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Flying long-haul premium cabins on short-haul Asia Pacific flights – Part 1: Business Class

Premium Business Class seats designed for long-haul flights can be experienced on short sectors of only a couple of hours across Asia Pacific.

CX Long-haul Business (Cathay Pacific)

We all know airlines save their finest First and Business class seats for their most lucrative long-haul routes, especially on city pairs where competition is fierce and they must stand out from the crowd.

The complex world of aircraft scheduling, however, is not always so accommodating and the drive to keep the best seats on the right routes can leave aircraft idle, usually at home base, for awkward periods. Rather than leave them on the ground losing money airlines often take advantage of these windows to ‘plug the gap’ using these planes on short sectors in between their more lucrative long-haul duties.

In other examples airlines serve thinner long-haul markets with ‘double-drop’ flights, tagging a short extra destination onto a long-haul service to a city which can’t necessarily sustain a full load non-stop.

Scheduling Example

On the aircraft scheduling side EVA Air is a good example. They fly a daily Boeing 777-300ER flight from Taipei to Los Angeles – taking 11 hours 40 minutes to fly there then 14 hours 10 minutes to get back against the winds. By the time the aircraft returns to Taipei in the early hours of the morning the next flight to Los Angeles has already long departed.

BR 77W (Boeing)
EVA Air Boeing 777-300ERs are flown on long-haul and shorter flights. (Photo: Boeing)

The airline’s long-haul departure ‘bank’ doesn’t kick off again until the early evening with flights to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto and Chicago all departing between 7pm and 8pm – so the airline must think of something else to do with their aircraft rather than leave it sitting around all day.

So they send it to Hong Kong. That’s right – a flight of just under 2 hours each way, on an aircraft designed to fly 14 hour sectors, fitted out with long-haul seats including flat-beds in business class.

Double-drop Example

Qatar Airways fly a daily flight from their home base in Doha to Phnom Penh in Cambodia, but it’s a route which can’t currently sustain a lucrative year-round daily load to make it commercially viable. The airline therefore operates the service via Ho Chi Minh, supplementing its daily flight there with an additional flight which can then serve both markets.

Furthermore on the short 45 minute flight Qatar Airways has fifth-freedom traffic rights between Vietnam and Cambodia, so can pick up additional passengers purely flying between these two Asian cities who have no interest in continuing their journey to Doha or beyond.

Our Analysis

We looked at flights operating in the Asia Pacific region (excluding India) on wide-body aircraft with long-haul business class seats installed, planned for a total scheduled flight duration of up to 4 hours.

July 2018 was used as the benchmark month of operation. We used ExpertFlyer to generate the schedules from major hubs in the region including flight number and aircraft equipment / configuration details, alongside some of our own knowledge and research.

Google’s ITA Matrix was used to find the cheapest one-way fares on these routes during July 2018 and we did our own research to determine the number of frequent flyer miles needed with the most popular schemes.

A couple of points to note:

  • Wide-body (twin-aisle) aircraft are assessed, narrow-body aircraft are excluded even if they feature long-haul business class seats.
  • The longest sector on a route takes precedence. For example a Perth – Melbourne flight may be scheduled at 3 hours 30 minutes due to seasonal winds, but the shortest Melbourne – Perth flight with that airline on the same wide-body aircraft with the same long-haul business class product clocks in at 4 hours 20 minutes. The whole route is excluded.

Air New Zealand

Ivory leather, flat-beds and direct aisle access are the name of the game in Air New Zealand business class on the 777-200ER/-300ER (1-2-1 configuration) and the 787-9 (1-1-1 configuration).

ANZ 777 J (OMAAT)
Air New Zealand business class seats on the Boeing 777. (Photo: One Mile at a Time)

Not an original design – they actually pinched it (legitimately!) from Virgin Atlantic and pay an ongoing royalty fee for use of this seat.

Longer term however it was revealed earlier this month that the seat will be replaced by a new design for introduction a few years from now.

