Alan Joyce confirms new 'super first class' suites on the way

There'll be no better place to be on a 20-hour non-stop flight.

By David Flynn, October 31 2019

Passengers at the pointy end of Qantas globe-striding Project Sunrise jets will be cocooned in what CEO Alan Joyce describes as a "super first class" suite, with a hint that the design could include sliding doors – a flourish already adopted by many airlines for not only first class but some leading-edge business class suites.

"Given the nature of the routes there is definitely a market for first class," Joyce told Executive Traveller on the sidelines of a demonstration flight of the Airbus A220, which is in the mix for Qantas' regional domestic fleet.

Read: Qantas could buy the Airbus A220, so here's what it's like to fly

"We think it's going to be a super first class, something that is a lot better than any product we’ve ever put in the air," he added. Could this 'super first class' include privacy doors? "I want to save that for another announcement some day," Joyce teased.

Next-gen suites and seats

The Project Sunrise jets – which will be either an Airbus A350-1000 or Boeing 777X – are expected to have a relatively small first class cabin, following a global trend towards reducing the number of first class suites, sometimes purely to rationalise against reduced demand and in other instances to increase the physical footprint of each suite.

Tucked in behind these 'super suites' will be a next-generation of business class, again geared for 18-20 hour flights such as from Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York.

Qantas' revamped A380 first class is still a decade-old design.

Qantas has already completed "a high-level design of what our cabins would look like," Joyce has previously said, with the aim of "redefining" all four travel classes. The airline has also been consulting with seatmakers on their very latest models, including yet-to-be-released concepts, as candidates for when the first Project Sunrise flights take wing in 2022-2023.

Joyce also confirmed to Executive Traveller that Qantas will increase the amount of legroom in economy class on the Project Sunrise jets.

"There'll be more legroom, and a special area for exercise. That's all part of the proposition, this aircraft is going to be designed for 19-20 hour flights."

Qantas has an ambitious non-stop network in mind for its new globe-striding jets.

Qantas' intent to fit all four travel classes to its Project Sunrise fleet contrasts with Singapore Airlines' decision to kit out its long-legged Airbus A350 jets with only business class and premium economy.

But the Project Sunrise jets won't be dedicated to 20-hour non-stop journeys – they'll also take on relatively shorter and more conventional routes to Los Angeles and Asia, especially as Qantas retires its Airbus A380s toweards the end of the next decade.

Not just for the ultra-long haul

“What we have to have is an aircraft that not only can fly Sydney-London and Sydney-New York, and Melbourne-London and Melbourne-New York, but also can be rotated to do Sydney-Hong Kong and Sydney-LA," Joyce told Executive Traveller earlier this year. This is driving Qantas towards a full four-cabin configuration “so that means all of the seats have to be usable for those routes."

The Project Sunrise jets will also come with superfast WiFi capable of streaming HD video, using similar high-speed satellite technology as Qantas' domestic fleet.

In mid-November Qantas will undertake the second of three Project Sunrise 'research flights' with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner travelling non-stop from London to Sydney, and Joyce says he pulled up well after arriving into Sydney on the 19½-hour research flight from New York earlier this month.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce: setting out for the Project Sunrise research flight with high expectations.

"I felt really good – I stayed up all day and went to bed pretty late, and then I had a busy week because that was the week of our AGM so I had to be energised for that, but I felt great."

"We had some frequent flyers on board who do New York-Sydney all the time, and they were saying how much of a difference this was, so  we think we’re onto a winner here," Joyce added.

"We just need to reach an agreement with the regulators and the pilots, and get the (aircraft) manufacturer there with the best deal we can get, and hopefully by the end of the year we can have a positive outcome."

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

no_info

no_info

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 May 2019

Total posts 5

This interview gives the strongest indication that Qantas are likely going with the 777x. An A350 would be a touch small to add a "super 1st class". No surprise here.

oldfolky

oldfolky

02 Mar 2013

Total posts 30

I'm not sure why you would say that. There's only 30cm difference between the internal width of an a350 and a 777x and both well over 5.5m across. More than enough room for 2 2m beds perpendicular to the direction of travel or 3 or 4 beds parallel.

I'd still place my bet on the aircraft that is actually flying today.

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 551

Not necessarily. SQ, EK and EY all have their super first class products upstairs on their A380s and the upper deck of an A380 is narrower than an A350.

Nscott

Nscott

18 Oct 2019

Total posts 9

Exactly. Qantas would be silly to bet on a plane not even flying yet. In my experience the A350 is excellent - very quiet which is heaven to someone with acute hearing.

