest

      That's not confusing. That's called optimization and it's how the market finds an equilibrium point for the product.

  6. Morgan Diamond

    Helpful article: https://www.executivetraveller.com/qantas-bid-now-upgrades-guide

  7. Stephen in Travel Guest

    As someone who works in travel I get the same frustration from clients looking at booking US West Coast to East Coast where J Class fares can be in excess of US2500
    Look at booking a onward flight
    PER SYD NOU//AKL///NAN and you’ll get one way’s Business Class fares from AUD1200-1500 +/- some fares have restrictions on how long a stopover is allowed but it’s a great way to get value from your fare. Happy Travels ✈️

  8. Travis Guest

    Lack of competition is absolutely a factor, and keep in mind Australia's low population density particularly on our west coast. The population of Western Australia is not even 3 million people yet it's our largest state.

    I think there's also a huge difference in service coming into play. I've flown domestic economy flights both in Australia and the states, both in business (or "first" domestically in USA) and economy. In Australia, business class lounge access...

    Lack of competition is absolutely a factor, and keep in mind Australia's low population density particularly on our west coast. The population of Western Australia is not even 3 million people yet it's our largest state.

    I think there's also a huge difference in service coming into play. I've flown domestic economy flights both in Australia and the states, both in business (or "first" domestically in USA) and economy. In Australia, business class lounge access is included, the lounges are much nicer and everything in the lounges is complimentary. In the states, access to the lounge costs extra on top of your ticket and once you're inside you still have to pay for most things!!

    Service onboard is drastically different too. Even the catering in Qantas domestic economy is significantly better than American Airlines domestic first class in my experience, both in food and drink. Even a 90 minute Qantas flight in business class will see you served a full hot meal whereas in the states I've not been given more than packaged snacks on several hour long domestic first class flights, and even on international business class just got served a cold sandwich.

    Aside from perhaps the seats themselves, the two aren't really comparable.

    1. George Guest

      To clarify for non Australian readers, Western Australia is the largest state geographically, not by population!

  9. Thomas Guest

    Yes you can credit the flight if upgraded but will only earn points / status credits on the base fare purchased not the upgrade.

    Chances are relatively low for no status as ever man and dog has Silver or Gold Status these days due to status extensions and generous rollovers during COVID. Especially on long haul like that unless you find a super quiet day.

    They do open more seats last minute but they get snapped up by upgrades.

  10. Trevor Guest

    Trans continental Qantas fares have always been expensive and are rarely discounted.
    If it's a return trip and you're not in a hurry, SQ via Singapore is sometimes cheaper!
    Then there's the interesting thing about the plane.
    I've had numerous A330s on that route change to 737s in the weeks before the departure.
    Even if it's an A330 on the day, there's the upgrade pecking order. CL, P1, P, G, S.

    Trans continental Qantas fares have always been expensive and are rarely discounted.
    If it's a return trip and you're not in a hurry, SQ via Singapore is sometimes cheaper!
    Then there's the interesting thing about the plane.
    I've had numerous A330s on that route change to 737s in the weeks before the departure.
    Even if it's an A330 on the day, there's the upgrade pecking order. CL, P1, P, G, S.
    So unless you've found an unpopular time for your A330, very slim chance of an upgrade.

  11. Gullifers Travels Guest

    Ben all our mining is in Western Australia so all the mining companies fly their workers in on fly in and fly out 2 weeks on 2 weeks off. Business class is cheap for them than paying accommodation on Perth which has a shortage since the mining boom. Western Australia keeps our economy going especially when our lovely friends in China live on our iron ore.

    We never have an issue with obtaining upgrades or...

    Ben all our mining is in Western Australia so all the mining companies fly their workers in on fly in and fly out 2 weeks on 2 weeks off. Business class is cheap for them than paying accommodation on Perth which has a shortage since the mining boom. Western Australia keeps our economy going especially when our lovely friends in China live on our iron ore.

    We never have an issue with obtaining upgrades or requesting frequent flyer seats to be opened up for my family but that’s due to the fact that we are all platinum one with Qantas.

    In fact my wife and I are in Greece on Kefalonia at present thanks to the great partnership Qantas has with Emirates and return on Qatar all for 300,000 points each in Business class return.

    Normally a Business class return to Perth is around $3000 but as most Australians are travelling the world again flights are busy.

    Also check Virgin Australia but they are not flying their A330 yet.

    Have you looked at pricing on points for the Oneworld around the world fare ?

  12. iamhere Guest

    What about the cash pricing to fly to Europe this summer from the US. That has become extremely expensive for some reason. You could pick many other routes and have the same argument...

  13. BJ Guest

    Price gouging has been rampant since Covid. Unfortunately the ACCC is a limp carrot. I can do Australia to Europe with a premium airline in business cheaper than East Coast to West Coast.

  14. Ben Guest

    The service level of Qantas business class is far superior to anything that any US airline offers, even in so called "first class" . Not just on the plane but at every step of the process. This would justify a certain level of increased pricing, not sure if it justifies the complete difference though.

  15. Lou Wijesuriya Guest

    I got a business class flight via avios
    From Perth to Sydney in February for £47 + avios 355 day's in advance.

  16. Jea Smaill Guest

    My daughter recently ubderwent nexpected and nessasary spinal surgery in Brisbane. I rang Quantas and discussed her needs,a a transferred the require frequent flyer points to her account consequently she applied for the upgrade on a flight from Brisbane to Pert which was declined despite of a request from the surgeon that she needed to have a,seat that she could flat for the journey rather than having to walk every 20 minutes in the cabin....

    My daughter recently ubderwent nexpected and nessasary spinal surgery in Brisbane. I rang Quantas and discussed her needs,a a transferred the require frequent flyer points to her account consequently she applied for the upgrade on a flight from Brisbane to Pert which was declined despite of a request from the surgeon that she needed to have a,seat that she could flat for the journey rather than having to walk every 20 minutes in the cabin. At check in the request was declined. I was,extremely disappointed. She had a genuine medical reason and a letter from the surgeon. This has put me off using quantas.