NZ.png
Business Class
NZ 777 J (Phillip Capper).jpg
AKL-SYD-AKL AKL-BNE-AKL
Aircraft Type 777-200 777-300ER
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$624 S$626
Flight Time 03:35 03:45
Miles & Points
KFtrans 28,000 28,000
LMtrans.png 33,000 33,000
UAtrans.png 25,000 25,000
MMtrans 27,000 27,000
EVtrans 27,500 27,500
NZ.png
Business Class
NZ 789 J (Point Hacks).jpg
AKL-NAN-AKL AKL-TBU-AKL
Aircraft Type 787-9
777-200
787-9
777-200
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$772 S$786
Flight Time 03:10 03:05
Miles & Points
KFtrans 28,000 28,000
LMtrans.png 33,000 33,000
UAtrans.png 25,000 25,000
MMtrans 27,000 27,000
EVtrans 27,500 27,500

(Photos: 777 – Phillip Capper, 787 – Point Hacks)

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific’s long-haul business class with flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration is found on all of their Airbus A350 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and some of their Airbus A330s.

The remaining A330s plus all 777-200 and 777-300 (non-ER) planes are fitted with the regional business class product.

While Cathay fly many regional sectors with the A350 and 777-300ER the problem on regional routes is equipment swaps. They are absolute masters at it. It means for example even if you book a Singapore to Hong Kong itinerary on a flight operated by the A350 to secure the long-haul business class seat it could easily change a week out, a day out or even on the day of operation.

You might then find yourself on an A330 in regional config or a 777-200/-300, which also have regional seats.

We’ve therefore just looked at a couple of Cathay routes most likely to be of interest to our readers based on the July 2018 schedule where A350 or 777-300ERs are scheduled to be deployed. We’ve also listed all the routes from Hong Kong where long-haul configurations are planned on shorter flights in case you’d like to do your own research on those.

CXtrans2.png

Business Class

CX A330 J.jpg
HKG-BKK-HKG BKK-SIN-BKK
Aircraft Type A350-900
A350-1000
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$682 S$526
Flight Time 02:55 02:35
Miles & Points
Asia 25,000 25,000
QFF.png 38,000 38,000
QRtrans.png 40,000 30,000
AAtrans 22,500 22,500
AVIOStrans.png 15,000 15,000
AStrans 22,500 22,500
CXtrans2.png

Business Class

CX A330 J.jpg
SIN-HKG-SIN
Aircraft Type A350-900
A350-1000
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$1,403
Flight Time 04:00
Miles & Points
Asia 30,000
QFF.png 38,000
QRtrans.png 50,000
AAtrans 22,500
AVIOStrans.png 20,000
AStrans 22,500

Other regional Cathay Pacific routes featuring long-haul business configurations we found with up to 4 hours flight duration from Hong Kong in the July 2018 schedules were:

777-300ER

  • Beijing, Cebu, Ho Chi Minh, Manila, Nagoya, Seoul and Taipei

A350-900 / A350-1000

  • Ho Chi Minh, Seoul and Taipei

China Airlines

For China Airlines we focused on the Airbus A350 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft as feature their latest long-haul business class product. We didn’t assess the A330, which is only used regionally and has an angled bed (actually it’s the same product as Singapore Airlines use as their 2009 RJ regional business class).