Chris2304

Chris2304

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 388

Will Qantas refurb the A380s with the PS First Class?

wannabe_wp

wannabe_wp

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Mar 2019

Total posts 10

No.

moa999

moa999

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1377

Very much doubt the A380s will get a new F product. They'll be a few years older, so less life left and I'd think the new direct flights will impact premium demand more than anything else.

If anything, more likely for F to be removed from the A380s and replaced with more Y seats.

Jazzop

Jazzop

02 Dec 2016

Total posts 84

I'd say not. The A380s have sub 10 years left in the fleet. I'd say they'll be gone sooner.

Jazzop

Jazzop

02 Dec 2016

Total posts 84

Two points;

1. In Qantas terms, this means they'll probably do something just under what is currently flying in Emirates, SIA et al right now.

2. Maybe just maybe, project sunrise is not going to be the 777x or A350. Maybe it will be the 789, with additional fuel tanks. With Air NZ operating AKL - NYC with 789s, it's not going to be much more a stretch for the SYD, 2 hrs?

AJW

AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 511

The 789 does not have the passenger capacity to meet Qantas' requirements for 4 class and the pax count. Just look at the count on their current “premium heavy” 789's.

oxy

oxy

03 May 2017

Total posts 19

The QF A380s are having their first (and last) refurb as we speak.

Aidan

Aidan

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 130

Would have been good to see the new first class in the A380's. Would have been a good test and learn to get feedback from its customers before plonking the new ones in project sunrise.

Also be a great way to revitalise the first class brand and product image for Qantas. We would then see a version 1.1 in Project Sunrise like when the A330 business seats got modified before hitting the B787.

Probably wasn't feasible though time and cost wise todo on the A380's.

BLAMEX

BLAMEX

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2017

Total posts 63

The existing outdated F class is way below standards. It is not even a match to so many J class product. Mr Joyce needs to see what the competitors are doing in order to introduce a true 'super first class' product as nothing and I mean nothing QF has launched has been groundbreaking always a lost opportunity. Just look at so many products for F and J today. QF is not even close.

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 551

The more interesting plan will be if Qantas do anything innovative with Premium Economy on Sunrise. They promised a revolution with the 787s but came up with a fizzer; Emirates are promising something different when it introduces its W product next year. A re-run of the 787 W class on Sunrise would be disappointing with an exit row Y seat probably being the better and cheaper option.

Aidan

Aidan

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 130

Agreed this would interesting. I personally would only fly business minimum on such a long flight.

However a heap of travellers would desire some sound economics and comfort of Premium Economy. A hard shell concept with some space for legs to stretch would be a good start. Also a small communal space for passengers to get up from there seat to have an actual stretch.

Will be interesting to see how these flights will be profitable and desirable for passengers.

Great challenge for Qantas.

whoppersandwich

whoppersandwich

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Dec 2017

Total posts 43

It's worth noting that the only airline to deploy a true F class onboard the A350 is MU. Even then it's more of a “premium business”, located within the business cabin. MH and JL run Business Suites and Domestic F respectively. None of these products could compete with the F class onboard the QF A380 let alone the enclosed suites we see on larger airlines, so it will be interesting to see if this becomes another “sleeping berths in the cargo hold” scenario.

If QF insist on a Super First, I don't think it's going to be a fair competition between Boeing and Airbus.

elchriss0

elchriss0

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 581

The key words following the reference to super first class are: "better than any product we've ever put in the air"

QR J Qsuites are already better than any product QF have ever put in the air...

AT

AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 259

Well spotted and technically by this comment they are only benchmarking against themselves.

Why they haven't combined the super F class into relaunch A380 makes you wonder?

180mis

180mis

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 117

elchriss0, I've flown both QF F and QR J Qsuites many times and Qantas F is better, hands down, every time.

bsbtraveller

bsbtraveller

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Nov 2012

Total posts 30

Totally agree. The QR Qsuite is product is nice enough, but when solo flying (as most seem to do in J)I actually don't ‘love' the suite but still ‘love' the QF F product even sans sliding door. QR does win in soft J product comparisons (dine on demand in J is such a great idea) QF F is a great product though.

no_info

no_info

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 May 2019

Total posts 5

I find it extraordinary that my comment gets 7 negative votes and that oldfolky gets 8 thumbs up... So here are the facts.

1. this is about PROJECT SUNRISE - so when oldfolky states "I'd still place my bet on the aircraft that is actually flying today." Doh... no plane flying today is capable of doing project sunrise.

