Qantas Airbus A380s to get two inflight business class lounges

Qantas Airbus A380s to get two inflight business class lounges

EXCLUSIVE | Qantas' revamp of its Airbus A380 will see the superjumbos fitted with two new business class lounges on the upper deck, located either side of the 'grand staircase' which leads down to first class.

The current A380 lounge will go from this always-questionable design...

Marc Newson / Qantas
Concept art for the current Qantas A380 business class lounge (note the fish tank in the bulkhead!)
Marc Newson / Qantas

... to a more social cafe-inspired design with two tables fitted with soft LED lighting surrounded by comfortable padded benches.

This shows elements of an early conceptual sketch by Qantas designer David Caon, but obviously taking into account some real-world constraints such as a whopping great stairway off to the left.

David Caon / Qantas
A concept sketch for the new-look Qantas A380 business class lounge
David Caon / Qantas

On the other side of the stairway, where a small cabin crew office is currently tucked away, a second David Caon-designed nooks will arise. This will include a self-serve minibar for drinks and snacks plus a large video screen for watching inflight movies.

All 12 of the red-tailed superjumbos will roll into the hangar for a tip-to-tail refresh beginning in March 2019, with the entire fleet completed by the end of 2020.

In addition to the two new lounges, Qantas will rip out the A380's decade-old business class and premium economy seats and replace them with the latest business class and premium economy seats from the Boeing 787.

The first class suites will be refreshed rather than replaced, including the fitting of "contoured cushioning" plus a larger HD video display to replace the current 17 inch panel.

Read more: Qantas' first class facelift for the Airbus A380

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

34 comments

  • Jason Bird

    Speedbird

    23 Aug, 2018 09:23 am

    Bet these spaces will hardly be used
    No member give thanks

  • David Flynn

    David

    23 Aug, 2018 10:53 am

    I've used the current A380 lounge a few times, especially when travelling with colleagues or mates, but it's definitely not nearly as passenger-friendly as these new spaces – I expect the new lounges will see much more use.
    No member give thanks

  • David Ferguson

    Flashman181

    23 Aug, 2018 09:30 am

    The current A 380 PE while a bit dated is pleasantly roomy. I wonder if the refit for PE will result in the same mostly disappointing reviews the Dreamliner PE receives
    No member give thanks

  • reeves35

    reeves35

    23 Aug, 2018 11:24 am

    If they don't add some more pitch, it will be as disappointing as the 787. You'd hope they'd have learnt but you'd have your doubts.
    No member give thanks

  • Alex Moris

    Alex Moris

    23 Aug, 2018 09:41 am

    A proper staffed bar area like on EK, Qatar would be more of a wow factor. Will the staircase will be removed? Otherwise there will be limited space.
    No member give thanks

  • David Flynn

    David

    23 Aug, 2018 10:51 am

    The staircase will remain and we believe it's not being replaced by Airbus' new narrow design.
    No member give thanks

  • Geoff Aire

    Geoffair

    23 Aug, 2018 09:54 am

    No way they can remove stairs even the latest A380 designs only slim them to vertical stairways.
    They may close rear UD doors since they're not needed seating under 500 pax, reduced cabin crew too?
    Never used flight bars'though sometimes chat to crew in catering - are they used on EK and QR?
    No member give thanks

  • patrickk

    patrickk

    23 Aug, 2018 10:24 am

    I use it a little bit; just somewhere to sit and stretch. The new added space involves them moving the crew's office desk elsewhere and creating a better space. I have seen people have meetings in the current space so having two tables works well if there are groups that might need to meet, or just chat. Next they will have a booking sheet for it.
    No member give thanks

  • Steve987

    Steve987

    23 Aug, 2018 10:26 am

    It would have been nice to see Qantas Zig against everyone else’s Bar Zag. Why not create a point of difference by putting in a Yoga / Pilates space - ie some kind of exercise area that doesn’t result in sweat stink!

    To Alex’s point, if you don’t do the bar properly then you only suffer by comparison.
    Member who gave thanks

    SteveCF

  • eminere

    eminere

    24 Aug, 2018 05:13 pm

    A yoga/pilates space? Dear god no.
    No member give thanks

  • Robert Eden

    reno

    23 Aug, 2018 10:39 am

    While the revamp completion date is years away,why revamp with a substandard outdated product.
    No member give thanks

  • sgb

    sgb

    23 Aug, 2018 10:42 am

    Instead of two rather bland looking nooks, how about a decent staffed Bar/Lounge.
    No member give thanks

  • MrT

    MrT

    23 Aug, 2018 11:12 am

    Bit of a stretch to call this two lounges - it's still one area with space either side of the staircase like the current layout. It's just a different seating plan.
    No member give thanks

  • reeves35

    reeves35

    23 Aug, 2018 12:28 pm

    It's not Qantas' fault but this area has no windows so will always feel a bit forgotten. THis is why most airlines now use the upstairs for First Class so this forward section can be devoted to oversize toilets/bathrooms.
    No member give thanks

  • moa999

    moa999

    23 Aug, 2018 01:42 pm

    Suspect it also comes down to ease/cost of reconfiguration - would think moving bathrooms isn't cheap.