    1. Jason Guest

      maybe it was full of people who had paid to sit in those seats? Why should your daughter bump them? if you want first, pay for first.

  17. Sebastian Guest

    Without actual QFF status, I don’t think there’s much hope for an upgrade if awards are not available either. So three options really, all probably mentioned already:

    1) Don’t fly QF but VA instead. The hard product on the 738 is worse than the A330 of course, but soft product actually better IMO.

    If somehow you must fly QF,
    2) connect via ADL on two 738 flights, or
    3) book PER-SYD-AKL for around...

    Without actual QFF status, I don’t think there’s much hope for an upgrade if awards are not available either. So three options really, all probably mentioned already:

    1) Don’t fly QF but VA instead. The hard product on the 738 is worse than the A330 of course, but soft product actually better IMO.

    If somehow you must fly QF,
    2) connect via ADL on two 738 flights, or
    3) book PER-SYD-AKL for around AUD 1600 and simply throw away the second leg.

    I’ve given up on QF a while ago. Used to have status with both VA and QF but I cannot with good conscience support this highway robbery.

  18. Ripty Guest

    Yea Qantas is cheaper if you fly AKL-SYD/MEL-PER than the former.

  19. Josh Guest

    Ben, I have Qantas Platinum status. If any of the flights you are looking at have seats in the D bucket, I'm happy to request the release of a business seat for you.

  20. James - Perth Guest

    Qantas is 100% just grabbing as much money as they can on this route, and also all domestic routes in their business cabins. Those prices are not far off pre-pandemic prices, and people pay it. I would personally never pay cash for that route, as it’s definitely overpriced. But, I usually have around a 90% success rate at upgrading from economy when I fly west-east. And note I have no status with Qantas, I am...

    Qantas is 100% just grabbing as much money as they can on this route, and also all domestic routes in their business cabins. Those prices are not far off pre-pandemic prices, and people pay it. I would personally never pay cash for that route, as it’s definitely overpriced. But, I usually have around a 90% success rate at upgrading from economy when I fly west-east. And note I have no status with Qantas, I am simply someone who collects a lot of points. Just make sure you don’t pick a peak flight time and you should be sweet.

  21. skimegheath Gold

    Qantas announced a domestic sale today. Still expensive though. It has always been an expensive route.

  22. Chris Guest

    Just 8 days ago the non stop was $1181 every day, go look at the chart on Google Flights.

  23. Mike Guest

    Lucky - you are spot-on. The issue is
    (1) lack of competition (a couple of fifth freedoms on this route would bring the price down significantly)
    (2) Compared to the very small number of business class seats on the route, there's a lot of people people with a lot of money willing to pay for it
    (3) I have only taken this route a couple of times but I was under the...

    Lucky - you are spot-on. The issue is
    (1) lack of competition (a couple of fifth freedoms on this route would bring the price down significantly)
    (2) Compared to the very small number of business class seats on the route, there's a lot of people people with a lot of money willing to pay for it
    (3) I have only taken this route a couple of times but I was under the impression that it was mostly mining execs travelling back and forth, and some who are connecting from a long haul flight (typically from the US)

    1. James - Perth Guest

      5th freedom? Why would any government allow a foreign airline to operate a domestic route?

    2. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Domestic cabotage is 8th and 9th freedom. 5th freedom is only an international-international tag.

  24. kimshep Guest

    Ben, there seems to be something missing from your post, IINM.

    Have you thought of the possibility of redeeming a J class QF seat via either the AA or AS sites? One would have to think that an AA redemption award on AA would be almost guaranteed to be a lower points redemption compared to through QF direct or through a credit card points transfer transaction.

    For that matter, you could also check through the BA, AY and QR sites for similar QF availability.

    1. Scott Guest

      Availability of Qantas seats through partners is tighter than through their own program. If there’s no seats through QFF, no chance through AA/AS

  25. Dc_nomad Guest

    I get that @lucky has to generate content (and clicks), but ultimately it is a business write off, so not sure what all the fuss is about…

  26. Dc_nomad Guest

    I get that @lucky has to generate content (and clicks), but ultimately it is a business write off, so not sure what all the fuss is about…

    1. JC Guest

      Do you know what a write-off is?

    2. Pete Guest

      A rip-off is a rip-off. You don't get rich by cutting a lot of cheques.

  27. 2PAXfly Member

    Ben - Trying to upgrade with points on this PER - SYD route is a calculated risk. Better to have higher priority through Qantas Platinum status. Not sure where they rank OneWorld Emerald in priority for upgrades. I've done it successfully many times pre COVID, even when changing flights last minute. However, domestic loads at the moment are basically 100% with demand estimated at 120% of capacity by Qantas. Priority for upgrades is reportedly Classic...

    Ben - Trying to upgrade with points on this PER - SYD route is a calculated risk. Better to have higher priority through Qantas Platinum status. Not sure where they rank OneWorld Emerald in priority for upgrades. I've done it successfully many times pre COVID, even when changing flights last minute. However, domestic loads at the moment are basically 100% with demand estimated at 120% of capacity by Qantas. Priority for upgrades is reportedly Classic Upgrades requested by premium flyers (Platinum, P1 and Chairman's Lounge at top) then Bid Now, then On Departure upgrades - if that helps.

    1. Pete Guest

      My husband was a CL for eight years. It's amazing what a difference it makes in the Qantas universe. Outside that, of course, nobody cares.

  28. Harry the flyer Guest

    The QF business class experience on domestic flights is just not worth it. Even on a A330, you'll be very disappointed, especially with the soft product and service that has seriously deteriorated since covid. QF is a real shame at the moment with insane pricing and less and less service; it's not even possible to print a boarding pass anymore at the airport, it's DIY for everything. Cabin staff are terrible, they've lost the "spirit...