CItrans.png
Business Class
CI B77W J (One Mile at a Time).jpg
TPE-ICN-TPE TPE-PVG-TPE
Aircraft Type 777-300ER
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$580 S$721
Flight Time 02:35 02:00
Miles & Points
CItrans.png 30,000 30,000
AFKLtrans.png 34,000 34,000
DLtrans.png 30,000 30,000
GAtrans.png 25,000 25,000
CItrans.png
Business Class
CI B77W J (One Mile at a Time).jpg CI A350 J (Live and Let's Fly).jpg
TPE-HAN-TPE TPE-BKK-TPE
Aircraft Type 777-300ER A350
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$580 S$774
Flight Time 03:10 03:40
Miles & Points
CItrans.png 30,000 30,000
AFKLtrans.png 45,000 45,000
DLtrans.png 40,000 40,000
GAtrans.png 30,000 37,500
CItrans.png
Business Class
CI A350 J (Live and Let's Fly).jpg
TPE-NRT-TPE
Aircraft Type A350
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$1,256
Flight Time 03:45
Miles & Points
CItrans.png 30,000
AFKLtrans.png 41,000
DLtrans.png 30,000
GAtrans.png 30,000

(Photo: 777 – One Mile at a Time, A350 – Live and Let’s Fly)

Emirates

You can experience the business class cabin and indeed the first class cabin featuring shower suites with the Emirates A380 on daily flights between Bangkok and Hong Kong. More on the first class option in part 2 of our article coming soon.

Emirates also flies their 777-300ER between Yangon and Phnom Penh each day though this features the slightly less attractive 2-3-2 business class cabin and is a 2-class aircraft meaning no chance to try the first class product on that route.

If that wasn’t enough you can fly daily between Singapore and Sri Lanka with Emirates business class or first class offered on the 777-300ER to and from Colombo.

EKtrans

Business Class

EK A380 J (OneMoreWeekToGo).jpg EK B77W J (The Luxury Travel Expert).jpg
BKK-HKG-BKK RGN-PNH-RGN
Aircraft Type A380 777-300ER
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lie-flat
(165o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$702 S$920
Flight Time 03:00 02:00
Miles & Points
QFF.png 24,000 24,000
EKtrans.png 27,500 27,500
EKtrans

Business Class

EK B77W J (The Luxury Travel Expert).jpg
SIN-CMB-SIN
Aircraft Type 777-300ER
Seat Type Lie-flat
(165o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$594
Flight Time 04:00
Miles & Points
QFF.png 36,000
EKtrans.png 38,750

(Photos: A380 – OneMoreWeekToGo, 777 – The Luxury Travel Expert)

Ethiopian Airlines

Ethiopian fly their Boeing 787-8 between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur five days per week with an afternoon flight on SIN-KUL and a very late evening service from KUL-SIN.

ET
Business Class
ET 787 J (The Luxury Travel Expert)
SIN-KUL-SIN
Aircraft Type 787-8
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$829
Flight Time 01:20
Miles & Points
UAtrans 30,000
KFtrans 17,500
LMtrans 30,000
MMtrans 27,000
EVtrans 27,500

(Photo: The Luxury Travel Expert)

Not a cheap option for such a short flight, especially considering there’s barely time even to go to the toilet on a Singapore – KL sector! Even the KrisFlyer mileage rate is unattractive here for such a short flight, with mileage requirements for other FFPs we looked at even more outrageous.

EVA Air

EVA have a well-renowned long-haul business class product on their Boeing 777-300ER and you can sample it on shorter sectors to and from Taipei.

BR.png
Business Class

BR 77W J (The Shutterwhale)
TPE-HKG-TPE TPE-MNL-TPE
Aircraft Type 777-300ER
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$1,518 S$565
Flight Time 01:50 02:20
Miles & Points
EVtrans 25,000 25,000
KFtrans 20,000 37,500
TGtrans.png 37,500 37,500
LMtrans 22,500 22,500
UAtrans 45,000 45,000
MMtrans.png 27,000 35,000

BR.png
Business Class

BR 77W J (The Shutterwhale)
TPE-BKK-TPE TPE-PVG-TPE
Aircraft Type 777-300ER
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$1,057 S$1,021
Flight Time 03:50 01:55
Miles & Points
EVtrans 25,000 25,000
KFtrans 37,000 22,500
TGtrans.png 37,500 45,000
LMtrans 36,000 22,500
UAtrans 45,000 22,500
MMtrans.png 35,000 27,000

(Photo: The Shutterwhale)

Garuda Indonesia

Garuda operate their older 2-2-2 business class configuration on A330 flights from Jakarta to Surabaya, Makassar, Bali and Singapore on a daily basis. The newer A330s have a 1-2-1 product but it is used primarily on Australia routes.

