Review: Qantas Business Class 747 Los Angeles To New York

Filed Under: Qantas

Qantas 107
Los Angeles (LAX) – New York (JFK)
Thursday, November 27
Depart: 8:55AM
Arrive: 5:05PM
Duration: 5hr10min
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
Seat: 15K (Business Class)

We boarded through the forward left door, where I quickly took a glance into the business class section in the nose, before heading towards the stairs leading to the upper deck.

Nowadays Qantas’ 747s are three class, meaning they have just business class, premium economy, and economy. This plane has three business class cabins — there are 14 business class seats in the nose, 26 business class seats in the cabin behind that, and then 18 business class seats on the upper deck.

When I first booked this flight many recommend reserving a seat in the nose, though I’m partial to the upper deck. The nose sure did look nice, though.

Qantas 747 business class

We walked through the main business class cabin, which in general is the cabin to avoid, since it’s in a 2-3-2 configuration (eeek, international business class middle seats!).

Qantas 747 business class

Then at the back of that cabin were the stairs to the upper deck.

I have to say Qantas’ 747 upper deck is gorgeous. Not only do they have nice seats, but they also have updated overhead bins, which not very many airlines have on the upper deck. The cabin consisted of a total of 18 seats in a 2-2 configuration. The left side of the cabin had four rows, while the right side of the cabin had five rows.

Qantas 747 upper deck business class

We assigned ourselves seats 15J & 15K, which are a pair of seats in the second to last row. Nowadays many business class seats almost have too much privacy if you’re traveling with someone else, though these are perfect if traveling with a companion. The legroom was almost endless.

Qantas business class, seats 15J & 15K

Qantas business class seats

I thought it was interesting that in the back right of the cabin they had two crew rest seats, partitioned off from the rest of the cabin. They seemed to basically be like premium economy seats.

Qantas business class crew rest

I wasn’t expecting to be so impressed by this seat, but it really was top notch. It was well padded, and like I said, had endless legroom.

Qantas business class seat

Qantas business class legroom

I also love the 747 upper deck because of the bins along the side of the cabin, which are perfect for storing a laptop bag, etc. It makes it more tempting to select a window seat despite the lack of direct aisle access.

Qantas business class lockers

Qantas business class lockers

There were pillows, blankets, and mattress pads at each seat.

Qantas business class pillow & blanket

For business class they were very good, I thought. Even the blanket was well padded.

Qantas business class pillow & blanket

The seat controls were located on the right side of the seat. One thing worth noting is that the seat has a massage function which is possibly the best in the sky. Like, the massage function is almost as good as one of those massage chairs you see in some airline lounges. Really impressive, and I can’t believe I didn’t catch onto that until this flight.

Qantas business class seat controls

Then on the opposite side of the seat was the entertainment controller.

Qantas business class entertainment controls

It’s also worth noting that the seats all have individual air vents, which is awesome.

Qantas business class air vents

Once settled in the two crew working the upper deck, Tim and Glenn, introduced themselves. They offered us pre-departure beverages — we both selected champagne.

Qantas business class pre-departure champagne

Shortly thereafter we were offered hot towels and then the menus for the flight.

Qantas business class hot towel

Qantas business class menu

It took a while for the cabin to fill up, so I briefly asked the crew about the trip they were on. I know back in the day the Qantas crews would work a same day turn from Los Angeles to New York to Los Angeles, though nowadays they layover in New York. So they start in Australia, have a two night layover in Los Angeles, have a one night layover in New York, and then have another one night layover in Los Angeles.

Since we were traveling on Thanksgiving the flight was fairly empty. Not surprisingly the upper deck was still quite full, with only a few empty seats, while the main deck business class cabin had virtually no one in it.

At around 8:50AM the captain came on the PA to briefly welcome everyone aboard and inform us of our flight time of 4hr30min.

Qantas A380 LAX

At 9AM we began our pushback, at which point the safety video began to play.

Taxiing LAX

American 737 LAX

Our taxi to runway 25R took 15 minutes, and once there we were cleared for takeoff almost immediately. As you might expect, our takeoff roll was rather quick, given the light load and short flight.

Taking off runway 25R LAX

The views on the climb out were gorgeous, and somehow the upper deck perspective of the wing only further enhances the view.

View after takeoff from LAX

View after takeoff from LAX

I know I’m a sucker for SoCal, but there’s nothing quite like the coastline view when flying out of LAX, in my opinion.

View after takeoff from LAX

Climbing out over the Pacific

The seatbelt sign was turned off less than five minutes after takeoff, at which point I removed the personal television from the center console and browsed the selection.

Qantas entertainment system

First I checked out the airshow.

Qantas airshow

Qantas airshow

Then I decided to watch a couple of episodes of 2 Broke Girls (I’m predictable, I know).

