The first of Qantas’ twelve Airbus A380s has been upgraded and is now back in service with the airline. The refurbished Qantas A380 features refreshed First and Economy seats, as well as brand new Business and Premium Economy cabins.
The new Airbus A380 layout features 70 Business seats – up from 64 – and almost double the number of Premium Economy seats with 60 seats. To allow space for the additional premium seats, there is no longer an upper-deck Economy cabin and the number of Economy seats on the plane has been cut back from 371 to 341. Qantas has also removed an exit door from the rear of the upper deck to make room for more Premium Economy seats.
Here is the new Qantas A380 seat map from the Qantas website:
So, what do the new Qantas A380 cabins look like?
First Class retains the same basic seat design, but there are some minor upgrades to the seat. Qantas is also launching new First Class pyjamas by Martin Grant and new amenity kits from LaGaia Unedited.
The old Business Class SkyBeds have been replaced by the Qantas Business Suites with direct aisle access for every passenger, as found on the Qantas Dreamliner.
Hilariously, Qantas’ press releases still boast that these Business class seats are “dubbed “mini First” by the airline’s frequent flyers”. We’re not aware of anyone outside of Qantas’ own marketing department that calls these seats “mini First”. Nonetheless, the new seats are a welcome upgrade for Business Class passengers.
The new Premium Economy seats are also the same as those found on the Qantas Dreamliner.
The increased footprint of Premium Economy is a sign of strong demand for that class of travel. It’s also good news for frequent flyers looking to use points for a Premium Economy award seat or upgrade, as there are more seats to go around.
Economy class gets a new colour palette and all cabins are receiving upgraded in-flight entertainment systems.
Finally, Qantas has expanded the lounge for Business and First passengers at the front of the upper deck. There is now room for 10 people, and Qantas has created a new snack menu for passengers using this space.
The first flight for the refurbished Qantas A380, VH-OQK, was QF2 from London to Sydney last Monday. The plane was supposed to fly back to London on Wednesday 2 October as QF1, but there was a last-minute aircraft change (much to the disappointment of our moderator Princess Fiona, who was booked on that flight) and the plane is currently operating Thursday’s QF1 service. Over the coming weeks, the refurbished Qantas A380 will fly between Sydney, London and Los Angeles.
Qantas expects two more refurbished A380s to be flying be the end of 2019. As there are twelve Airbus A380s in the Qantas fleet, there is still a good chance you’ll receive the old configuration for the time being. But all aircraft should finally be refurbished by the end of 2020.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Qantas A380 refurbishment news and updates.