    The QF business class experience on domestic flights is just not worth it. Even on a A330, you'll be very disappointed, especially with the soft product and service that has seriously deteriorated since covid. QF is a real shame at the moment with insane pricing and less and less service; it's not even possible to print a boarding pass anymore at the airport, it's DIY for everything. Cabin staff are terrible, they've lost the "spirit of Australia", uniqueness between class and relax attitude. Virgin is about the same, if not worse. If you want a good experience, the best option in Australia is currently Rex, the only airline at the moment in Australia with staff still greeting passengers instead of chit-chatting with their colleagues when boarding and that are still very pro and pleasant. QF had generated a record surplus that is a scandal towards the service they provide, taking advantage of their almost monopoly when Australians are suffering so much from inflation; shame on QF who is definitely not the Spirit of Australia anymore. I am glad that Alan Joyce, their CEO left. Hope the new one will get back to the normal Qantas, a model in the industry that I've always be extremely proud of.

  29. Mick Guest

    I used to fly this route for work and it posts as over 4 hours but never did it seem to eclipse that flight time. Our company (an investment bank) had a policy to fly domestic in business only if over 4 hours. Assume same for a lot of other companies (including the fund i worked for in Chicago).

    Flights were usually pretty full in business with investment bankers, lawyers etc flying over to...

    I used to fly this route for work and it posts as over 4 hours but never did it seem to eclipse that flight time. Our company (an investment bank) had a policy to fly domestic in business only if over 4 hours. Assume same for a lot of other companies (including the fund i worked for in Chicago).

    Flights were usually pretty full in business with investment bankers, lawyers etc flying over to see mining clients (ours was fortescue). Usually booked 1-3 days before. I think Qantas gets more revenue charging a price that no one even looks at and hopes to fill a majority of seats. Pretty lucrative business route. Noting that competiton is scarce. Qantas (for some unknown reason) is THE choice for nearly all Aussies for their points and frequent flyer programs (why would you not credit AA?). Assistants are told to book Qantas and no one else.

    I’m living in Sydney if you’re looking for a dinner companion :)

    1. Harry the Flyer Guest

      Hi Mick,

      Will be living in Sydney from Mid June and always happy to chat with passionate with aviation.

    2. Mick Guest

      Superb mate! I’m def passionate about planes and points. My 9 year old has a birthday wishlist to fly sg f :).

    3. Harry the flyer Guest

      A very luck kid if that happens! Feel free to PM me at harrytheflyer18 at gmail

    4. Pete Guest

      We copped five hour Syd-Per sectors back in the day during winter when the jetstream was particularly fierce. I remember one flight out ground speed on the 332 was 668km/hr at 330. I'm sure they made up the difference on the trip back.

  30. John Guest

    No different from Canada. I just booked Vancouver to Toronto for June, cost me C$2,350 one way. Only thing that was cheaper was a red eye. Maybe Americans just have it too good?

    1. Trevor G Guest

      Yikes! WestJet or Air Canada?

  31. Dunc Guest

    As stayed the A330's on the PER - SYD or PER - MEL are an international configuration and remember maybe a Premium Economy is do able. While a comparison of USA cities dwarfs us on population a comparison on welath will make your eyes water.

    1. JDee Diamond

      Not sure I'm reading your last sentence correctly but New York is the only US city with a larger population than Sydney (& Melbourne). Also, only New York , Chicago, Los Angeles & Houston are more populous than Perth

    2. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      @JDEE
      Using city-proper figures will yield laughably inaccurate results for any calculation of scheduled pax aerial services..... which should be common sense, seeing as townspeople living outside a city line won't refuse to use an airport on the other side.

      Alas, SYD's metropolitan population is "only" 5.1million, there are plenty of US metros that far exceed that:

      Greater Atlanta, Miami/S.Florida, San Francisco Bay, Greater Boston, Metro D.C., Dallas/Ft.Worth Metroplex, etc in addition...

      @JDEE
      Using city-proper figures will yield laughably inaccurate results for any calculation of scheduled pax aerial services..... which should be common sense, seeing as townspeople living outside a city line won't refuse to use an airport on the other side.

      Alas, SYD's metropolitan population is "only" 5.1million, there are plenty of US metros that far exceed that:

      Greater Atlanta, Miami/S.Florida, San Francisco Bay, Greater Boston, Metro D.C., Dallas/Ft.Worth Metroplex, etc in addition to the metro populations for the cities you listed.

  32. Eskimo Guest

    Wonder how much SkyMiles would cost if VA was still bookable.

  33. Sam Guest

    As a lot of people have already said, booking using Avios via BA is usually pretty good value.

  34. Marc Guest

    Qantas overall has inflated prices….especially Business class. Have a look at how much they charge for business class to LA.

    Specifically, Qantas is known for bait and switching aircrafts on routes to Perth. They’ll sell that it’s an A330 on a particular flight with flatbeds which makes the high fares more palatable for business and then at the last minute switch to a 737.

  35. Trevor G Guest

    I'd say the comparison to Canadian prices is apt, but not in the way the poster intended I assume, because the lack of real competition let's Air Canada get away with rhetorical murder. Case in point, a business class one way SEA-YYC-YYZ on WestJet was only about $150 (USD) more than an Air Canada (via YYZ or YUL) economy seat - thank goodness for WestJet, at least, but I think it bolsters the argument Ben is making.

  36. Auspointer Guest

    Your screenshot of the comparison LA-NY fares pretty much explains it all - there’s actual competition in the States whereas over here in Oz its pretty much a duopoly (and that’s probably a bit of stretch), additionally we have a population size a tenth of the US, so while thats the case I think we’ll never get reasonable fares here.

  37. Jason Schwessinger Guest

    The US has 13 times the population of Australia, so with so many more people taking flights the pricing is naturally going to be lower.

  38. Jason Guest

    After you visit Perth please comment on the veracity of this video: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CpibelFjAAw/?igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

    1. Deano Guest

      Rings pretty true for 1982

  39. Jeremyfly Guest

    Since COVID, Qantas’ pricing has gotten even more absurd than it was previously. I know countless friends who have given up on QF due to their high pricing and mediocre product. In terms of value for money, you’re much much better off going with Virgin Australia for domestic flights. Firstly, their Business Class fares are usually half, if not a third, of Qantas’, but it’s really easy to gain status with them. Whilst their product...