Qantas entertainment selection

Qantas entertainment selection

As soon as the seatbelt sign was turned off bottled water was distributed.

Qantas business class bottled water

Shortly thereafter the lunch service began.

The lunch menu read as follows:



So on one hand I was kind of surprised by how limited the menu was. On the other hand, I guess it makes sense, given that most passengers are connecting from Australia the same day and just want to sleep.

My dad had the chicken caesar salad, which was served with a side salad and a slice of bread. He said it was quite good… as good as airplane salad gets.

Qantas business class lunch: caesar salad

Qantas business class lunch: caesar salad

Meanwhile I had the steelhead salmon. It was better than the fish the previous day, but still not great. On the plus side, it had a flavorful sauce which at least made an otherwise bland fish dish decent enough.

Qantas business class lunch: salmon

Qantas business class lunch: salmon

It was also served with a side salad and slice of bread.

Qantas business class lunch: side salad and bread

I had the bread and butter pudding for dessert, which was sinfully delicious.

Qantas business class dessert: bread and butter pudding

Meanwhile my dad had some cheese.

Qantas business class dessert: cheese plate

To finish off the meal I had a cappuccino. Maybe it’s just me, but I find Qantas’ mugs to be absolutely useless. They have very little capacity and spill easily.

Qantas business class cappuccino

Service throughout the meal was friendly, though definitely on the slow side, given how “simple” the service was.

Qantas business class airshow

Not surprisingly, the cabin was dimmed all the way after the meal and most people went to sleep. I reclined the seat all the way and napped for a bit. I have to say, the Qantas business class seat really is comfortable for sleeping, which I wasn’t expecting.

Qantas business class seat fully reclined

After a nap I decided to head to the lower deck to see what was going on there.

Qantas 747 upper deck staircase

The cabin was dark and almost completely empty.

Qantas 747 business class

Pardon the picture quality, but possibly the most intriguing seats had to be 5B & 5J, which are the side seats in the first row of the main cabin of business class. They’re where you’d usually have two seats, except there’s only one, due to the emergency exit. So if you want a guaranteed solo seat, that’s a great option.

Qantas 747 business class

There was also a small snack display on the lower deck with cookies, fruit, and chocolate.

Qantas 747 business class snack basket

One thing I have to note is that the upper deck lavatories were in permanently disgusting condition. They looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in a decade.

Soon enough we were already on our descent into New York.

Qantas airshow enroute to New York

Qantas airshow enroute to New York

Qantas airshow enroute to New York

The views on approach were gorgeous thanks to the sun setting right as we approached New York.

Sunset enroute to New York

Sunset enroute to New York

Our approach was smooth, and to my surprise the seatbelt sign was turned on just six minutes before touchdown. I don’t think there’s an airline that’s more “generous” with keeping the seatbelt sign off than Qantas.

We had a smooth touchdown at 4:50PM, and were at the gate by 5PM.

There is something odd about landing at JFK T7 off a Qantas plane as a domestic passenger.

From there we were off to the Park Hyatt!

Qantas business class bottom line

In terms of the hard product I was pleasantly surprised by Qantas business class. The seats were super comfortable, the privacy shield between seats were fairly good, I loved the massage function, and the upper deck of the 747 can’t be beat.

The service on this sector was also quite good — both of the flight attendants working the upper deck were cheery and friendly.

I was surprised by how limited the food service on this flight was, but then again I guess it makes sense since most people are connecting from Australia and just want to sleep.

So am I happy to have tried this over American’s A321 first class, which we could have otherwise flown on a first class award? Yes, for the novelty. Would I choose this over the A321 in the future, given the choice? Probably not. And that’s not a function of the service, but the fact that American has wifi on their A321s, while Qantas doesn’t have wifi. And on a daytime flight that’s the single biggest priority for me.

What do you think of Qantas’ service between Los Angeles and New York? Would you choose it over other carriers?

  1. How do you search/book LAX-JFK availability using AA miles? I tried searching for/booking JFK-LAX on QF when connecting to my LAX-MEL flight in F on the A380 without any luck. Eventually I had to settle on AA F for the JFK-LAX portion.

  2. While a wide body is nice to try once on that route, that’s disappointingly spartan service for a sector of that length.

    I’ll choose AA on that route for a connection from Australia.

  3. I flew Brisbane to LAX in 5J… great seat. It was like a personal throne in the air! Lots of storage due to the extra cubby… tons of leg room due to the exit and no one climbing over you. Great for the solo traveler.