GAtrans.png
Business Class

GA A330 Old J (Holysmithereens).jpg
CGK-DPS-CGK CGK-UPG-CGK
Aircraft Type A330
Seat Type Lie-bed
(165o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$442 S$552
Flight Time 02:00 02:30
Miles & Points
GAtrans.png 25,000 32,000
CItrans.png 30,000 30,000
AFKLtrans.png 22,500 29,000
DLtrans.png 40,000 40,000

GAtrans.png
Business Class

GA A330 Old J (Holysmithereens).jpg
CGK-SIN-CGK CGK-SUB-CGK
Aircraft Type A330
Seat Type Lie-bed
(165o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$535 S$402
Flight Time 01:55 01:35
Miles & Points
GAtrans.png 22,500 14,000
CItrans.png 30,000 30,000
AFKLtrans.png 22,500 22,500
DLtrans.png 40,000 40,000

The best Garuda business product you can get on a shorter sector though is on board their 777-300ER between Jakarta and Singapore. This is possible in that northbound direction only, three days per week. You’ll need to choose flight GA88 (which continues from Singapore to Amsterdam) on a Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday.

GAtrans.png
Business Class
GA 77W J (The Points Guy).jpg
CGK-SIN
Aircraft Type 777-300ER
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$545
Flight Time 01:45
Miles & Points
GAtrans.png 22,500
CItrans.png 30,000
AFKLtrans.png 22,500
DLtrans.png 40,000

(Photos: A330 – Holysmithereens, 777 – The Points Guy)

KLM

KLtrans.png
Business Class
KL 777 New Business (KLM)
SIN-DPS-SIN KUL-CGK-KUL
Aircraft Type 777-300ER 777-200ER
777-300ER
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$398 S$226
Flight Time 02:35 02:10
Miles & Points
AFKLtrans.png 22,500 22,500
DLtrans.png 40,000 40,000
GAtrans.png 30,000 25,000
KL 777 New Business (KLM).jpg
KLM New World Business Class on the 777-200ER and 777-300ER is in a 2-2-2 configuration featuring a fully flat bed. A very nice and relatively inexpensive route between Bali and Singapore. (Photo: KLM)

This one wins our prize for ‘best value’ to or from Singapore. You can pick up return fares from Singapore to Bali on this product for S$398 throughout the year (we only show one-way fares in the table, but a return is often identically priced). That’s 5 hours in a flat-bed product for less than S$400, provided you’re flexible with dates and flight times as this one operates only once a day.

Pro-Tip: As Bali regulars we often fly KLM – because the evening flight timing works well both for a post-work departure from Singapore and for a full day in Bali at the end on shorter trips. We usually fly economy as it’s priced close to or even below typical low-cost carrier fares.

No guarantees here – but we’ve been successful every time when asking for a paid upgrade to business at the check-in desk on this route. The cost is fixed at US$150 per person per sector. A good value way in our opinion to experience a long-haul business product, better food and a few glasses of champagne – not to mention lounge access for those lacking a Priority Pass or similar.

Korean Air

Here’s the problem with Korean Air, if you can call it a ‘problem’. Every single one of their wide-body aircraft is fitted with what we would consider to be a long-haul business class seat. Indeed they fly all these products on long-haul routes as well as some shorter sectors.

With the exception of the 747-400, 747-8i and 787-9, these aircraft are used extensively on regional flights under 4 hours duration so it’s impossible for us to do a route-by-route analysis.

Here’s our summary – in business class you either get the Prestige Plus, the Prestige Sleeper or the Prestige Suites.