    Since COVID, Qantas’ pricing has gotten even more absurd than it was previously. I know countless friends who have given up on QF due to their high pricing and mediocre product. In terms of value for money, you’re much much better off going with Virgin Australia for domestic flights. Firstly, their Business Class fares are usually half, if not a third, of Qantas’, but it’s really easy to gain status with them. Whilst their product isn’t amazing, you at least feel like you get what you pay for… unlike Qantas. Thoroughly recommend another Virgin Australia review Lucky.

  40. Luke Guest

    Hi Ben,
    Sorry if this has already been suggested (there are a lot of comments!), but have you investigated booking with avios through BA?
    When I return to Australia to visit family, I book all my internal flights on Qantas that way. I’ve generally had no problem getting a business class seat on my preferred flight/date.

  41. NicktheGreek Guest

    I opened the article expecting this to be about long haul. These transcontinental biz fares have been phenonemal since I can remember, and certainly since VA backed out of the war with Qantas on these routes, which in itself is why the domestic service of both carriers was once arguably the worlds best.

    Here's the thing.. if QF are so eye wateringly expensive, and hard to book with points, why not pay cash and...

    I opened the article expecting this to be about long haul. These transcontinental biz fares have been phenonemal since I can remember, and certainly since VA backed out of the war with Qantas on these routes, which in itself is why the domestic service of both carriers was once arguably the worlds best.

    Here's the thing.. if QF are so eye wateringly expensive, and hard to book with points, why not pay cash and go VA? On the face of it, that's probably what many of your readers would do (or suck it up in economy) so may be there more valuable review. I did the reverse journey with QF at the start of the year, paid for with AY miles booked around 10 months in advance (for 3 seats). Apart from the lie flat beds, the experience was certainty more "premium" rather than "business".

    Conversely my other trips on the journey with VA in Business were memorable for tasty food and brilliant service.

  42. john Guest

    why can't you take the flight in coach? it is only a 4 hour flight. will it be that bad, ? maybe we want a coach review.

  43. Angelo W Guest

    The population of Australia is 25 million, the population of the USA is 325 million - the USA’s population is 13 times greater than Australia’s!

    The population of New York City is 8.5 million, Los Angeles is 3.8 million versus 5.1 million in Sydney and 2.6 million in Perth. That’s 13.6 million potential travelers going between the east and west coast of the USA versus 7.7 million between the east and west coast of Australia....

    The population of Australia is 25 million, the population of the USA is 325 million - the USA’s population is 13 times greater than Australia’s!

    The population of New York City is 8.5 million, Los Angeles is 3.8 million versus 5.1 million in Sydney and 2.6 million in Perth. That’s 13.6 million potential travelers going between the east and west coast of the USA versus 7.7 million between the east and west coast of Australia.

    There just isnt a big enough population in Australia to sustain more than one full service airline and for it to operate profitably. These fares reflect this reality.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Do you realize how utterly absurd it is to use city-proper population statistics for anything dealing with aerial services?

      I mean, what-- ya think the other 8million people in Metropolitan L.A. that live outside of the City of Los Angeles' lines, aren't going to use LAX too?

      Beverly Hills, Burbank, Santa Monica, Malibu, Calabasas, Pasadena, West Hollywood, Inglewood-- realize that none of those are counted in that "3.8 million."

      'Course, the number...

      Do you realize how utterly absurd it is to use city-proper population statistics for anything dealing with aerial services?

      I mean, what-- ya think the other 8million people in Metropolitan L.A. that live outside of the City of Los Angeles' lines, aren't going to use LAX too?

      Beverly Hills, Burbank, Santa Monica, Malibu, Calabasas, Pasadena, West Hollywood, Inglewood-- realize that none of those are counted in that "3.8 million."

      'Course, the number you really should be looking at is the 18million "combined statistical area" population for the Greater Los Angeles Basin... who have the option of using SNA/ONT/BUR/LGB, but of course use LAX for longhaul and mostly for transcons.

  44. Noa Guest

    It's a four hour flight, economy should be perfectly fine.

  45. RJ Guest

    I was a long time Perth resident and had this problem all the time. Not sure how this fits with your travel plans but you can get a one way from Perth to Noumea, New Caledonia for $853. You used to be able get the codeshare Aircalin flight from Sydney to noumea - would love to see your review of their new business class

    1. Trevor G Guest

      AND you get to experience New Caledonia, so everyone wins!

    2. OldDubliner Guest

      For comparison, 4 weeks ago I flew AUK-PER business with New Zealand Air (operated by Vamos) for USD1100. 8 hour flight with great hard and soft product.

  46. Ed Guest

    Welcome to australia our flight prices are terrible.

    Might I suggest looking for an award via south east Asia or New Zealand?

  47. Ben Holz Guest

    like somebody said previously already... try to book PER-AKL/CHC via SYD. Have seen flights for as low as USD 1000...

  48. Gustavo Guest

    You can do this same flight as a QF Emerald for 83k points Business Class from Melbourne/Sydney (Emeralds are allowed to request a route that has no reward to be given as it), choosing Classic reward for just 78AUD$
    Perhaps buying the points its about the same as paying the 2700AUD$ but once you are Emerald you get x3 on points when buying wines from Qantas Wines and you can get 85k points for about 600AUS$ to 800AUD$ depending on the sale at that time.

    1. 2PAXfly Member

      This requires being a memeber of Qantas Frequent Flyer Program, and attaining Platinum status, not just One World Emerald. Then you can request via the (preferably Hobart based) call centre the release of a fare as a Classic Reward. They will only release a fare if there is a sale category business class fare available ('I' I think is the category). They can only request. Confirmation is up to the Qantas booking and revenue management algorithm.