  4. Happy Australia Day!

    There is always something special seeing the Red Roo at JFK nearly 16,000km from home. Those Business class seats were always good for sleeping as it’s really the only thing to do when flying from Australia to, well, anywhere! Pain if you’re sitting at the window and don’t know your seat partner who is trying to sleep when you want to explore! Will be interested to see how the new A330 seats go internationally.

  5. @ James K. — Legally yes, but if redeeming American miles my understanding is that they’ll only let you book it in conjunction with another Qantas flight.

  6. I have the app plane finder on my phone, and on thanksgiving I actually saw your plane, it flew right over me, but there were a lot of clouds, so I didn’t actually see the plane. I thought it was really cool though.

  7. Though few bloggers cover this, this QF 107/108 (soon to be re-numbered) is the best way to fly transcon in the US.

    It can be used with any international routing, even with a stopover. So, you could fly LAX-JFK-[stopover]-YYZ or JFK-LAX-[stopover]-MEX or something like that and be lawful. Even LAX-JFK-LHR would work. I don’t know anyone who has tried this with throw-away ticketing for the last segment, but in theory that could be an option.

    Sadly, however, these QF J seats are eventually going away from QF’s fleet. These seats, like KE’s, are pretty much the last paired lie-flat seats in J in the sky where you don’t put your feet in a little cubbyhole. (BA J has no cubby-hole, either.) So much more room for your body and feet with these seats.

    And, get a window seat on the upper deck at the exit row and you get plenty of side-locker storage and easy up and down without bothering your neighbor…best of all worlds. The new seats coming to QF are just another “fancied” version of staggered J. 🙁

  8. Why doesn’t Qantas have a First class cabin ? Is that a special seating plan just for the LAX-JFK route?

  9. @ Andrew — Qantas has reconfigured all of their 747s without a first class cabin. They improved the business class cabin, added premium economy, and eliminated first class.

  10. @andrew QF eliminated F on the 744s, they’re only available on the A388s, though the j seats are now fully flat.

  11. These seats are pretty similar to the Virgin Australia 777 product. Very comfortable for sleeping and loads of legroom. There is really something to be said about side by side seats when traveling as a pair.

  12. Great report and pics! I am confused as where the TV is? Does that cover on the back of the seat come off? Also, do you think they FAs prob told the gate agents to put all the people in upper J to keep it clean/free? or maybe a common practice?

    ps..not to be picky…well in a way yes, you have arrival at 5:50P AM at the beginning 🙂

  13. @ c — The TV is in the console between seats. The nose was also fairly full, I think that most people simply chose the nose or upper deck since those are the most desirable places to sit.

  14. I don’t like how Airlines assume that passenger rather wanna sleep. Some people just wanna eat and if they paid thousands dollars for a ticket, they should serve them food. What if someone end up sleep the whole flight from SYD-LAX, then jump on this one wishing to eat… and they only have this sad salmon to offer….

  15. Ben, how can i book this QF flight fm LAX to JFK as a BA avios award instead of booking an AA flight ?

  16. Once again, your post and comments have misinformation.

    F has not been eliminated from all 744s in QF’s fleet. There are a number that still have the old F product that are sold as J which QF Platinum and OW Emeralds can preselect. These primarily do flights to and from Asia SIN until the A330s get the new Business Suite.

    Also, QF have a menu you can order small plates from at anytime in Y+, J and F.

  17. “The upper deck lavatories were in permanently disgusting condition. They looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in a decade… Soon enough we were already on our descent into New York.” Sounds about right.

  18. OEB and OJM both have a first cabin. To say first class has been eliminated from Qantas’s B744s is incorrect.

  19. @ mark — “Locker” is the nautical term for a stowage compartment, and its use seems appropriate here since shipbuilding and aircraft-building share much of the same jargon (e.g., hull, port, starboard, forward, aft, etc.).

  20. @NYBanker: I’m not sure where you’re getting the idea that these are among the last paired seats without foot wells. Just off the top of my head, I can think of LAN, LOT, Turkish, and Air China. I’m sure there are others.

  21. Lucky — I booked a business class award ticket on Qantas from DFW to SYD for November 2016. I went on QF’s website to assign a seat and the first ~6 rows are blocked (I’m trying to secure the forward mini-cabin). Any suggestions on how to get one of these seats? Thanks!

  22. Dear Ben,

    How can you book LAX-JFK on qantas? I don’t think it’s possible right? Or were you onboard sydney to los angeles?

  23. @ Chris — I flew from Sydney to Los Angeles as well. It can only be booked in conjunction with an international flight.

  24. Sorry to dig up an old thread — but I agree that the Qantas coffee cups are useless. They are tiny, hard to hold and spill. I actually don’t drink coffee (I drink tea) so I actually asked for two or three cups at a time. The same goes for the Qantas domestic lounges in Australia — they use the same cups…. and I take two or three cups of tea at a time.

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