Qantas refreshes Boeing 747 first class

Qantas refreshes Boeing 747 first class

Qantas is retiring its oldest Boeing 747s as the new Boeing 787s arrive, but that hasn't stopped one of the jumbos from getting a surprise refresh of its first class cabin.

Only two of Qantas' remaining Boeing 747s still sport first class in the nose of this Queen of the Skies...

... with 14 suites which are quite a 'blast from the past'.

While those suites aren't sold as first class, which now exists only on the Qantas Airbus A380s, they're mainly offered to top-tier Qantas Frequent Flyers (PlatinumPlatinum One and Chairman's Lounge members) booked into business class.

Now one of the oldest jumbos in the Qantas fleet (registration VH-OEB, which began flying in 1993 and first carried the Qantas colours in 1998) has received a first class refresh.

The Airline Hub Buzz website has shared these photos of the revamped first class cabin, which reportedly made its debut yesterday on the QF27 flight between Sydney and Santiago.

The new seat padding and coverings, fresh carpet and gussied-up cabin fixtures certainly transform the cabin from what it looked like before this make-over.

Here's another 'before' photo...

... and the 'after' shot.

Airline Hub Buzz claims the primary reason for the refresh "would be that the aircraft will be used by Constellation Journeys, an established travel company, for a private 'round the world' charter" from April 2018 which will see these seats once again sold as first class.

In addition to Sydney-Santiago flights, other routes which most see these classic Boeing 747s include Tokyo and Johannesburg – so if you've got status on your side, check your seating options online and see if you can snare one of these first class suites in rows 1 through 4.

Qantas won't be rolling out this refresh to its oldest Boeing 747-400 (registration VH-OJM), which the airline expects to retire in the next few months.

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.
 

26 comments

  • Dean

    deany83

    29 Apr, 2017 08:19 am

    That's a smart refresh Looks great 
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  • reeves35

    reeves35

    29 Apr, 2017 09:08 am

    Constellation must pay serious money for QF to bother to do this.

    Hate to be an nerd, but the photo chosen of the 747 is actually a 747-300 not a 747-400.
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  • eminere

    eminere

    29 Apr, 2017 10:10 am

    Yep, and yet it's always used for some reason.
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  • David Flynn

    David

    29 Apr, 2017 07:29 pm

    It's used because it's a decent-looking PR photo of a Qantas Boeing 747 supplied by Qantas PR. Happy to consider any other suitable copyright-free images of a Qantas Boeing 747-400 if people here want to send that shot to david@ausbt.com.au for consideration and can attest that they are authorised to offer that photo for such use.

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  • eminere

    eminere

    29 Apr, 2017 07:33 pm

    David, you do realise Qantas has a News Room site with an image gallery, right?  And it contains a perfectly good image of a B744: www dot qantasnewsroom dot com au au/gallery/qantas-and-american-airlines/
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  • David Flynn

    David

    29 Apr, 2017 07:40 pm

    Of course we know that, we're there often to grab images; I just don't fancy the particular image there.
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  • lind26

    lind26

    29 Apr, 2017 09:23 pm

    My fondest memory is a 300 flying Mel to Per upstairs in Business. Tons of room and great service.
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  • undertheradar

    undertheradar
    Banned

    29 Apr, 2017 10:13 am

    Maybe QF/Constellation have more planned charters? OEB could become a charter aircraft for QF, earning a bit more revenue for QF. Good brand awareness having a QF 'tail' at non QF ports. Never underestimate the power of a 'logo' :)

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  • mviy

    mviy

    29 Apr, 2017 10:44 am

    When I saw this headline I thought maybe QF was doing this to fly the 747 from MEL to DXB instead of the A380... That would've been an interesting option.
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  • juicedpixels

    juicedpixels

    29 Apr, 2017 12:24 pm

    I sat in one of these coming back to BNE from LAX about a year ago. I haven't seen it on this route ever again so maybe it was temporary. 

    I didn't realise until I was on the plane. Just as well as the business seats on these planes are sub-par compared to the B747 with A380 seating. 