Prestige Plus Prestige Sleeper Prestige Suites
A330-200 KA Prestige Sleeper (Korean Air).jpg
A330-300 KA Prestige Sleeper (Korean Air).jpg KA Prestige Suites (Korean Air).jpg
A380 KA Prestige Sleeper (Korean Air).jpg
747-400 KA Prestige Plus (Korean Air)
747-8i KA Prestige Suites (Korean Air).jpg
777-200ER KA Prestige Plus (Korean Air)  KA Prestige Sleeper (Korean Air).jpg
777-300 KA Prestige Sleeper (Korean Air).jpg
777-300ER KA Prestige Sleeper (Korean Air).jpg KA Prestige Suites (Korean Air).jpg
787-9 KA Prestige Suites (Korean Air).jpg

(Photos: Korean Air)

Here’s an example of the routes you’ll find these seats on (shortest to longest), showing flight duration and aircraft types operating based on the July 2018 schedule.

To and from Seoul (ICN):

  • Dalian (01:20 – 772)
  • Fukuoka (01:25 – 789, 77W)
  • Qingdao (01:35 – 333)
  • Osaka Kansai (01:45 – 77W, 333)
  • Nagoya (01:50 – 332)
  • Shenyang (01:50 – 773, 332)
  • Tianjin (01:55 – 333)
  • Shanghai (02:10 – 77W, 332, 333)
  • Beijing (02:30 – 773, 77W)
  • Tokyo Narita (02:30 – 772/773, 333)
  • Taipei (02:35 – 332, 333)
  • Sapporo (02:40 – 772, 77W)
  • Vladivostok (02:40 – 332)
  • Xi’an (03:15 – 333)
  • Changsha (03:20 – 333)
  • Guangzhou (03:40 – 333)
  • Ulaanbaatar (03:40 – 333)
  • Hong Kong (03:50 – 772, 77W, 333)
  • Manila (03:55 – 77W)
  • Shenzen (03:55 – 333)

To and from Jeju (CJU):

  • Busan (01:00 – 333)
  • Seoul Gimpo (01:10 – 772, 333)
  • Beijing (02:40 – 333)

LATAM

Each day LATAM fly one of their Boeing 787-8 or 787-9 aircraft between Sydney and Auckland, ultimately en-route to Santiago, Chile.

LATAM 787 (LATAM).jpg
LATAM Boeing 787s fly daily between Sydney an Auckland. (Photo: LATAM)

These aircraft are fitted with a 2-2-2 flat-bed business class seat. Not one of the worst cabins in this layout by all accounts, this is a good option between Auckland and Sydney operating a very early-morning flight with a late-morning return each day from Sydney to Auckland.

LATAMtrans.png
Business Class
LATAM 787 J (GSTP).jpg
SYD-AKL-SYD
Aircraft Type 787-8 / 787-9
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$388
Flight Time 03:55
Miles & Points
QFF.png 38,000
Asia.png 30,000
QRtrans.png 40,000
AAtrans 30,000
AVIOStrans.png 20,000

(Photo: God Save the Points)

Avios comes into play here again for excellent value but my goodness – burning miles on this route is illogical. For just S$388 between Auckland and Sydney (or S$479 in the other direction) you can sit (or lie) back for nearly 4 hours in the LATAM long-haul business class seat. You can even earn 3,000 Alaska Miles in the process (see our article on choosing where to credit miles for cash bookings).

2-2-2 it may be – but for the cost and the miles earned, time to forget all that. This is your (cheap) Air New Zealand / Qantas alternative on the Auckland – Sydney route.

Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia are flying their Airbus A330 aircraft between Kuala Lumpur and both Bali (daily) and Bangkok (several days per week).

