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Best seats: business class on Qantas' refurbished Airbus A380

By John Walton     Filed under: qantas, business class, Airbus A380, best seats, worst seats

If you're flying in business class on one of Qantas' Airbus A380s, check your seat now: there's a new standard configuration for the Red Roo's superjumbos, and some of the best seats in business class have disappeared.

Australian Business Traveller brought you the news of Qantas' refurbished A380s last week, and after several on-the-plane reports from our readers, we're ready to call the best seats and worst seats on board.

How do you know if you're on the refurbished plane?

First, though, you'll need to make sure this is the plane you're on. In business class, it's easy: there are no business class seats behind row 22, and there are four new seats in row 15.

If you can see any seats behind row 22, you'll want to refer to our best seats guide to the older A380 layout, which will be discontinued over the coming months. 

The Business Class cabin

The business class section stretches most of the way along the top deck of the A380, with eleven rows of fully flat Skybeds in a 2-2-2 layout. (For the uninitated, that's seats A & B to the left of the plane, then an aisle, then seats E & F in the middle, another aisle and seats J & K on the right hand side.)

There are two sections of the cabin: three rows (11-13) at the front, then a set of galley kitchens and lavatories, then seven rows (15-22). There's no middle pair in row 15.

The A380 business class seat is the second generation Qantas Skybed, which extends fully flat (unlike the sloped lie-flat seat on Qantas' older 747s).

With 21.5 inches of seat width, and with 80 inches of pitch separating your seat back from the one in front, it's a great option for business class.

Every seat has a mains power point, plus on-demand entertainment. Window seats also have a side storage compartment. At the very front, there's a self-service bar and a lounge area with a sofa.

The best seats on the plane

Row 11: in a three-row mini-cabin at the very front of the upper deck, and away from the traffic heading for the lavatories and galley kitchens behind row 13, these seats are a good bet -- although they're close to the self-service bar and the business class lounge area, so move further back if absolutely undisturbed sleep is a priority.

Rows 12 & 13: slightly less desirable than row 11 on account of being closer to the four lavatories and the galley kitchen behind row 13, these seats are still a good choice for reduced engine noise. (Update: as you'll see in the comments below, our readers love row 12!) 

15A 15B 15J 15K: these are useful seats if privacy's important to you: with no centre pairs, they feel a bit more separate than in the main cabin. Beware that the galley kitchens are right in front of you, though.

Rows 18-19: right in the middle of the main cabin, these seats are likely to be among the quietest on the plane -- a bonus for getting a good night's sleep.

E & F seats: if you're an aisle fan, pick these centre pairs to avoid having a window passenger climbing over you.

A & K seats: need frequent access to your carry-on? There's a special side bin next to every window seat.

The worst seats on the plane

20A 20K: while every other window seat in business class has a storage compartment next to it, these seats don't, so avoid them if keeping your things close to you is important.

Elsewhere in our series of best seat guides


About John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 26/6/12 by Griselda

According to my boss 12E is the best seat in business class for the solo traveler. It is not next to the restooms or self service bar, the food and beverage service is always early on in the flight, and he doesn't have to climb over anyone, or have anyone climb over him diring the flight.

He sits in 12E for about 10 long haul sectors a year and insists I book it for him.

1 on 26/6/12 by John

Thanks Griselda -- I'll add that one into the guide! Fortunately for your boss, 12E is always a good seat on Qantas' A380s: it hasn't changed in the new layout.

2 on 26/6/12 by Jack A

Thank you very much John, saved my life!

1 on 27/6/12 by John

You're welcome, Jack! Let us know how you go and what you reckon.

3 on 26/6/12 by 521303

Couldn't agree with Grislelda's boss more - any seat in row 12 is best.  Don't know how it works with QFF status but I seem to get the same seat in row 12 each time I fly A380 from SYD to LAX. Row 11 is disruptive (particularly on right side) as the Persor has a little "office" up front and staff are constantly walking through (or downstairs to First).

1 on 27/6/12 by John

Good to know -- our reader in the front cabin is a big fan of row 11 aisles for the extra "nipping out around the aisle person's legs" room. I'll add row 12 to the article, though -- thanks for the tip!

4 on 26/8/12 by emailboy

We're debating between 13JK and 11JK for SYD-LAX.  13JK may get noise and odor from the lavatory behind, but 11JK may have noise and traffic from the lounge.  Advice?

5 on 20/8/13 by Stephen

I have booked seat 16A on the Qantas A380 (SYD - LAX). I have heard that this seat does not have a clear window view, that the window does not line up with the seat, can anyone please confirm if this is correct ?


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