2. The 777x is longer and wider will afford more space for the 4 classes.

elchriss0

elchriss0

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 581

The 778X is also heavier and being bigger means more seats to fill. Also more fuel required to lift the heavier a/c and the 778x might be less efficient on the shorter routes that they want to rotate the a/c through vs the A35J. It's easier for them to fill a smaller A35J vs the larger 778

Pcoder

Pcoder

14 Oct 2016

Total posts 49

Wrong,

The 778 is 69.8m long and the a350-1000 is 73.78m long. Although the 777-9 is 76.7m long it is not a viable aircraft long term as it is at least 26 tonnes heavier than the a350-1000 and with a range of only 14,000km, the passenger load would need to be smaller than it max capacity, making the aircraft unviable.

I've read on other websites, that the estimated cabin area for the a350-1000 is around 330m2, which is about 10m2 larger than the 777-8. This is likely due to the plane being 4m longer.

no_info

no_info

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 May 2019

Total posts 5

And Qantas's CEO has said on numerous occasions that they prefer Boeing product to that supplied by Airbus. For example, the 787 to their A330's. The 737 to the A320 and that the A380's were a poor purchase decision and they want to phase them out. I.E. Qantas are on track to streamline their QANTAS (not Jetstar) fleet to dominantly one manufacturer. They have a much closer relationship with Boeing - fact.

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 551

I think we were having a serious discussion. If you want to start a Boeing v Airbus flame, there are plenty of other websites out there that will satisfy you.

bsbtraveller

bsbtraveller

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Nov 2012

Total posts 30

After an annus horribilis for Boeing and this weeks Australian news, QF may find the court of public opinion favours the Airbus product. Plus it's essentially in the air in a format close to what QF needs and the competition is, well, way off...

GregXL

GregXL

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 401

More legroom in economy? What about more legroom in premium economy? Mr Joyce your PE seat is not comfortable for passengers that are taller than you.

Whosaid

Whosaid

15 Oct 2019

Total posts 3

Bingo, GregXL. Alan Joyce carries on about how comfortable these very long haul flights will be at the "pointy end" of the planes, and how wonderful the 787 is. Tall large people find travelling in the 787 an endurance. They have trouble in the compact business section especially when the beds are laid flat. Not enough leg room. Joyce is smallish and flies at said pointy end, but how squeezy are the 'lower' classes? It beggars imagination flying 20-21+ hours in a 787. Flying in premier economy resembles riding in a Greyhound bus. Heaven help economy passengers.

I detect shades of the Emperor's New Clothes. I hope I'm wrong, but ?????

highflyer

highflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 301

The fact that they want to rotate these long haul "sunrise" aircraft around the network and possibly also fly to regional destinations such as HK / Japan, would suggest there is not going to be much difference between the aircraft. Am not going to hold my breath...

Jedinak K

Jedinak K

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 213

Given QF and AJ's track record of over-hyping their products and releases, I won't hold my breath until they actually show the seat.

bl812

bl812

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 184

super first class already exists with SQ,EK where you have your own private suite-no need to reinvent the wheel! Just go and take a look what they do for a real first class experience-this one is pathetic on the 380-s for sure!Once was enough with them.

Merry

Merry

07 Dec 2016

Total posts 29

Anything that results in additions to an aging, cracking fleet. Frankly I would be happy with a QF Contact Centre that was re-homed to Australia and spoke English! All glitter no substance.

OttoV

OttoV

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Aug 2018

Total posts 46

If the bookings for the J seats on the Melb. to LHR route are any guide, I believe that the provision of F seats and local demand on ‘the still to be identified ‘ plane will be very limited. Six F seats compared with an extra 8/10 J seats, given the marginal price differential, hardly makes any commercial sense. Boost the quality of J, increase their availability on the more popular runs from Aust to the west coast of the USA or even DFW would be a bonus. Few with dollars to spend would want to fly 17+ hours in Y, just as fewer will be occupying the F not withstanding a You beaut super first class suites

ChickenorBeef

ChickenorBeef

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jun 2017

Total posts 26

Yawn. So far behind. We might announce a door on first when these are increasingly becoming common on business.

Joe

Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 387

Point of note. Qantas thinks they offer 'first class'...unfortunately we entertain that by paying for it when it's far behind the QR & SQ experience in terms of premium service. Qantas food amenity kit casual service pathetic lavs and amenities are deluxe business.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Alan Joyce confirms new 'super first class' suites on the way