    I actually think it's a decent space for a lounge and will be much bigger in this new config. Once airborne you don't really need windows (although guess they could have tried virtual windows like EK has in its new centre suites)
    No member give thanks

  • Bob Burgess

    Bob Burgess

    23 Aug, 2018 01:22 pm

    There is presently one lounge in the nose of the A380 to the right of the staircase from business class down to first. There will now be two lounges, one each on either side of the staircase. How's your maths?
    No member give thanks

  • Himeno

    Himeno

    23 Aug, 2018 03:17 pm

    It's one lounge. They are just expanding it and moving the CSMs "office" somewhere else.
    No member give thanks

  • Bob Burgess

    Bob Burgess

    23 Aug, 2018 03:29 pm

    If I have one bedroom in my apartment and convert a sunroom into another bedroom, or wall up the patio and make this into a bedroom, would you say I still have just one bedroom? No, I would have two bedrooms. Two different spaces. It doesn't matter that they have the same function, it matters that they are physically different spaces.
    No member give thanks

  • MrT

    MrT

    23 Aug, 2018 07:20 pm

    But it isn’t walled up, hence one space

    No member give thanks

  • Bob Burgess

    Bob Burgess

    23 Aug, 2018 09:10 pm

    It's divided by two walls and a massive wide staircase!
    No member give thanks

  • Mark  Barbeliuk

    Mark B.

    23 Aug, 2018 03:52 pm

    My experience on A380s with a similar lounge configuration - such as Asiana - find the space a little dark and oppressive and rarely used. Maybe Qantas has some solution but it’s a tough ask. The only airline to turn the odd space into something spectacular is Etihad by using it for The Apartment. That said, it was Etihad’s last hurrah.
    No member give thanks

  • smit0847

    smit0847

    24 Aug, 2018 08:34 am

    What does the CSM do in their onboard office anyway? Fortnightly payroll? Performance reviews?
    No member give thanks

  • eminere

    eminere

    24 Aug, 2018 05:14 pm

    Best comment lol
    No member give thanks

  • David Peach

    DavePlat

    24 Aug, 2018 09:20 pm

    Comment of the week :)
    No member give thanks

  • Jezsteele

    Jezsteele

    24 Aug, 2018 09:48 pm

    Gold
    No member give thanks

  • jtung

    jtung

    24 Aug, 2018 03:28 pm

    The new design still does not look as passenger friendly and as comfortable as the famous bar on the Emirates A380.
    No member give thanks

  • Bob Burgess

    Bob Burgess

    24 Aug, 2018 05:20 pm

    That's probably because the Emirates bar is so much bigger and more open because it's in a completely different part of the A380, it's down the back where there is plenty of room, while Qantas is trying to make best use of two small areas which are an unavoidable result of A380's design. In other words, apples and oranges.
    No member give thanks

  • CWT Traveller

    CWT Traveller

    24 Aug, 2018 05:31 pm

    The EK bar has nothing on the QR bar, that is magnificent!!
    Member who gave thanks

    aviatorpj

  • Alf

    Alf

    24 Aug, 2018 09:27 pm

    This is typical Qantas not looking far enough ahead and being too conservative. If travelling alone I would rather stay in my seat than almost certainly be facing a stranger. Qantas underperformed 10 years ago in the business seat offering for the A380 and are doing so again with this cafe/meeting booth idea. I would rather stretch my legs and prop up a bar any day. EK really have it sorted if you're travelling alone or with someone, as you can use the bar leaners at each side, stand at the bar or sit one of two couches. The drinks offering is impressive, good quality snacks are available and the crew friendly if you're feeling chatty.

    Business people can have their meetings in the lounge before take off (I've never seen anyone use the two business lounges in the Sydney First Class lounge, since it opened) or on a couch at the bar, or sit together and put the screen down.
     
    Pilates and exercise areas be damned. Thinking outside the square, the current lounge could easily be converted into a "Residence" style super first class, or, have three or four zero gravity massage chairs - you could book a 20 - 30 minute slot as you do the shower in EK First Class.
     
    Or how about "book a table" so couples or more could have their meal together. There must be room for say, 8 x two seater tables, two of which could be pushed together for foursomes. Yes, I know, it would take some planning and for safety in the seat and table design, but it's doable. Two sittings per meal - sounds like something I would enjoy if I was travelling with someone.
     
    Come on Qantas - scratch your head for a lot longer before announcing something this dull and come up with something more creative and appealing. Something that sets you apart.
     
    So, thanks, but no thanks, for what is essentially a sofa and a small table with a fridge and a large screen (who gets to pick what's showing?). It just doesn't push any buttons for me at all.
     
    Drink, anyone??
    Member who gave thanks

    JKH

  • Lottie Topspott

    Lottie

    25 Aug, 2018 10:39 am

    Seriously? Why would or should you want to leave your super expensive seat/bed/dining area with inaminute personal service to go and use this space? If any airline really wanted to stand ahead from the rest....put a stand up bar area in ECONOMY.... the that's where the leg stretch is needed! Or like train carriages....have a central area for ALL to go for a bit of a stand and 'have a chat'....
    Member who gave thanks

    JKH

  • Otto Van De Velde

    OttoV

    25 Aug, 2018 10:52 am

    Current ‘retreats’ on the A380 feel like a dentists’ waiting room and barely worth the walk to stretch one’s legs. Any improvement will be worthwhile, even better with a FA serving drinks with a smile?
    Member who gave thanks

    JKH

  • Jason Hamilton

    JKH

    25 Aug, 2018 06:59 pm

    Looks dismal really, like a 50’s cafe banquette seat and table affair minus the wall mounted jukebox device.
    No member give thanks

  • Russjking

    Russjking

    26 Aug, 2018 09:32 pm

    I'm looking forward to the refit. I travel to the UK frequently as a solo so at the moment I avoid QF but will certainly use them if they have decent business class seats.

    No member give thanks

  • Stm Aus

    stmaus

    28 Aug, 2018 02:22 pm

    They might be having better seats in two years, but the competition will still have better service and lower prices.
    No member give thanks

Guest

20 Jul, 2019 07:27 am

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