The first Qantas Airbus A380, featuring their new cabin upgrades, has commenced service, delivering a new level of comfort for passengers travelling internationally.

First to fly with the new cabin were passengers travelling on VH-OQK on QF2 from London to Sydney via Singapore. The flight is scheduled to arrive in Australia on Wednesday the 2nd of October.

Qantas has invested millions of dollars in performing upgrades to their A380 fleet. With the first aircraft now complete and in service, two more are expected to roll out before the end of the year.

First Upgraded Qantas Airbus A380 Enters Service

All 12 A380s will receive the much welcomed upgrades across their Economy, Premium Economy, Business and First Class cabins. Additionally, these upgrades see Qantas expanding their Premium and Business cabin size.

Smarter use of the space has allowed Qantas to turn the entire upper deck into a premium cabin, with 27 percent more Premium Economy seats. As well as the refreshed First Class product, a refreshed on-board lounge has also been implemented.

First Class

Qantas has only applied some minor changes to their open First Class seats, which has proven that the product is still highly appreciated and with a competitive design.

Adjusting the colour pallet, adding some improved contoured cushioning and replacing the entertainment screen with a larger, higher definition model, the First Class seating looks fresh, but greatly familiar.

First Upgraded Qantas Airbus A380 Enters Service
Qantas new A380 First Class
First Upgraded Qantas Airbus A380 Enters Service
Qantas new A380 First Class

Business Class

A much welcome change to frequent flyers on the Qantas A380s are the upgraded Business Class seats. Replacing the mediocre Skybed II seats are the same Business seats found on Qantas’ 787-9 Dreamliners.

First Upgraded Qantas Airbus A380 Enters Service
Qantas New Business Class on A380
First Upgraded Qantas Airbus A380 Enters Service
Qantas new A380 Business Class
First Upgraded Qantas Airbus A380 Enters Service
Qantas new A380 Business Class

Thanks to the 1-2-1 layout, passengers flying in Business Class now have direct aisle access. Adding to this is the flat-bed functionality without bumps, increased storage space and a larger, higher definition entertainment display.

Qantas has bumped the Business seat count from 64 to 70; with the first five rows recommended due to their placement in their own confined cabin, separated by the galley and toilets.

The remaining 50 seats are situated behind this cabin across 13 rows, as reported by Australian Executive Traveller.

Lounges

Qantas has completely overhauled the design of their on-board business lounge, opting for a subtle, cozy cafe themed space situated near the grand staircase.

The soft LED lighting paired with the table and bench setup and complimented with the wooden panels, presents a relaxing and social space for passengers to enjoy.

A second lounge can be found on the other side of the staircase, which allows three people to be seated and also there is access to a refreshment minibar.

Combining the two lounges is a space for up to ten people, that is all brought together in a bright and open environment with a large entertainment screen.

This floor plan sourced from Australian Executive Traveller provides some insight as to how the lounges are set up:

First Upgraded Qantas Airbus A380 Enters Service
Qantas A380 Lounge Floor Plan (AusET)
First Upgraded Qantas Airbus A380 Enters Service
Qantas Airbus A380 Grand Staircase

Premium Economy

Following the Business Class tactic, Qantas will be introducing the Premium Economy seating from their 787-9 Dreamliner fleet to the Airbus A380.

Situated behind Business and configured in a 2-3-2 layout, Qantas has increased their seat count for this product to 60 – a 25 seat increase over the existing configuration.

Able to be described as a budget Business Class seat, the product features AC and USB power, an improved entertainment display and a personal device holder in case you prefer to entertain yourself with your own content.

First Upgraded Qantas Airbus A380 Enters Service
Qantas new Premium Economy seating on A380
First Upgraded Qantas Airbus A380 Enters Service
Qantas A380 new Premium Economy seating
First Upgraded Qantas Airbus A380 Enters Service
Qantas A380 new Premium Economy seating

Again, citing Australian Executive Traveller, the unfortunate blow for passengers is leg room. Just like Qantas’ 787-9 Dreamliners, the Premium Economy on the A380 lacks for a decent amount of leg room.

This is the most criticised detail in their 787 cabin and one would have hoped for an improvement on a significantly larger aircraft.

Economy

Economy sees another set of minor changes; a revised colour pallet and of course, refreshed and upgraded entertainment displays.

First Upgraded Qantas Airbus A380 Enters Service
Qantas A380 new Economy seating
First Upgraded Qantas Airbus A380 Enters Service
Qantas A380 new Economy seating

Bottom Line

Qantas’ new Airbus A380 cabins are a welcome upgrade over the existing product. The streamlined product means that by the end of 2020 when the airline aims to complete all the upgrades, Qantas will have a modern cabin installed across their entire Airbus A330, A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet.

“The A380 is a crucial part of our long-haul fleet and this upgrade program will see customers enjoy everything the aircraft has to offer for years to come.”

Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas Group

By working closely with Airbus Qantas has been able to drastically improve the economics of the aircraft, whilst retaining the welcoming and premium feel across all cabin sections.

Taking approximately eight weeks to complete, Qantas aims to have all aircraft refurbished by their 100th anniversary.

With all the cabin changes, Qantas’ Airbus A380 cabins are now outfitted with 485 passengers (one more than the previous configuration) comprised of the following:

ClassSeat Count
First14
Business70
Premium Economy60
Economy341

More details of the on-board service will be revealed during a hangar event in Sydney on Wednesday the 2nd of October 2019.

What are your thoughts on the new Qantas A380 cabin upgrades?

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