Take a look at the new Qantas A380 cabins, just launched and flying to Heathrow

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Back in January we reported on the new look Qantas was giving its A380 fleet. Qantas received its first A380 back in 2008, and a lot has changed since then! This is a full overhaul, designed to update flagship aircraft to 2019 standards.

The first refurbished aircraft was meant to fly again in March, but as with many aviation projects it took longer than anticipated. The good news it that the first of 12 is now ready and flying in the Qantas route network, including occasionally to London. The remaining aircraft will be completed by the end of 2020.

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.

What can you expect on the refurbished Qantas A380?

Business Class and Premium Economy will be on the top deck, with First Class on the lower deck with economy at the rear.

First Class:

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

Qatnas refurbished A380 first class

The shell of the seat has remained the same, although Qantas has changed the cushioning and the seat finishes as well as adding a larger, 18″ high resolution IFE screen (up from 17″ so not a massive change, but the resolution should be a big improvement!)

Qatnas refurbished A380 first class

Onboard lounge

Qantas has also introduced a lounge at the front of the cabin on the upper deck, for first and business class passengers. It is similar in concept to the new ‘Loft’ area on Virgin Atlantic’s A350s albeit considerably larger, with various seating arrangements with tables designed for passengers to sit and work or chat together. If the ‘Loft’ is anything to go by this will be very successful for passengers travelling in pairs or groups.

Qatnas refurbished A380 lounge
and
Qatnas refurbished A380 onboard 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 Qantas Business Suite used on the Boeing 787 fleet.  It looks very good.

Qatnas refurbished A380 business suite

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.  It will see your feet disappear under the back of the seat in front, as is now almost always the standard.

Qatnas refurbished A380 business suite

There is also a substantial increase in the size of the IFE screen, from 12.1″ to 16″, and more storage space.  There will be 70 business class seats compared to the current 64. You also get better power and connectivity options.

Premium Economy:

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

Qatnas refurbished A380 premium economy

There will be 60 seats in a 2-3-2 layout, almost double the amount previously. You get a 13″ screen (up from 11″) as well as around 10% additional seat width, USB and power outlets and a self-service snack bar.

Qatnas refurbished A380 premium economy

Conclusion

Overall this refurbishment looks like a clear improvement.  There is no reason – unless it is substantially cheaper – to take British Airways over Qantas to Sydney once the refurbishment is complete, given that Club Suite is unlikely to be flying this route for a long time.

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 (unless it’s the new Club Suite, which is more competitive).  We are hoping to see it in the flesh at some point and will report back when we do!

If you are keen to try out the new seat ASAP, it is aircraft VH-OQK. You can track it on flightradar24 here – it appears to be shuttling between Sydney and London on a regular basis.

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Comments

  1. Mr(s) Entitled says:

    Economy remains untouched?

    • Unfortunately not. The small economy cabin upstairs at the back is disappearing to make way for more seats in business and premium economy. This is a favourite with Qantas FFs travelling in economy for it’s small cabin atmosphere, seat layout and customer service and will be sorely missed.

      Otherwise apparently only new seat cushions in economy and IFE enhancements.

      • +1, enjoyed the economy upper deck on many flights and sad to see it going. I’ll probably avoid QF A380 in Y from now on. PE may be interesting though even with these improvements it will probalby be too expensive for what it is.

        I would much prefer to take LHR-PER on 787 (and bring on LHR-SYD direct) if they ever drop the price.

      • Michael C says:

        Just reserved these on points HKG-LHR: upstairs, at the back, grand total of 89 GBP for 3 people!

  2. memesweeper says:

    The Premium Economy looks fantastic … maybe just the camera lens/angle making the seats appear so wide.

    • ankomonkey says:

      About 6 years ago I was flying premium ec for work with BA quite a lot. On a trip to Sydney, I ended up on a Qantas A380 in premium ec and found it far superior to BA (and to VS which is often praised for its premium ec offer).

  3. insider says:

    there doesn’t look like there’s much storage space in the new First

    • The “new” first is essentially the same seat with new textiles and screen. Storage space is probably about the same…..

      • guesswho2000 says:

        Correct, and storage in QF F is not an issue, there’s all sorts of compartments and cupboards you can put things in.

  4. Iberia does not use alternating left-right seating in J (which is what Finnair have), but rather full aisle-honeymoon seats.

  5. The PE seats have astonishingly little legroom and have been heavily criticised on the 787s. Buyer beware…

  6. This looks great but not for travelling in pairs. Can Rob do an article on the best seats for two? 🙂 Particularly with a window seat 😳

  7. guesswho2000 says:

    This is good news, Skybed II has been long in need of replacement, to the point where A380 was the one to avoid flying J with QF (even the one remaining A330 with SBII has been refitted). Business Suite is a fantastic J product.

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