Qantas announces new cabin upgrade plans

Sick of those cramped, seemingly ancient economy airline cabins? Well, we’ve got good news.

Today Qantas announced a whole lotta’ cabin upgrade plans for its fleet of 12 Airbus A380s.


To improve passenger comfort obviously – especially on those 26-hour flights to Europe every single young Aussie takes each winter.

The announcement was made alongside a Melbourne Domestic Lounge and an evaluation of new ultra-long range Qantas International aircraft in Qantas’ full-year results this morning.

The results also showed that Qantas’ performance was down over eight per cent from last year – but that didn’t stop them from making a tidy underlying profit of over $1 billion before tax.

The multi-million dollar A380 upgrade will make all your wildest airline dreams come true: upping the premium economy seat count as well as removing some regular ol’ economy seats to put more of the aircraft space to more effective use.

Qantas Dreamliner Premium Economy

Qantas Dreamliner Premium Economy

This change-up in the seats on the super jumbos is set to meet increased customer demand for premium cabins. This is specifically on flights to the US, Europe and Asia – because more and more Aussies want more leg room and comfier seats if they have to be on a plane for more than five hours.

On the upper deck, a crew workstation and some partitions will be rearranged – making room for six more business class seats and increasing premium economy seating by 27 per cent (25 seats).

Take a look at the full list of the A380 refurbishment program, straight from Qantas itself:

  • Replacing Business Class Skybeds with the latest version of Qantas’ Business Suites, dubbed ‘mini First Class’ by frequent flyers. Every seat gives direct aisle access and allows better use of cabin space compared with the Skybed.
  • Installing the airline’s all new Premium Economy seat in a 2-3-2 configuration. This seat is almost 10 per cent wider than the model it replaces and will debut on the Dreamliner later this year.
  • Reconfiguring the front of the A380’s upper deck to redesign the passenger lounge to provide more room for First and Business Class customers to dine and relax.
  • Enhancing First Class, which remains in its current configuration on the lower deck. Each suite will be fully refurbished, including contoured cushioning and a larger, higher resolution entertainment screen.
  • Updating Economy with new seat cushions and improved inflight entertainment.
Qantas A380 upper deck lounge

Qantas A380 upper deck lounge

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the upgrade was a major investment, but that customers loved the A380.

“We’re seeing increased demand for Premium Economy and Business Class on the long haul routes that the A380 operates, including from people using their Qantas points to upgrade. When more travellers experience these new seats, we expect that demand will keep rising,” he said.

“Working with Airbus we’ve been able to achieve a very efficient layout on the upper deck. Using this space to increase the proportion of premium seating improves the revenue potential and the overall economics of the aircraft,” he added of the new upgrades.

Qantas is also continuing its efforts to try and eventually offer super-fast Wi-Fi on it’s international routes – and intends to be the first Aussie airline to do so.

The A380s will also be flying more regular routes to Asia – with some elements of the upgrade due to be rolled out later this year.

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