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Qantas reveals new Airbus A380 layout

By John Walton     Filed under: qantas, business class, Premium Economy, Airbus A380, economy, Skybed

IN BRIEF | Qantas' flagship Airbus A380 fleet will get a makeover next year, with the business class cabin being pared back while 42 seats are added to the premium economy and economy sections.

A Qantas spokeswoman confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that while the swanky 14-seat first class cabin remains at the pointy end, an extra 39 seats will be squeezed into the economy cabin, boosting the 'cheap seats' count from 332 to 371.

Eight of the spacious Skybed II lie-flat business class berths will be dropped from the A380's upper deck (going from 72 down to 64) while premium economy will gain three seats (up from the current 32).

That makes a total of 484 seats, or 34 more than today's A380 tally, with almost all of those allocated to economy.

Qantas will receive its eleventh A380 this week and a twelfth by year's end. These will both be delivered in the same standard configuration as the first 10 superjumbos, with a major retrofit operation in 2012 to update the dozen double-decker jets with the new layout.

This will make 2012 a big year for the big bird, with Qantas also set to trial in-flight internet on a limited number of A380 flights early next year and the possibility of introducing the A380 onto the Sydney-Dallas/Fort Worth service.

More AusBT stories on the Qantas A380

Choosing the best business class seats on Qantas' Airbus A380

Choosing the best premium economy seats on Qantas' Airbus A380

Qantas to begin Airbus A380 flights to Hong Kong

Sydney to New York non-stop? Next-gen Airbus A380 to fly further, longer  

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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.

 

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1 on 24/11/11 by Noob

How are they squeezing these extra economy seats in on the main deck? Will their be a reduction in the size of the First Class cabin, or a reduction in seat pitch? 

Why would 8 business class seats be dropped for an increase of 3 PE seats?

Am I reading this wrong?

1 on 24/11/11 by comcats2168

Good question. In fact, I'm not sure how they will get the extra seats, except if they remove the small business section at the rear of the upper deck, move premium economy upwards and add economy at the rear of the aircraft.  That's the only way I can think of at the moment, but I'm sure Qantas Management have some other ideas...

And no, you're not reading this wrong (at least I don't think).

If it's not on the upper deck, I have no idea (except they remove 6 first class seats at the rear of that section and put economy seats instead in that area, but that doesn't solve the mystery of the 8 business class seats for 3 premium economy seats though, which if economy was all on the main deck, is very confusing to me.

2 on 24/11/11 by Charles

I think you guys need to check the facts on this.

Fitting an extra 39 Econony seats on the current A380 Main Deck would be a big stretch.

I'm hearing through www.traveldaily.com.au that there will be 9 extra Economy seats on the Main Deck, and 30 added to the Upper Deck, positioned behind the Premium Economy cabin. 

That seems logical... ie with 8 less Business class seats and 3 more Premium Economy seats upstairs, there could be space for around 3 or 4 extra rows of Economy up top.

1 on 25/11/11 by David

Hi Charles. We did check our facts, we actually checked with Qantas PR, and they confirmed that Travel Daily (at least in their first tweeted reports) got it wrong – the correct tally for the reconfig, according to QF PR, is the one listed above, which they provided to us and we double-checked before printing. We're awaiting an official QF seatmap with full details of what goes where, although there's plenty of speculation about how the extra seating will be achieved.

1 on 25/11/11 by Charles

Hi David, this has got me curious. So much so I contacted Travel Daily to try find out what they know.

They say they had confirmation from Qantas yesterday that the only error in their story was a "typo" with the number of First class seats mentioned. (They reported 16 seats, when it was actually 14). So they reckon their First class configuration was the only detail that was wrong, and that Qantas told them the rest of their info was spot on.

That fits in with am's assesment I guess. We'll just have to wait and see what airlineroute.net finds out i guess;)

1 on 25/11/11 by David

Hi Charles - all I know is that TD printed some numbers, we called QF PR to ask if a press release was soon to be issued on this (at very last to clear things up); QF PR sounded rather flustered and said TD's numbers were incorrect (we didn't go into specifics about the wrong numbers, as we were only interested in getting the right ones); they gave us the correct numbers, which we read back to them to double-check, and QF PR also called TD with same info, we both tweeted and ran the article with the right numbers and everybody lived happily ever after.

What we don't have is QF PR advice on the layout or a seatmap, just the variation in seat numbers (an earlier version of this article was written in a way which implied layout in relation to the current config, not the revamp, so we've cleaned up the copy to remove any confusion over what goes where).

QF PR hasn't told us what seats will go where, so we're not running anything on that - so yeah, we're all waiting to see what appears in GDS courtesy of airlineroute.net, as that'll likely precede any official QF seatmap!

3 on 24/11/11 by am

Rows 24 and 25 of J are disappearing, and will relocate to the space currently occupied by the 2 J bathrooms aft of the central galley. Two new bathrooms will be fitted at the rear of the J cabin/front of the new W cabin. There will then be 5 rows of W at 7 abreast, then 30 Y seats on the upper deck around the final set of doors (from the current row 36 and back, with some slight galley/bathroom movement at the back of the upper deck) in 2-4-2.

On the lower deck, it's pretty straightforward for QF to either remove a bathroom or some galley space to add 3 seats of window/side seats (with a row number conveniently left out between each cabin to allow them to add rows where necessary). So rows 64 and 78 will be added...

At least that's my assessment (with some help from in the know sources over on a.net!) The recent 744ER's make it pretty clear that QF's not fussed about the cabins being nicely divided up with bulkheads etc any more like they once might have been concerned about awkward division of Y and J having to glimpse W when headed for the bathroom...

1 on 25/11/11 by David

That's a good workup on the seating, AM!

4 on 25/11/11 by Al

This is a strange reconfig! Why wouldn't they add a LOT more premium economy seats instead of just a few, maybe even put a new secondary PE cabin downstairs? Surely there's more profit money in PE than economy which is often sold at big discounts and the more economy passengers you can encourage to upgrade to PE the more you make from PE as well as freeing up more economy seats for the people who HAVE to stick to a budget.

1 on 25/11/11 by am

They've just decreased the W seat count in the 744ER's from 40 to 36, so I think QF are trying to keep W as a secondary product/cabin... In any case, increasing the number of seats available could potentially lead to oversupply which would dilute that extra yeild very quickly. And there's only so many people looking in this market to fill the planes...

5 on 5/7/12 by Nick

80K - BLISS!

Just got back from a trip to the USA.  was lucky enough to select this seat for $20!  it's one back from the emergency row and there's NO seat in front of it!  so it's like being in the emergency row, but you don't have to fork out $160!  woo hoo!

 

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