Qantas’ first refurbished Airbus A380 to enter service next week

Sep 25, 2019

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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.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 21: A man sleeps in the new business class seat onboard the new Qantas A380 flagship the 'Nancy-Bird Walton' as she joins the Qantas fleet at Sydney Domestic Airport on September 21, 2008 in Sydney, Australia. The Qantas A380 will feature seating for 450 passengers across four cabins and will commence commercial services from Melbourne to Los Angeles on October 20, and from Sydney to Los Angeles on October 24. (Photo by Sergio Dionisio/Getty Images)
Qanta’s pre-refurbishment business class in the A380 (Photo by Sergio Dionisio/Getty Images)

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 787-9 business class cabin.
Qantas 787-9 business class cabin.

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.

Vote for TPG UK’s four-class British Airways review in this year’s Lovie Awards!

Featured image by Getty Images.

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