Following Qantas' decision to delay the delivery of its next batch of Airbus A380 superjumbos, the Red Roo has finished refurbishing the first of the Boeing 747-400ER planes that it will keep.
The first of the refitted planes headed on the Brisbane-Los Angeles route last week. Here's what you'll find on board.
These are the newest 747s in Qantas' fleet, and are, on average, around ten years old -- so due for a refresh.
The refurb is mostly good news for the business traveller, since the older angled lie-flat first generation Skybed seats have been replaced by the second generation fully flat version.
Not sure why fully flat beds are better than the older angled lie-flat version? We explain it all in our article on the lie-flat lie.
There are some downsides too -- especially for top tier Qantas Frequent Flyer members, who no longer get the first class seats for business class prices, and we predict longer queues for fewer loos per passenger on the long-haul routes these planes fly.
Surprisingly, you'll find fewer business class seats on this new layout: down from 66 to 58 seats.
However, those seats do now come in the nose of the plane: fourteen second-generation fully-flat business class Skybeds have replaced the 14 first class seats in the nose.
The more spacious 14 first class seats (which all had direct aisle access) used to be handed out for free to top-status Qantas Frequent Flyer members, who appreciated the benefit of a more comfortable and private seat, though with regular business class service. Here's what the nose section looks like now:
A top pick towards the front of the plane are seats 5B and 5J, which are aisle seats without a window seat next to them. Those -- and the aisle pair 3E and 3F -- are the only business class seats on the plane that have aisle access without a window or middle seat passenger next to you.
Also gone are the first class lavatories and galley behind the nose section, meaning that although it'll be a slightly longer walk from the nose to the three loos behind row 8, you'll have less noise and disruption in the nose.
Downstairs behind the nose is the unpopular 2-3-2 layout: avoid those middle E seats if you can, since you'll have to clamber over the aisle passenger to get out, without the benefit of a window seat in compensation.
Here's what that section now looks like:
On which lavatorial note, you'll probably want to make sure you head for the loo early to freshen up before arrival: with just three lavatories downstairs between 40 business class passengers, expect queues.
Upstairs on the upper deck, you'll find six fewer business class seats: down to 1.8 from 24. A lavatory has also been pulled out of the upper deck. Upstairs now looks like this:
The new configuration has 36 premium economy seats, down from 40. The configuration is still the same: a 2-4-2 layout, which is standard for the 747, but has an extra seat across compared with the 2-3-2 layout on the A380.
Premium economy has moved slightly further forward in the plane, and is now entirely over the wing. That means a less bumpy flight, but less of a view from the window seats.
Gone, unfortunately, are the favoured row 36 exit row seats with their unlimited legroom, replaced only by bulkhead seats.
There are, however, two seat pairs on the left hand side, in rows 34 and 35. While the bassinet crib position (and a lavatory) are found immediately in front, they'll be a good option for getting off the plane first and for not having aisle passengers next to you.
If you're at the back of the bus, you'll find an extra 83 fellow passengers in economy, for a total of 270.
Economy now starts roughly where Premium Economy used to, halfway back on the wing.
There's a useful little two-row economy cabin at rows 43 and 44, which will cut down on some of the noise of the larger cabins. (However, the bassinet crib positions are at row 43, so if you're sensitive to noise you might want to aim for row 46 and back instead.)
The central galley kitchen area has shrunk significantly, meaning that the back cabin from rows 58-75 will now feel even larger. The old exit row seats at row 58 have been lost to a side galley too.
On the plus side, you'll find an extra row of the twin-pair seats as the plane's fuselage narrows at the very back.
Those seat pairs are a top pick in economy because there's a bunch of extra storage at the side for the window seats in row 69, which is very useful for stashing your carry-on bag during the flight without compromising on legroom.
Since there's no middle seat, you'll also only have to clamber over the aisle passenger to get out.
We'll be bringing you more on the Qantas 747 refit as news comes in. For the very latest, follow us on Twitter: @AusBT.
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.