The first time I flew business class, it was from Brisbane to Perth. Somebody else — a publicist promoting a play she wanted me to see so I could interview the star* — was paying, so I’m not sure what it cost.
I was, however, shocked to see the difference between the economy and business class fares currently being offered by Qantas for the same flight.
Airfare pricing is generally works on the basis of supply and demand. As with all products, the price to the customer is somewhere between the actual cost to the seller and what the market is prepared to pay.
I assume in this case that there is something of a demand for business-class seats across the vast Australia continent that warrants the ten-times difference between the two comfort levels.
What the price difference does underscore is the good advice that the best way to fly in a premium seat category is to use frequent-flyer points, either to upgrade or to purchase the tîcket outright.
The price disparity won’t be so high — but, of course, you’ve got to earn the points in the first place, and you’re not guaranteed the seat you want on the flight you want.
*Yes, that’s how glamorous my life is. Or, at least, used to be.