MHtrans.png
Business Class

MH A332 J (When I Travel The World).jpg MH A330 J (Traveling For Miles)
KUL-DPS-KUL KUL-BKK-KUL
Aircraft Type A330-200 A330-300
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$233 S$233
Flight Time 03:05 02:15
Miles & Points
QFF.png 38,000 26,000
QRtrans.png 40,000 30,000
AAtrans 22,500 22,500
Asia 30,000 25,000
AVIOStrans.png 20,000 15,000

(Photo: Traveling For Miles)

The Bali fare in business class is fantastic – based on one-way from Bali to Kuala Lumpur. Be aware however if you’re expecting Malaysia’s latest sleek, modern A330 business product you may be disappointed. The Bali flights are on the A330-200 aircraft recently obtained from the now-defunct Air Berlin and are still fitted with the business class seats formerly used by that airline.

It’s still flat-bed and has a nice 1-2-1 configuration with direct aisle access but potentially isn’t quite what MH are offering on the A330-300.

Qantas

Qantas fly their Airbus A330 aircraft featuring flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration on short hops from Sydney to Melbourne and Brisbane.

QFtrans.png

Business Class

QF A330 J (Points from the Pacific)
SYD-BNE-SYD SYD-MEL-SYD
Aircraft Type A330
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$859 S$879
Flight Time 01:35 01:35
Miles & Points
QFF.png 16,000 16,000
EKtrans.png 16,000 16,000
QRtrans.png 25,000 25,000
AAtrans 30,000 30,000
Asia 20,000 20,000
AVIOStrans.png 9,000 9,000
AStrans 20,000 20,000

There are a couple of longer flights too which also meet our criteria lasting up to 4 hours and are worth looking at if you want to try these products on a slightly longer sector.

QF 789 2 (Qantas)
Qantas fly their 787-9 daily between Melbourne and Perth, en-route to London. (Photo: Qantas)
QFtrans.png

Business Class

QF A330 J (Points from the Pacific)
BNE-AKL-BNE SYD-AKL-SYD
Aircraft Type A330
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$700 S$742
Flight Time 03:55 03:40
Miles & Points
QFF.png 36,000 36,000
EKtrans.png 36,000 36,000
QRtrans.png 40,000 40,000
AAtrans 30,000 30,000
Asia 30,000 30,000
AVIOStrans.png 20,000 20,000
AStrans 20,000 20,000
QFtrans.png

Business Class

QF 789 J (Point Hacks).jpg
MEL-PER-MEL
Aircraft Type 787-9
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$2,230
Flight Time 04:00
Miles & Points
QFF.png 36,000
EKtrans.png 36,000
QRtrans.png 50,000
AAtrans 30,000
Asia 30,000
AVIOStrans.png 20,000
AStrans 20,000

(Photos: A330 – Points from the Pacific, 787 – Point Hacks)

Across the board here once again British Airways Avios points are very valuable for Qantas domestic and Trans Tasman redemptions.

Qatar Airways

Qatar has a couple of Asia Pacific short-haul options with their long-haul business seats.

QRtrans-square
Business Class
QR 77W Business (Frankfurtflyer).jpg QR A330 J (Greek for Points).jpg
BKK-HAN-BKK SGN-PNH-SGN
Aircraft Type 777-300ER A330-300
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$356 S$505
Flight Time 01:50 00:45
Miles & Points
QFF.png 26,000 18,000
QRtrans.png 14,000 14,000
AAtrans 22,500 22,500
Asia 25,000 20,000
AVIOStrans.png 9,000 9,000

(Photos: 777 –Frankfurtflyer.de, A330 – Greek for Points)

An unbelievable rate using Avios here – especially for the longer Bangkok to Hanoi leg (or vice-versa) at just 9,000 points in business class for nearly 2 hours in a flat bed. Remember in the northbound direction that will also entitle you to access the new Qatar lounge in Bangkok prior to departure, or the excellent Cathay Pacific lounge.

For comparison the cheapest Singapore Airlines business class saver redemption from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur costs nearly double that – 17,500 miles one-way for a flight lasting half as long.

The other Asia Pacific short-haul route Qatar operate with their long-haul 777-300ER is Canberra to Sydney, however the airline does not have traffic rights on this domestic sector so unfortunately you can’t book it in isolation.

