Qantas has rolled out the first of the newly refurbished A380’s, with two more due to be completed by the end of the year.
The first aircraft is already operating on the London-Singapore-Sydney route. All twelve A380’s will be upgraded by the end of 2020.
It’s an extensive work package taking a full 8 weeks to transform the interiors.
There’s been a deliberate change to the upper deck, making it an entirely premium product experience, with 14 first class, 70 business (+4), premium economy is up to 60 (+35) , and economy seats have dropped to 341 (-30).
The growth in premium economy is a clear indicator on where profit lies and where demand has moved. Customers are happy to pay for wider seats with more leg room and better catering. it’s a major selling point that seems lost on Qatar Airways, but is about to be embraced by Emirates starting at the end of 2020.
The upper deck lounge is either side of the grand staircase with plenty of socialising space for those who feel the need to prise themselves away from their first or business class seats.
Economy seating – well it’s economy seating, lost of it, small and relatively cramped.
Even the new premium economy has come in for some criticism as being not especially generous in the leg room department.
These things matter on ultra long-flights from London to Sydney and they’re going to matter even more when Project Sunrise takes off – non-stop flights to Sydney from London are going to have to think more than ever about passenger comfort.