Flight test: Qantas business class

Route Sydney to Hong Kong return.

Aircraft Boeing 747-400 to Hong Kong in downstairs aisle seat 26D, business; A380 to Sydney in window seat 22A, business.

Flight time 9hr 20min to Hong Kong; we take off 6min late but land 18min early; 9hr 15min to Sydney, we take off 39min late but land 8min early.

Seat width and pitch The most noticeable difference between aircraft is easily seat pitch (legroom): the 747's 60 inches is eclipsed by the A380's 80 inches. Business seats in both aircraft are 20.5 inches wide.

Seat configuration In the 747, 2-3-2 downstairs and 2-2 upstairs for a total of 52 seats; in the A380's upper deck, 2-2-2 for a total of 72 business seats (Qantas's 12 A380s will be reconfigured by April to have fewer business seats and more premium-economy and economy seats).

Luggage allowance Three pieces of checked luggage up to 32 kilograms; two pieces of hand luggage up to seven kilograms each.

Comfort The seats' angles and length can be adjusted in small ways on both aircraft; on the A380's fully flat Skybed, I sleep easily. The pop-up partition between seats offers extra privacy.

Amenities Kits feature a design by Florence Broadhurst, the Australian of wallpaper fame. They hold socks, eyeshade, earplugs, toothbrush and paste, Malin+Goetz lip balm, moisturiser and hand cream. The overnight flight home includes grey Peter Morrissey-designed PJs.

Entertainment The 747's seat-back system is having one of those days. About 2½ hours after takeoff, a reboot loads just three films. On the A380 flight, 18 premiere movies on the 12.1-inch in-arm screen are available.

Service Friendly and laid-back.

Food and beverages On the 747, a pre-take-off glass of Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve. For lunch, there's an entree of prawns with zucchini salad, and the irresistible-sounding hot, sweet, sour and numbing Kurobuta pork with snake beans and rice from the Neil Perry-designed menu. After a glass of Grosset Rockwood Riesling, De Bortoli's amber-hued Noble One sticky accompanies the cheese plate. Heading home, dinner comprises a tasty zucchini soup with parmesan chunks and duck pappardelle. Breakfast is pre-ordered before lights out and eaten by reading lamp in the dark; the vanilla and honey smoothie is a highlight.

Flight frequency Qantas operates 11 direct flights a week from Sydney to Hong Kong, four of them on the A380, and daily direct flights from Melbourne. Return business-class airfare from Sydney and Melbourne is from $5660.

Online See qantas.com.

Tested by Katrina Lobley, who flew courtesy of Qantas.

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