QR 77W Business (Frankfurtflyer).jpg
Qatar’s older business class on the 777-300ER may look a little dated – but it’s very comfortable for a short sector like Bangkok to Hanoi. (Photo: Frankfurtflyer.de)

Singapore Airlines

The long-haul seat on a short-haul flight trick is also available on our very own Singapore Airlines. Each day there is an Airbus A350 flying from Singapore to Jakarta in the morning and another one flying from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur in the evening. These aircraft are fitted with the very nice long-haul 2013 J seat product in a 1-2-1 configuration.

SQtrans Business Class

12Aoverview
SIN-KUL-SIN SIN-CGK-SIN
Aircraft Type A350-900
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$488 S$1,174
Flight Time 01:10 01:50
Miles & Points
KFtrans 17,500 17,500

Unfortunately you can’t experience these products using partner airline or other Star Alliance airline miles / points as Singapore Airlines restricts their long-haul business class products for its own KrisFlyer members.

That makes both of these flights pretty poor value as a redemption, but if they seem a tad short to truly experience the high product standards – look no further than Hong Kong for a total of four flights per day featuring the Singapore Airlines long-haul business class seats.

SQtrans
Business Class
12Aoverview 94A_2.jpg
SIN-HKG-SIN SIN-HKG-SIN
Aircraft Type A350-900
777-300ER
A380-800
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$1,635 S$1,635
Flight Time 04:00 04:00
Miles & Points
KFtrans 27,500 27,500

In case you were wondering about flying between Melbourne and Wellington on the 777-200 unfortunately that aircraft is currently fitted with the older regional business class product (2009 RJ), which we don’t count as a long-haul seat.

12Aoverview.jpg
Business Class on the Singapore Airlines A350 can be experienced on regular daily flights to Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Some other short sectors with long-haul business class products exist on the Singapore Airlines network – namely Johannesburg to Cape Town on the A350 and Canberra to Sydney on the 777-300ER which even features a first class cabin, however the airline does not have traffic rights on these domestic sectors so unfortunately you can’t book them in isolation.

The only exception is that you can fly between Sydney and Canberra, have a stopover there, and then continue to Singapore at a later date.

The 787-10

We haven’t included Singapore Airlines routes using the Boeing 787-10 as this is a regional business class product, however those who’ve been on it, or read our first and second reviews of the seat, will know it would easily pass as a long-haul business class product for many airlines.

11F Bed Divider Raised
The Singapore Airlines 787-10 Regional Business Class seat is more akin to a long-haul product. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

If you’re interested in trying this new seat on a short sector it’s flying to daily to Bangkok and from July also to Manila and Bali. That’s in addition to the longer routes like Perth and Osaka. Check out our New Regional Business Class Tracker page for all the latest routes.

Thai Airways

Thai Airways fly an extensive network of regional flights with their 777-200 aircraft and these are fitted with a 2-2-2 configuration angle-flat bed in business class. Some aircraft even have an older 2-3-2 layout in this cabin.

We haven’t focused on those because they also fly flights under 4 hours with their long-haul fully flat-bed business products using Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft. Here’s where you’ll find those.

TG
Business Class

TG 787-8 J (Thai Airways).jpg
BKK-HAN-BKK BKK-CGK-BKK
Aircraft Type 787-8
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$291 S$607
Flight Time 01:50 03:35
Miles & Points
KFtrans 20,000 20,000
TGtrans.png 28,000 38,500
LMtrans 30,000 30,000
UAtrans 25,000 25,000
MMtrans.png 27,000 27,000
EVtrans 27,500 27,500

TG
Business Class

TG A350 J (Greek for Points).jpg
BKK-SIN-BKK BKK-CAN-BKK
Aircraft Type A350
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$635 S$674
Flight Time 02:20 03:00
Miles & Points
KFtrans 20,000 43,000
TGtrans.png 40,000 55,000
LMtrans 30,000 36,000
UAtrans 25,000 45,000
MMtrans.png 27,000 35,000
EVtrans 27,500 40,000