  49. GetToThePoints Guest

    Check out CHA - BZN this September. It fluctuates wildly almost daily. Today-

    $3741 for first class
    $2619 for comfort plus

    Who is gonna pay that???

    1. GetToThePoints Guest

      Left off that the above is DELTA

  50. WWRJB Guest

    Not much else to add here other than to reinforce the population of Australia being closer to Canada than the US, and the competitive dynamics reflecting that as a result. Canada has ~40M people, Australia has ~27M. There is significant immigration planned for Australia in the coming years, so hopefully that will encourage greater competition.

    I'm not optimistic about Virgin Australia's future IPO and go-forward performance, but there's a world where both Virgin Australia and...

    Not much else to add here other than to reinforce the population of Australia being closer to Canada than the US, and the competitive dynamics reflecting that as a result. Canada has ~40M people, Australia has ~27M. There is significant immigration planned for Australia in the coming years, so hopefully that will encourage greater competition.

    I'm not optimistic about Virgin Australia's future IPO and go-forward performance, but there's a world where both Virgin Australia and Rex can compete over the next 10-20 years and create a 3-player market rather than the current monopoly that Qantas has since mid-2000s.

  51. RichM Diamond

    Perth resident here. J class fares don't seem so out of whack when you look at economy pricing, which is very high recently. I'm paying $500 for PER to SYD next week, and $450 for PER to BNE in a few weeks time.

    Demand in Perth is driven by the resources sector, which is driven by commodity prices, especially iron ore. These have bee high for the past few years.

    Also, Australia is a different...

    Perth resident here. J class fares don't seem so out of whack when you look at economy pricing, which is very high recently. I'm paying $500 for PER to SYD next week, and $450 for PER to BNE in a few weeks time.

    Demand in Perth is driven by the resources sector, which is driven by commodity prices, especially iron ore. These have bee high for the past few years.

    Also, Australia is a different market to USA in that Qantas protects the value of its premium cabin - it doesn't routinely give out free upgrades to elites. It is worth noting that many of the PER to SYD flights are operated by A330s with a lie-flat business class seat that you would typically expect on long haul international routes. However, there are a few 737s as well.

    1. Trevor G Guest

      That point about the resource and mining execs is insightful - it makes me think of the prices I can see on Alaska for first class from Seattle to Las Vegas (high demand for leisure) or LA (wicked busy commuter route) - I've seen them hit US$1000+ even a few weeks out during peak times. That said, my recent, two months in advance JFK-SEA on Alaska was US$400 one way, so the economy pricing seems more comparable to the US perhaps?

  52. Joe Guest

    That's Qantas for you. They also upgrade based on fare purchased so you're more likely to get it on a more expensive fare. Much lower chance than discount eco as everyone in aus does that since everyone has qf points esp with no status

  53. Morgan Diamond

    Really happy you are writing about this because this is something I have experienced and tried to get around several times (with some success: in short if you are really brave book a ticket to NZ and throwaway last segment will save you $1,300) as a Perth resident! Also I am so glad you are finally visiting Perth - it really is great.

    To start of with the reason why this is, yes it...

    Really happy you are writing about this because this is something I have experienced and tried to get around several times (with some success: in short if you are really brave book a ticket to NZ and throwaway last segment will save you $1,300) as a Perth resident! Also I am so glad you are finally visiting Perth - it really is great.

    To start of with the reason why this is, yes it is because competition is lacking and no other airline has lie flat business class domestically in Aus. But even when VA had the A330 flying between MEL/SYD and PER I recall prices being similarly high, and likewise most routes domestically in AU have disproportionately high J fares. But also:
    1. A lot of Australian do have Qantas points so classic rewards and upgrades are quite common especially because they cost less points than say an international upgrade or reward seat hence why everyone uses them domestically.

    2. While Perth or Sydney may not be as flashy as New York or LA, here in Perth mining is our biggest export and runs the state and these multinational companies have offices in Perth (where the mines are located in WA) and then generally an office in Sydney or Melbourne too. Point is QF gets a lot of corporate seats and to these companies its not even a particle in the bucket. I have a friend who was a lawyer for a company and he lived in Perth but had to go to Melbourne every two weeks for meetings and of course when he did it was full fare J.

    My experiences/solutions:
    I was in Sydney a few weeks ago and on my return flight (on a QF A330) I did in fact receive the bid now upgrade invitation email 7 days before as I have in the past (I paid for an economy ticket with cash) and the starting bid was $350 if I recall and if I remember correctly it did look like it was reasonably full in business with some seats spare though (and that was in the peak school holiday period) But if you set an amount you are happy with bidding say $600 (AUD) then do that and you should get it if you put it in straightaway as elite status, time and amount of money are all factors in the algorithm.

    I would submit an upgrade with points but then maybe also with the bid now as generally the Bid now do work (I successfully bid $400 for a PER - MEL flight, but it was a 737 and the person I was travelling with on the same ticket is platinum, so maybe not overly helpful).

    Here is the REAL KICKER:
    I know you have written about it in the past but how comfortable are you with throwaway ticketing? What will really make you annoyed is if you price up a business flight from PER - AKL/CHC/WLG on QF with the EXACT same flight you would take on the A330 from PER - SYD would come out at around $1,400 (AUD) one way which is way cheaper. Now I haven't actually done this, but I have actually been to New Zealand several times on this type of fare with a stopover in Sydney or Melbourne as I love flying so whats another business class flight ! But it is an option to be aware of.

  54. jns Guest

    If you want to have a bit more comfort in coach, you can buy an extra seat so someone isn't sitting next to you. It is not business class but being assured that you aren't crowded is better. I have done this several times. Although you cannot take extra luggage for the extra seat, you can still store your personal item under the extra seat. It seems at it would be quite a bit cheaper doing that than buying a business class ticket.

    1. Nick Guest

      Why can't you take extra luggage? If you paid for the ticket you should get everything that the ticket includes!