    The first seat/bed, even before this latest refresh, was still very nice. Slightly longer than the A380 Business beds. 
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  • moa999

    moa999

    29 Apr, 2017 07:34 pm

    Looks like this was done in SYD in under 7 days.
    One does wonder why this wasn't done earlier given the likely life left on the aircraft
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  • QFcrew

    QFcrew

    2 May, 2017 09:00 am

    It wasn't done earlier as these 2 aircraft were planned for disposal. As fuel price has fallen in the last few years it became economical to keep them despite the maintenance costs. 
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  • lind26

    lind26

    29 Apr, 2017 09:22 pm

    Why is the oldest one getting a refresh? Wouldn't the youngest come first?
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  • moa999

    moa999

    29 Apr, 2017 11:34 pm

    Only two 747s with F.. OEB is the youngest starting life with Asiana in 93 then Qantas in 98.
    The other aircraft OJM was a 91 delivery. It's expected to be retired mid-year 
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  • Joe

    Joe

    30 Apr, 2017 10:37 am

    So I imagine OEB will be around a few years yet. Doing Constellation Charters(which are 1-2 per year?) Rest of the time ploughing Santiago/Joburg routes? Always a treat flying in of those 2 birds in old F cabin. Very civilised indeed:)

    PS will the J class seats on OEB get an upgrade to MkII? They will have plenty lying around after they start refurb of 1st A380 ?
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  • QFcrew

    QFcrew

    2 May, 2017 09:05 am

    There is no plan for the above. The Mark II seat takes up a lot of space at 80" pitch. If you look at the reconfigured jumbos 14 first class was replace by 14 J class. That included having to remove the first class galley. 
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  • mviy

    mviy

    3 May, 2017 03:06 pm

    That shows QF should have just put in new F seats and made it an Emerald City.

    If they were to put new J seats in the 747 now one would think they'd use similar seats to what they're putting on the 787.
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  • mviy

    mviy

    3 May, 2017 03:06 pm

    But considering the age of the 747 I doubt they'll do that.
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  • Dante Giacomin

    danteg

    1 May, 2017 01:15 pm

    I'm planning to fly to Johannesburg next April and now hoping I can sneak a seat in the new first class cabin. Hoping my gold status will be enough.
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  • grov

    grov

    1 May, 2017 02:50 pm

    I've travelled in the seats as a lowly silver, and my wife managed to score a seat there with bronze, so your gold may suffice.
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  • Nick  Sydney 348

    Nick Sydney 2

    1 May, 2017 02:57 pm

    It's great that the venerable Queen has a bit more life left in her but the end must be in sight. 
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  • Graham Steele

    steeleg

    1 May, 2017 03:19 pm

    I came back from JNB (QF64)  just before Easter on this layout, very nice. I prefer the single window seats. 
    Crew service was good but the food servings quite unimpressive.  
    Pre seat selection for my wife and I was OK going over but twice now coming back the seats have been changed to a less preferential one, 

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  • brela13

    brela13

    1 May, 2017 04:41 pm

    Flying Syd -JHB 15 June and pre-booked old First Class Seats 3E/F..Hope it is refurbished with the latest seats. Last year flew same route and had old First Class 4K... very dated but oh so comfortable.
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  • Flying Fish

    AWA2602

    1 May, 2017 10:35 pm

    Had the pleasure of flying SCL-SYD recently and was delighted to find my SO and I had been assigned 1A and 1K and that the row 2 was entirely empty. Very much like a private jet experience. As always the QF service and F&B offering was top notch and even though the seats are quite dated we both found them very comfortable and step up from the SkyBed MkII.
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  • anthony watts

    anthony watts

    1 May, 2017 10:49 pm

    I managed to get one of these olf 1st seats sfo to sydba few months ago. They may be old, but the sheer amount of space was amazing!
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  • tlukec

    tlukec

    13 Oct, 2017 05:30 pm

    Just to clarify, in the refurbed non-F 747s they've managed to put 14 J seats where 14 F seats were because they have the extra space that the original FC galley took up (now removed)? I was trying to work out how it could a 1:1 swap space-wise!
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19 Jul, 2019 10:14 am

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