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The brand new look cabins heading to Heathrow on the refurbished Qantas A380 aircraft

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It is around 18 months since Qantas announced the refurbishment of its A380 fleet, but only now is the first new-look aircraft getting close to taking to the skies.  Flights are scheduled to start in March, with the full A380 fleet of 12 planes completed by the end of 2020.

It isn’t clear yet if the refurbished aircraft will be assigned to specific routes or not.  You would expect that Heathrow will be prioritised.

Remember that Qantas flights can be redeemed with Avios and that you can earn Avios and British Airways tier points when you fly with them.  Qantas now flies from Heathrow to Singapore and then onwards to Sydney.  It no longer flies Heathrow – Dubai – Sydney.

Qantas A380

What can you expect on the refurbished Qantas A380?

First Class

The Qantas A380 fleet has 14 First Class Suites on the lower deck, designed by Marc Newson.

(I see Marc occasionally – who is probably the 2nd most famous industrial designer in the world after Jony Ive at Apple – because his daughter is at school with my son.  In the polite way that you don’t talk business with the parents of your kids school friends, we have never discussed his Qantas work.  I was also friendly with Canadian rocker Bryan Adams at one point, even more oddly, because his daughter was at nursery with my son, but that is another story ….)

Qantas A380 refurbished First Class seat

These will not see major changes.  We are promised a bigger IFE screen (17 inches) and changes to the materials and cushioning used, but the seat will still look the same.

Qantas A380 refurbished first class seat

Qantas is also introducing a lounge at the front of the cabin on the upper deck.  It isn’t a full bar, by any means, with Qantas choosing a layout aimed at business class passengers who want to sit together and work during the flight.  Drinks and snacks will be self-service.

Qantas A380 new lounge

Business Class

This is where we see the biggest change.  The existing Skybed seats have been ripped out and replaced with a version of the Business Suite used on the Boeing 787 fleet.  Very nice it looks too.

Qantas A380 new business class

The key change is that every seat will have direct aisle access for the first time.  You will recognise the alternating left/right seat layout from various other airlines including Iberia and Finnair, which will see your feet disappear under the back of the seat in front.

Qantas a380 new business class

There is also a substantial increase in the size of the IFE screen, from 12.1 inches to 16 inches, and more storage space.  There will be 70 business class seats compared to the current 64.

Qantas A380 new business class

Premium Economy

The Boeing 787 Premium Economy seat will also appear on the A380.

Qantas A380 new premium economy

There will be 60 seats in a 2-3-2 layout.  Business Class and Premium Economy will be on the top deck, with First Class on the lower deck.


Overall I’m very impressed with what Qantas is offering here.  I genuinely can’t see any reason – unless it is substantially cheaper – to take British Airways over Qantas to Sydney once the refurbishment is complete.

Both flights hub via Singapore, both flights earn you Avios and tier points, but Qantas will be offering a far better quality of seat in both First Class and Business Class.  Hopefully I will able to take a look in the flesh when it arrives at Heathrow.

how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (July 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

We also recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (69)

  • BSI1978 says:

    OT but no Bits today and is Qantas related. I was hoping to book a flight to Chennai with them (and then end up flying Emirates on the A380). I can see via Expedia that this option exists as it has a QA flight number but the price is very, very punchy.

    This option does not then seem to be coming up on the main Qantas website. Is there any reason for this or am I doing something wrong. Clearly BA offer a direct flight but I was hoping to avoid them but still accrue some points!

    • Gomigo says:

      Qantas are code share partner with Emirates hence you see tickets are sold by Qantas for the same route but they don’t operate flights between to & from Dubai. You can do Emirates, Qatar, Etihad on this route but Emirates is clearly the winner as they operate B 777 on the 2nd leg which is more convenient to Qatar and Etihad who placed their A320 & A321 on ME to Chennai leg.

  • will says:

    Avios in either business or first to SYD are like hens teeth.
    You might well be better flying to SIN or HKG on BA (assuming you have a 2-4-1) and then onwards to AUS with qantas. This would give you more flexibility in terms of destination.

    Perhaps try playing with this even, BA to SIN, qantas to Australia, cathay to HKG then BA/cathay return:

    Or if you’re GGL use a joker 😉

  • Noggins says:

    I’ve come to the comments to see what the answer was to why, in the final picture, the premium economy seats are shown so impossibly close to each other. Please tell me that shot is not accurate!

    • flyforfun says:

      The angle probably doesn’t help, but it’s accurate in the sense that once the person in front reclines, it can be a bit of contortion act for the people behind to get out, particularly the window seat.

      • Jk says:

        Yes unfortunately they are way too close together. It was probably a good seat until the accountants squeezed an extra row in.

        • Lady London says:

          I remember practically having to ‘do the limbo’ under the reclined seat in front of me, making my way out of a window seat in Premium Economy when BA kindly upgraded me on the way back from SFO!!! There is very little room between seats.

          It was so much better than Y though, I was grateful for the upgrade and defo gave BA a few flights more than I had to on short haul, later that year as a thank you for it.

  • Neil says:

    This is a great move by Qantas. Having flown their business class seat on the 787, I welcome the refurbishment on the A380.

  • Scottydogg says:

    How do you book Qantas from Heathrow to Singapore on Avios , will it show up on BA executive club . Or is it one of them where you have to find the avalibilty and then phone BA to try and book it ?

  • Guesswho2000 says:

    The J improvement is a big one, the suites are already on a lot of QF’s A330s, even between MEL-SYD, and I love it. I’m always disappointed if I get stuck with Skybed, as I did HKG-MEL a few months back!

  • Sandra says:

    Has RubyCroftoon hijacked this site? Rob?

  • The Lord says:

    The Qantas search tool is great for finding oneworld availability but do you know if there is a way to exclude Emirates and China Southern from the results? Assuming that it is not possible to use Avios booked via BA on these airlines and that their codeshare is with Qantas rather than wider oneworld?

    • Alan says:

      Didn’t know about China Southern link-up but QF points can definitely be spent on EK flights (probably one of the best uses of them TBH – I’ve got a 160k stash that I’m considering using for that purpose!)

      • The Lord says:

        Any easy way of earning them from the UK? SPG possibly?

        • Alan says:

          Yep, QF points transfer at a 3:1 ratio from Marriott Rewards so good to top-up.

        • guesswho2000 says:

          Bear in mind QF redemptions are pretty points hungry and their charges are pretty steep – QF points are ridiculously easy to earn in Australia (like 100k for a credit card signup easy) so it’s not such a problem here, but I wouldn’t waste Marriott points on them, unless you want to redeem on something only QF points can get. They are good for EK, better than EK’s own miles, but IIRC Alaska Airlines used to be a better option for redemptions on EK, not sure if that’s still the case.

          • Alan says:

            Sadly weren’t that easy to get – to me a few cc churns to reach 160k in 2015! Mind you Amex wouldn’t consider me due to the visa I was on so was sick having to use other providers.

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