  55. Beachfan Guest

    Hi Lucky,

    Are you looking at the same dates? If I check B6 or AA far out, I get much higher fares.

  56. Not Lucky Guest

    From experience I'll just warn you that the A330 can easily change to a 737 at the last minute. Have been really annoyed more than once on award tickets. I wouldn't waste miles or $$ on the 737 domestic business class, but there's nothing you can do with an equipment swap.

  57. AJ Guest

    How else do you expect Alan’s bonus to be funded? Or the outsourcing of thousands of workers illegally?

    And to top it all off, Qantas gets off on stealing billions from the Australian taxpayer. A terrible airline and an embarrassment to Australia.

  58. Duck Ling Guest

    Hey Ben.

    Simple case of demand vs supply. A better analogy to compare would have been an intra asia flight of 3-4 hours on an asian legacy carrier as the market is more similar than the US domestic market. Yes, of course there are some people buying 'First Class' domestic tickets in the US but there is a huge amount of upgrade vouchers and levels of FFP that allow standing by for space available...

    Hey Ben.

    Simple case of demand vs supply. A better analogy to compare would have been an intra asia flight of 3-4 hours on an asian legacy carrier as the market is more similar than the US domestic market. Yes, of course there are some people buying 'First Class' domestic tickets in the US but there is a huge amount of upgrade vouchers and levels of FFP that allow standing by for space available upgrades which just does not exisit in Australia or Asia on the whole.

    In terms of sky high business class prices it's the same with QANTAS international flights right now, especially between Australia and the US/UK. First & Business Class is CONSISTENTLY full of revenue customers and QANTAS know that the party will come to an end eventually (when COVID rebound slows down) but while the rebound is happening they are milking it for all they can. And who could blame them?

    QANTAS pretty much has the Australian corporate market wrapped up. Its worth remembering that although QANTAS is known internationally it is domestic Australian flying that is the money maker for them. QANTAS only has one full service competitor domestically, Virgin, who belong to none of the main alliances and have no aircraft with lie flat seats. And then its other competitor - Jetstar - it owns.

  59. LEo Diamond

    Airline today is different from 3 year ago, they would charge high for business, and ship off huge amounts of award instead of lowering cost

  60. Sam Guest

    Based on the headline, I was expecting truly outrageous fares. Instead I just see fares that are about par with what AC charges for YYZ-YVR in a widebody flatbed seat. I guess we’re just used to getting hosed on airfares up here :(

  61. Aaron Guest

    Hi Ben
    Aussie reader from Sydney here
    A Qf business award per-syd & per-mel-syd both cost 41,500 Qantas points
    Does the a330 to Mel have business award availability on the day you are looking at?
    Per-mel on a330 connecting to a b737 to Syd is probably the best option
    Aaron

  62. David Guest

    Have a look at YYZ-YVR is J. You will see the same thing.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ David -- What am I missing? I see business class fares starting at $521 one-way.

    2. Trevor G Guest

      Are you looking at WestJet or Air Canada? My friend who is an Executive Assistant in Toronto complains that at her company finance wants to keep flights under a certain cap, but all the executives are Air Canada status holders and they consistently have much higher fares.

  63. LEo Diamond

    Shenzhen Air have 9+ award daily for SZX-SIN, yet they still charge 1400usd one way

  64. Matt Guest

    Totally off the charts! It's a metaphor for most things in Australia at the moment and they do it cos they can!!! One word - GREED!!

  65. DenB Diamond

    Don't compare to USA. Compare to Canada. Only Air Canada offers a proper Business class in Canada and they know it. Edmonton to Toronto? Montreal to Kamloops? Halifax to Thunder Bay? Nothing about Qantas' pricing surprises me, nor do the comments about how bad they are. it's a rite of citizenship in Canada to say these things about Air Canada at every opportunity.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ DenB -- There's no denying that Air Canada has a captive audience in some markets, but I see YEG to YYZ fares starting at $432. And yes, service to smaller markets is generally very expensive, you're totally right. That's often the case in the US too, regardless of cabin.

  66. Jim Guest

    Look at IAD-SFO or EWR-SFO. Similar situation.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jim -- IAD-SFO business fares start at $599 and EWR-SFO business fares start at $589.

  67. TheBestBlackBrent Diamond

    These are my favourite type of posts, bloggers lecturing airlines on getting their pricing 'wrong'.

    Looking at seat maps also gives you zero indication of the actual booked loads (especially for airlines with unbundled fares and no included seat selection), but more importantly: airlines optimize for willigness to pay, which is not a function of 'empty seats'.

    But this is a concept nobody every seems to understand.

    1. jetset Diamond

      Don’t think this post is at all saying the airline is getting their pricing “wrong” in the sense that they should just be giving it away.
      I read it as bemoaning the high prices airlines CAN (and do) charge when they don’t have competition.

      No one is saying Qantas shouldn’t or isn’t wise to do this. You can complain about something purely because you don’t like it even if it’s perfectly normal and expected behavior.

  68. Jeff Guest

    My guess is lack of competition mostly.. whereas NYC-LAX is covered with a plethora of airlines.

  69. Sean Guest

    Air Canada YYZ to YVR isn't much of a deal in J either!

  70. Mutt Guest

    The short answer is that they can and people do actually pay! Perth is one of the resource capitals of the world, just take a look at how much it costs for an (economy) flight to the Pilbara... you can pay 2,000 AUD for a return trip in economy! Some of the major players also will pay for business on 3+ hour flights for most direct employees.

  71. Brian Gasser Guest

    @Ben Misleading with your comparision analysis between JFK-LAX and Quantas. You used B6s last flight at 9:59pm departure that gets in at 1:11am. Not an ideal flight time so it will be discounted. You ignored JetBlue's other Mint flights which are easily cost over $1500.

    1. SSS Guest

      “There is no U in Qantas” is the airline’s unofficial marketing line!

    2. LarryInNYC Diamond

      No, but there should be.

      Who wants to fly with an airline that can't even spell their own name?

