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The first of Qantas’ newly refurbished Airbus A380 aircraft took to the skies yesterday complete with a new cabin arrangement, new/updated seats in all cabins and a newly designed onboard lounge area where First Class and Business Class passengers can relax away from their seats.
Qantas has kindly provided us with 16 images of the new A380 interior so this seemed like a good opportunity to introduce you to what Qantas now offers on its refurbished A380 aircraft.
- 6 more Business Class seats (70)
- 25 more Premium Economy seats (60)
- 30 fewer Economy Class seats (341)
- Larger onboard lounge with seating for up to 10 passengers
- New seats (for the A380) in Business Class and Premium Economy
- The upper deck is now entirely the domain of Business Class and Premium Economy passengers – the Economy Class seats that once occupied the rearmost section of the upper deck are no longer there.
Qantas A380 new Seat Maps
Click images to enlarge
Qantas New A380 First Class
Qantas has chosen to make a few subtle changes to its First Class product rather than to go to the expense of commissioning a new seat and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The seat may not have the privacy of a suite (like you’ll find in Etihad’s A380s) but it’s a very popular product with those who know it well.
Qantas has updated the 14 First Class seats with new contoured cushioning, new seat finished and a larger inflight entertainment screen with higher resolution.
Other than that flyers won’t find much to differentiate this seat from the ones found on the unrefurbished aircraft.
Qantas New A380 Business Class
Qantas has ripped out the older SkyBed II seats that were past their “best by” date and replaced them with the same Business Class seats you’ll find on the Qantas 787-9 Dreamliners (reviewed here).
This is a noticeable step up for the A380 as the Business Class cabin now offers a 1-2-1 cabin layout (which gives all passengers direct access to one of the aircraft’s two aisles), a considerably more comfortable seat (both in the seated position and the lie-flat position), a larger IFE screen with noticeably higher resolution and, very importantly, more storage space than the older SkyBed seat.
Based on the new seat maps provided by Qantas (found further up this page) it looks as if the first 5 rows of Business Class form a mini-cabin on the upper deck and, assuming there are no screaming infants located in here, this will probably be the area to chose when selecting Business Class seats.
Qantas New A380 Premium Economy
Just as with the Business Class cabin, Qantas has installed the same seats in the A380’s new Premium Economy cabin as are found in the airline’s Dreamliners…and this is mostly good news.
These seats are pretty comfortable to sit in, they offer a reasonable amount of storage space and they offer approximately an inch more width than their predecessors….but I know some will be disappointed to find out that Qantas is sticking with the 38″ of legroom that it offers across all its Premium Economy cabins.
The best seats in this cabin will almost certainly be the bulkhead seats in row 31 of the upper deck as these should offer considerably more legroom than the remaining seats in the cabin.
All the Premium Economy seats now offer USB ports and power outlets and the IFE screen is improved and slightly larger than the one found on the older A380s.
Qantas New A380 Economy Class
These surprisingly little detail given about the Economy Class cabin in the refurbished A380 and that’s probably because I don’t think Qantas has done very much here.
The seats appear to be the same Qantas Economy Class seats you’ll find on a number of other aircraft the airline operates although passengers may notice that it offers a new color palette and an improved IFE screen (there are rumors of new seat cushions too but I haven’t heard this confirmed by Qantas).
The Economy Class cabin continues to offer the 10-across seating configuration that the aircraft offered before the refurbishment so the legroom on offer remains at 31″ and the seat width remains at 17.5″.
Qantas New A380 Lounges
Qantas has had the space ahead of the Business Class cabin on the upper deck completely redesigned to offer two lounge spaces which will seat up to 10 passengers (from First or Business Class).
On the starboard side of the aircraft (and on your left as you reach the top of the central staircase leading from the main deck) the first lounge space offers two tables with bench seating on three sides.
On the opposite side of the aircraft, passengers will find wraparound bench seating, a small table built into the bulkhead…
…and a small self-service bar.
The large flatscreen at the top of the A380’s main staircase is viewable from all the seats across the two lounge areas…but Qantas hasn’t given details of what this screen will be showing.
I’ve flown in the Business Class seats that Qantas has installed in its refurbished A380 and I like them a lot. As I mention in my review of those seats, some are preferable to others based on their proximity to the aisle and their proximity to the nearest other seat so travelers should be careful when choosing where to sit.
The lounge area looks ok but, although I quite like the wooden finish, the pictures make the area seem a little dark and claustrophobic – we’ll have to hear back from people who have actually visited this space in flight before we know just how nice (or not) it is.
Overall, the changes to the Qantas A380 are probably a net positive for travelers in the 3 premium cabins while the loss of the mini Economy Class cabin on the upper deck will probably mean that the changes are a net negative for those traveling in the entry-level cabin.