Video: Qantas unveils ultra-long-haul A350 cabins as Flying Kangaroo returns to New York City

by James Wilkinson

Qantas has unveiled the entire cabin design of its specially designed Airbus A350s that will fly direct from Sydney to New York and London from late 2025 and is set to conquer the final frontier of long-haul travel.

The airline showcased its luxe First and Business cabins in February and has now unveiled the rest of the aircraft interior, including a unique dedicated Wellbeing Zone, Premium Economy and Economy cabins.

Qantas made the unveiling as the carrier returned to New York City for the first time since early 2020 this week with all-new Sydney-Auckland-New York flights.

Work on the cabin design began in 2019 and took tens of thousands of hours to create Qantas’ intuitive A350 cabin of the future which will fly 238 passengers for up to 22 hours nonstop from Australia to almost any destination in the world.

The Qantas Project Sunrise flights will cut down point-to-point travel time by more than three hours compared to routes with one stop.

Qantas will be the first airline in the world to offer a purpose-built Wellbeing Zone located between the Premium Economy and Economy cabins featuring sculpted wall panels and integrated stretch handles, guided on-screen exercise program, a hydration station and a range of refreshments.

The 40-seat Premium Economy cabin and the 140-seat Economy cabin revealed today will have the most generous seat pitches of any Qantas aircraft, ergonomic leg and foot rest systems and personal storage options.

Every seat across all four cabins will feature multiple fast USB-C charging ports and every premium seat will also have integrated wireless charging.

The Qantas A350 fleet will connect customers more than any other with fast and free WiFi, and Bluetooth connectivity will feature across all cabins so customers can connect their personal headset to the individual inflight entertainment screen.

The aircraft will have six large enclosed First Suites designed to feel like a mini boutique hotel room with 2 metre flat bed, dining table for two, separate recliner chair and a 32-inch 4k ultra-high definition touch screen TV.

The 52 Business Suites will feature sliding doors for additional privacy, lay flat bed, large dining table, bespoke lighting and 18-inch 4k ultra-high-definition touch screen TV.

Qantas Group Chief Executive Officer, Alan Joyce, said while the Qantas A350 will have a high percentage of premium seats onboard, most customers will travel in the Premium Economy and Economy cabins so maximising comfort and wellbeing across all cabins was a priority.

“We have spent just as much time on the second half of the aircraft as we did the front, in fact we started studies on the Wellbeing Zone before any other area of the A350,” he said.

“The new Project Sunrise flights give us the opportunity to re-think long-haul travel in its entirety, from aircraft cabin design to what ingredients we include on the inflight menu.

“Reducing the number of seats onboard our A350 to 238 compared to the 300-plus seat layout of other carriers means we not only maximise aircraft performance across long distances, we give our passengers more space and comfort.

“Fewer seats translate to more space for each customer and a dedicated Wellbeing Zone for travellers to stretch, help themselves to a snack and spend time out of their seat.

“We are the only airline in the world that will have a bespoke designed onboard stretch and movement space,” Joyce said.

Australian designer, David Caon, incorporated the research considerations as part of the overall cabin layout and worked closely with seat manufacturers.

He said every detail has been carefully considered from testing thousands of sample fabrics to designing an entirely new Premium Economy seat exclusive to Qantas.

“The Premium Economy cabin has been redesigned from the ground up with a focus on ergonomics, entertainment and privacy,” Caon said.

“The new headrest wings are the biggest visible difference and will provide passengers with both additional support and a sense of privacy without isolating them from travel companions. An upholstered ergonomic foot and leg rest system allows the body to be cradled in recline to better help passengers sleep.

“Economy travellers also have an OLED 13-inch TV screen, foot net and convenient storage space within arms’ reach to store glasses and personal items.

“The team has spent extensive time testing ergonomics, lumbar support and breathability of the seat fabrics in the new Economy seat which will have 33 inches of legroom.

“In both the Premium Economy cabin and Economy cabins, we have redesigned every element of the seats to provide better features as well as a fresh look across the entire aircraft to create a sense of light and calm,” Caon said.