    3. Scott Seay Guest

      Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services, Ltd., hence QANTAS.

  72. T- Guest

    Are there just four main airlines operating in Australia? Qantas, Virgin Australia, Rex, Bonza?

    1. 2PAXfly Member

      There are only 2 major airlines; Qantas = Full Service and Virgin = semi full service. Jetstar (part of Qantas) = low cost model and REX is a pumped up regional and charter airline that has just started servicing limited capital city to capital city routes. Bonza is a ultra low cost tourist market airline - less than 6 months of operations - so not even in the equation yet. Only Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar operate between Sydney and Perth.

  73. InceptionCat Gold

    Ben don't forget that you can book domestic Australian flights with BA avios. I've done that consistently and always get seats. The nonstop PER-SYD route esp. on the A330 doesn't seem to have lots of availability in business class but with a stopover in MEL i see seats many times during the week.

    Yes, i was shocked at how high fares in Australia are. Virgin Australia and Rex are cheaper.
    Try booking on the BA website with avios. Good luck.

    1. TravelinWilly Diamond

      "Ben don't forget that you can book domestic Australian flights with BA avios. I've done that consistently and always get seats."

      Great tip.

      I ONLY use Avios when booking domestic Qantas tickets - the Qantas cash prices are outrageous. I have an upcoming trip where I used Avios SYD-PER (A330), PER-ADL-MEL, and MEL-SYD in business; cash fares were ridiculous. Obviously the farther ahead you can plan/book the easier it is to find seats.

    2. Luke Guest

      Agree with this tip! I book all domestic QF flights using BA avios. Never have trouble finding availability (though I normally book several months in advance).

  74. Deano Guest

    QF generally offers 10-30% discounted airfares to corporates, which is generally who flies up the front.

    It's a bit apples and oranges. Australia is a very, very small market. USA = 330 million, AU = 25M. Perth-2 million, SYD-5 million. LA - 3.9M - NYC- 9m.

    In my opinion, QF pax who regularly fly up the front prefer QF J class to be "out of reach". In saying that, QF never has trouble filling up the front. It is always full.

  75. Dan Guest

    Don't fly Qantas. They are absolute garbage, any frequent flyer in Australia will confirm, they have gone down hill terribly recently. Flew with them a couple of times last month and my experience wasn't great. Onboard ok, on the ground not so much. By far the worst lounge experience I have had just in the sense the business class lounge in Sydney was absolutely filthy, toilets smelt like a truck stop and garbage all over the floor

    Avoid, go with virgin aus instead.

    1. InceptionCat Gold

      Completely agree with the domestic lounge situation in Sydney. I was shocked at the condition of the toilets und could barely believe it when i was there in April too! The food wasn't impressive either.

      Compare that to the swanky Virgin Australia lounge in Brisbane! Oh i loooooved it! And the flights i had with them were indeed much much better than on QF.

    2. Deano Guest

      Interesting. My experience of going to a VA lounges recently resembled a kindergarten. But hey, if your anti-QF bias makes you live in an alternative reality, good for you.

    3. nohohon Guest

      It's known that the Sydney domestic lounges are the worst of the lot, hence the ongoing plans for refurbishment. If you go to the QF Melbourne or Brisbane lounges you'd have a better experience.

    4. Dan Guest

      QF business lounge in Melbourne was significantly better and i did think it was a nice lounge. The issue in Sydney though was not the condition of the hard product, yes tatty but no worse than many north american lounges, the issue was how disgustingly filthy the lounge was. Floor in the main lounge area was more akin to a dive bar toilet floor, crunchy crumbs and general litter.

  76. John Bloggs Guest

    Well you don’t understand airline pricing. In any market the “perfect” price from an airline perspective is what the punters are prepared to pay. Anything more and it won’t sell, anything less and your spilling cash.

    Why would they do anything else?

    QF have been flying this route for decades, they do know what they are doing.

    Also while you have compared prices you haven’t compared costs. Is a litre of aviation fuel the...

    Well you don’t understand airline pricing. In any market the “perfect” price from an airline perspective is what the punters are prepared to pay. Anything more and it won’t sell, anything less and your spilling cash.

    Why would they do anything else?

    QF have been flying this route for decades, they do know what they are doing.

    Also while you have compared prices you haven’t compared costs. Is a litre of aviation fuel the same price in PER as LAX; SYD as JFK? US airports are municipally owned (socialism!) while Australian ones are motivated by profits for their shareholders.

    Please can the clickbait headlines and do a professional analysis.

  77. JK Guest

    Qantas is charging incredibly high fares at the moment. Even Virgin isn't far behind (charging $1,114 USD one way on a 737 PER-SYD in J). Look at Qantas' new JFK route via AKL, often prices out at over $14,000 USDin J, that is more than double the cost pre-2020). I live in Sydney and it's ridiculous trying to get a decent J fare. The best way for us to get a decent J fare here is to fly to Bali or CGK and get to Europe on QR or EK for sub 4k USD.

  78. Jon Guest

    If you think that's expensive, take a look at their business class tickets trans-South Pacific which regularly cost in excess of USD20,000 return, and never below USD12,000. Often these are on LATAM metal where the equivalent fare is less than half Qantas' price.

  79. mark Guest

    Perth to Sydney prices in business are ridiculously high. Weirdly, you can often find fares Perth to Auckland that go via Sydney for about half the price.

    Maybe, we in Australia are just getting gouged.

  80. Frog Guest

    I’m not sure this is so out of line compared to, say, Europe. A 1-hour, one-way intra-Europe flight on one of the legacy carriers would set you back around EUR 900. And all you’d get for it is an empty middle seat and a boxed meal.

    1. Reyyan Diamond

      True! and yet they sell it at check-in for around €80 or so. I still don’t get why they price intra europe J so high beforehand.

    2. Eve Guest

      I fly LH and SK regularly every month, and I have never paid more then €500 on J for a one hour flight ever…

    3. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Frog -- Great point about intra-Europe pricing, and frankly fares on legacy carriers within Europe are often outrageous. I think one key difference is that intra-Europe J award availability is among the most readily available in the world, so consumers have an easy way to get into those cabins.

