Qantas' first refurbished Airbus A380 to enter service next week
Qantas has been working on refurbishing the interiors of its 12 Airbus A380 aircraft. Now, the first updated A380 will begin operating Qantas' flagship LondonHeathrow to Sydney route via Singapore, starting next week.
As previously reported by TPG, the refurbishment means a big upgrade for business-class passengers who are used to an older-generation Skybed MK2 in a 2-2-2 layout on the airline's A380, with minimal storage and privacy.
U.S. travelers should keep an eye open for updates, too. Qantas' A380s currently fly from Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles, two gateways where the refurbished A380s will be sure to be a welcome change for business-class passengers.
In the updated cabin, business-class passengers can enjoy the same fully-flat, 1-2-1 configuration "Business Suite" with direct aisle access for every passenger — the same seat as found on Qantas' Boeing 787 aircraft.
Qantas is keeping its first-class cabin on the A380, and these seats will receive only a minor refresh with new cushions and larger IFE screens. However, the cabin layout and seat design will remain the same. The premium-economy cabin will receive the same seats as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, including the same relatively tight legroom. The economy cabin will only get new cushions and improved IFE.
Because of the time the aircraft will take to operate the long journey between Australia and the UK, with only one aircraft refurbished so far, Qantas can not yet operate the updated interior with the new products on all daily flights on this route. Executive Traveller reports the aircraft will operate the following services next week, noting this remains subject to change:
- Sept. 30: QF 2 (LHR - SYD)
- Oct. 2: QF1 (SYD - LHR)
- Oct. 3: QF2 (LHR - SYD)
- Oct. 5: QF1 (SYD-LHR)
- Oct. 6: QF2 (LHR - SYD)
- Oct. 8: QF1 (SYD - LHR)
- Oct. 9: QF2 (LHR- SYD)
Qantas is aiming to refurbish one A380 per month, so the project should be complete in around 12 months. The easiest way to tell if you are on a refurbished aircraft is to check the business-class seat map — the yet-to-be refurbished aircraft will be six across, while the updated aircraft will be a staggered 1-2-1 across. You can read our guide on how to read an aircraft seat map here.