Qantas’ new-look A380s showcase Australian design, fashion and food

by James Wilkinson

The first of Qantas’ refreshed Airbus A380 aircraft – which have been re-designed internally to showcase the best of Australian fashion, design and food – has taken to the skies.

All 12 of the national carrier’s A380 aircraft will be refurbished as part of a multimillion-dollar upgrade, which the airline says will deliver higher levels of comfort and a higher number of premium seats.

The first refurbished A380 touched down in Sydney today (Oct 2) and Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, said the upgrade would benefit customers in every cabin.

Qantas’ brilliant Business ‘suite’ is now on the Airbus A380 and (top) the stylish new-look First class seat

“Australians are used to flying long haul and we know it’s important to make the journey comfortable,” he said.

“We’re very proud to showcase the best of Australian design, wine and food on these services which will provide a step change in comfort,” Joyce said.

Australian designer David Caon has transformed the aircraft’s upper deck lounge, which has been significantly expanded. It now features seating for 10 people on deep green leather couches and wood panelled walls. Customers will be able to order from a range of bespoke snacks and light meals to be enjoyed in the lounge.

Qantas’ new-look Airbus A380s feature a revamped onboard Business Class lounge

The Caon-designed Premium Economy seat, which made its debut on the Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fleet, also features as part of the upgrade. It is a much larger cabin than before and Qantas said “smarter use of space on the A380” has allowed the airline to increase the number of Premium Economy seats from 35 to 60.

The Qantas Business Suite – also found on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and the Airbus A330 fleet – has replaced the Skybed and provides direct aisle access for every passenger.

In total, there is a 27 per cent boost to premium seats, improving the economics of the aircraft and allowing Qantas to respond to growing demand on long-haul flights.

Qantas’ popular Premium Economy seats on the Boeing 787 are now on the A380

At the pointy end, the airline has used the introduction of the upgraded A380 to roll out several improvements for passengers travelling in the airline’s First cabin, including: a refresh of the First Suite with new contoured cushioning and higher resolution entertainment screen; a re-designed Martin Grant sleeper suit in dark charcoal with a Henley neckline and burgundy trim (introduced from November); and new First amenity kits including socks made from bamboo cotton and new skin care products from Australian brand LaGaia Unedited.

The airline said LaGaia Unedited First amenities would launch onboard in November and incorporate a Qantas-signature Australian native scent of lemon myrtle and geranium in a refreshing facial mist, accompanied by a moisturiser and lip balm. LaGaia Unedited products will also be stocked in the First lavatories and from late November, LaGaia Unedited will move into Qantas’ Sydney and Melbourne First Lounge spa facilities.

Qantas chef Neil Perry and his Rockpool team have created a menu of snacks and light meals to be enjoyed by First and Business Class customers in the redesigned upper deck lounge.

Qantas’ new Business Class lounge on the A380 features a self-service bar

Passengers will be able to chose from dishes including dry laska goreng with fishcakes and seared prawns to mushroom arancini in a tomato ragu as part of custom-designed menus for each route.

The lounge also features a new self service bar, while customers will also be able to order signature cocktails including an Australian Negroni with mountain pepper and river mint as well as the Qantas signature gin and tonic with pink grapefruit. Qantas’ A380s will also feature a self-service bar in the larger Premium Economy cabin.

The airline expects to complete the refurbishment of all remaining 11 aircraft by the end of 2020, which will tie-in with Qantas’ 100th birthday celebrations.