  81. Henry Guest

    Are round trip fares still absurdly expensive?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Henry -- Yep, roundtrip fares are twice the cost of a one-way.

  82. nohohon Guest

    I think you're underestimating the influence of the Australian mining/oil/gas resources sector. WA holds the majority of our natural resources and so has approximately 60,000 FIFO workers flying into various remote sites. Granted, they're not all traveling in Business class, but there would be plenty of executives and consultants that would be, and the mining companies have a lot of cash to go around.

    Following Virgin's administration, they no longer have any wide body...

    I think you're underestimating the influence of the Australian mining/oil/gas resources sector. WA holds the majority of our natural resources and so has approximately 60,000 FIFO workers flying into various remote sites. Granted, they're not all traveling in Business class, but there would be plenty of executives and consultants that would be, and the mining companies have a lot of cash to go around.

    Following Virgin's administration, they no longer have any wide body jets. Meaning there really is no competition for a premium business class offering anymore. Note that we don't have the concept of complementary waitlisted upgrades in Australia, so mostly all seats are being paid for in one way or another.

    In regards to how to upgrade using QF points:
    - Yes you can upgrade and still credit the flight to AAdvantage. You should be able to to log in to your QFF account and use the PNR to upgrade.
    - IME, yes close to every seat can be available for upgrade. Their may be a hold of one or two seats.
    - I find from personal experience again that most Australians don't try and request for domestic upgrades. I think you'd have a reasonable chance on an A330 with low loads with a classic upgrade rewards. Do not bother with a bid.

    I'd also try looking at PER - MEL flights. Particularly, there's a 787 available which is the domestic leg of the Melbourne to London route and will give you the best product and equipment.

  83. Bagoly Guest

    Go via Singapore?
    Or take the train?

  84. Jason Guest

    Basically, no meaningful competition, hence high fares.

    NYC-LAX has at least 5 nonstop competitors, hence more "realistic" fares. So, there's your answer. Nothing to do with distance, just a captive market and an airline that can do what it wants.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jason -- For sure lack of competition is why QF can even get away with trying to charge these fares. What I wonder, though, is if people are actually consistently paying these high J fares. Presumably it's not public data, but I'd be fascinated to know what percent of J pax on PER-SYD are paid J, rather than having gotten into the cabin in some other way.

    2. Wayne Ashton Litton Guest

      I fly to PER from MEL quite often and the J cabins are normally always full. Mainly businesspeople, Resources, Bankers etc. Also, people connecting to QF through SYD or MEL to NZ or US.
      QF have upgraded their J class on the domestic sectors kite is quite good.
      My big gripe is long-haul QF, next March MEL/ SCL via SYD au$12000 return versus Latam direct MEL/SCL au$7500 return, my travel consultant is trying...

      I fly to PER from MEL quite often and the J cabins are normally always full. Mainly businesspeople, Resources, Bankers etc. Also, people connecting to QF through SYD or MEL to NZ or US.
      QF have upgraded their J class on the domestic sectors kite is quite good.
      My big gripe is long-haul QF, next March MEL/ SCL via SYD au$12000 return versus Latam direct MEL/SCL au$7500 return, my travel consultant is trying to persuade me not to use Latam because of poor service in J, poor service on the ground and canx flights. But with 2 airfares it makes a huge difference to the hip pocket!

    3. glenn t Guest

      Correct. You can get that route using miles on any OW partner (BA AA Alaska come to mind) for 20,000 miles plus taxes. The earlier you book the better.
      Qantas is doing what they do because they can. Check out their eye-watering profit for the past 6 months!
      Also, don't forget, they have their reputation as the Queen of Mean to maintain!

  85. Emon Guest

    Most people on the plane will try and upgrade and without status, it’s going to require a lot of luck to snag an upgrade. I’ve been on flights where even platinum ones (highest published tier) couldn’t score an upgrade. Qantas also has a wonderful habit of simply cancelling flights when they’re not full and combining two or more flights. The lack of competition combined with Australia’s complete lack of consumer protection in aviation means they...

    Most people on the plane will try and upgrade and without status, it’s going to require a lot of luck to snag an upgrade. I’ve been on flights where even platinum ones (highest published tier) couldn’t score an upgrade. Qantas also has a wonderful habit of simply cancelling flights when they’re not full and combining two or more flights. The lack of competition combined with Australia’s complete lack of consumer protection in aviation means they can get away with doing what they want.
    Have you looked at virgin as an alternative? Heck, you might even have better luck finding awards by flying to Sydney via Singapore.

    1. Deano Guest

      If you look at the BITRE figures, VA is just as bad as QF when it comes to cancelling flights.

  86. Alvin | YTHK Diamond

    Goodness gracious that's not cheap. If you wanted to maximise return instead of minimise cost, you could consider an Air New Zealand fare for slightly more expensive, which would get you on a Wamos Air A330 and an Air New Zealand 777?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Alvin -- Hah, I figure a QF A330 review is generally more valuable. And I also have an interesting connection in SYD in mind. ;-)

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jetset Diamond

Don’t think this post is at all saying the airline is getting their pricing “wrong” in the sense that they should just be giving it away. I read it as bemoaning the high prices airlines CAN (and do) charge when they don’t have competition. No one is saying Qantas shouldn’t or isn’t wise to do this. You can complain about something purely because you don’t like it even if it’s perfectly normal and expected behavior.

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AJ Guest

How else do you expect Alan’s bonus to be funded? Or the outsourcing of thousands of workers illegally? And to top it all off, Qantas gets off on stealing billions from the Australian taxpayer. A terrible airline and an embarrassment to Australia.

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Sam Guest

Based on the headline, I was expecting truly outrageous fares. Instead I just see fares that are about par with what AC charges for YYZ-YVR in a widebody flatbed seat. I guess we’re just used to getting hosed on airfares up here :(

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