TG
Business Class

TG 777 J (Stuck at the Airport) TG 787-9 J 2 (Thai Airways)
BKK-TPE-BKK
Aircraft Type 777-300 787-9
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Selected BKK-TPE-BKK 777 flights only
Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$720
Flight Time 03:45
Miles & Points
KFtrans 37,500
TGtrans.png 55,000
LMtrans 36,000
UAtrans 45,000
MMtrans.png 35,000
EVtrans 35,000

Finally for a bit of nostalgia, a chance to sit on the upper deck of the Boeing 747 in a 2-2 configuration angled lie-flat seat for the short hop between Bangkok and Phuket.

It probably doesn’t pass as a ‘long-haul’ business product any more but at S$180 each way it’s a steal and while your Amazon parcel may well continue to travel on one for years to come, we reckon there won’t be many opportunities left to fly on a passenger Boeing 747 soon.

TG
Business Class
TG 744 J (Smart Money and Travel)
BKK-HKT-BKK
Aircraft Type 747-400
Seat Type Lie-flat
(167o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$183
Flight Time 01:30
Miles & Points
KFtrans 20,000
TGtrans.png 20,000
LMtrans 30,000
UAtrans 25,000
MMtrans.png 17,000
EVtrans 27,500

(Photos: 787-8 – Thai Airways, A350 – Greek for Points, 777-300 – Stuck at the Airport, 747-400 – Smart Money and Travel)

Vietnam Airlines

Vietnam Airlines intended to fit a common business class seat to their new Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft – the popular Zodiac Cirrus seat in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone layout. It is the same basic long-haul business class seat used by many airlines including Cathay Pacific.

As one of the first customers for the A350 though, Vietnam Airlines got caught up with the Zodiac delivery delays issue and therefore had to source a different seat for its first 4 A350 aircraft – the Stelia Solstys model.

Vietnam A350 (Airbus).jpg
Vietnam Airlines has two different versions of long-haul business class installed on its A350s. (Photo: Airbus)

The airline therefore operates two different business class seat types on the A350 (Stelia and Zodiac), and a common type on the 787 (Zodiac).

VNtrans.png
Business Class

VN A350 J (Singalaidean Travels).jpg
SGN-PVG-SGN HAN-PVG-HAN
Aircraft Type A350-900
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$653 S$715
Flight Time 04:00 03:35
Miles & Points
AFKLtrans.png 50,000 50,000
DLtrans.png 40,000 40,000
GAtrans.png 37,500 30,000
VNtrans.png
Business Class
VN A350 J (Live and Let's Fly) VN 787 J (OMAAT)
SGN-HAN-SGN HAN-PEK-HAN
Aircraft Type A350-900
787-9
787-9
Seat Type Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Flat-bed
(180o recline)
Lowest one-way cost
(July 2018)
S$305 S$697
Flight Time 02:05 03:55
Miles & Points
AFKLtrans.png 29,000 50,000
DLtrans.png 20,000 40,000
GAtrans.png 25,000 30,000

(Photos: A350 Stelia – Singalaidean Travels, A350 Zodiac – Live and Let’s Fly, 787 – One Mile at a Time)

Summary

Most people won’t go out of their way to check aircraft types and seat configurations on short-haul routes. The general consensus on these sectors is that economy is economy and ‘business’ just isn’t worth it.

There are a few of these long-haul products in use on short routes though as we’ve demonstrated – and they’re absolute gems if you can fit them in to your travel plans.

What did we miss?

We presented pretty much all the examples we could think of in the region. We even surprised ourselves by finding some we never knew about (and now want to try!). There are bound to be ones we missed so please let us know in the comments section below if you can think of any others. We’ll be happy to add to the list.

(Cover Photo: Cathay Pacific)

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