The best business class seats on Qantas' refurbished Airbus A380

Flying business class on Qantas' upgraded Airbus A380? Here are the seats to pick, and the ones to skip.

By David Flynn, September 30 2019

The refurbishment of Qantas' flagship Airbus A380 fleet is now underway, with all twelve of the superjumbos in line for a tip-to-tail make-over by the end of 2020

Business class passengers are the biggest winners: the ageing Skybed II seats are being replaced by the modern Business Suite (the same as on Qantas' Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A330s), which means direct aisle access for every passenger; more personal space and storage around the seat; plus a large, lush personal video screen to help you while away the inflight hours.

Make your Qantas A380 business class trip even better by choosing a seat to suit your needs.

There are also two lounges – one either side of the grand staircase connecting the upper and main decks – which have been designed as traveller-friendly social spaces.

One of the two new passenger lounges on Qantas' refurbished Airbus A380.
One of the two new passenger lounges on Qantas' refurbished Airbus A380.

Photo tour: check out what's new in Qantas' upgraded Airbus A380

With 70 business class seats to choose from (up from 64 in the original Qantas A380s), here's our quick reference guide to the prime picks – and a few seats which you might want to reconsider.

Qantas' refurbished A380: the best business class seats

Maximum legroom and footspace 11A, 11E, 11F, 11K, 16A, 16K, 17E, 17F
Best seats for couples Choose any of the paired E/F seats
Window seats 11A, 11K, 13A, 13K, 15A, 15K, 16A, 16K, 18A, 18K, 20A, 20K, 22A, 22K, 24A, 24K, 26A, 26K, 28A, 28K 

Qantas' refurbished A380 seatmap

Start by scanning this seatmap of the refurbished Qantas Airbus A380's upper deck business class cabin (premium economy is located behind the business class cabin).

The seatmap for Qantas' refurbished Airbus A380.

There's a smaller 'mini-cabin' at the front, from rows 11 through 15, ahead of the galley and toilets. It offers a cosier, more intimate vibe than the main business class cabin (rows 16 through 28).

The seats in the first row of each cabin (rows 11 and 16) enjoy more legroom and space for your feet when the seat is converted to a bed, as the recess where your feet nestle is a larger space carved into the bulkhead wall instead of needing to fit under the seat in front of you.

Row 11 offers extra legroom and more space for your feet.

The take-away? If you have large feet or simply want a bit of extra wiggle-room, shoot for seats 11A, 11E, 11F, 11K, 16A, 16K, 17E or 17F.

Avoiding the noise

But there's a downside to those rows, too: the potential for noise to interrupt your sleep.

Avoid the galley kitchens, lavs and proximity to the lounges for the best shot at uninterrupted sleep.

Row 11 is directly behind the two new lounge areas, while row 16 is located just behind the galley kitchen. Also note that baby bassinets are at seats 17E and 17F, so the front rows of that larger business class cabin could be subject to the squeals of infants.

More legroom, but you run the risk of there being a baby on board.

Rows 15 and 28 are close to the business class lavs, which always makes for a bit of foot traffic and noise.

If you're flying with a partner, all of the middle seats (the E and F seats) have a privacy screen which can be pushed down so you can share the journey.

The middle seats (E and F) are well-suited to passengers flying with a partner..

Window or aisle?

The staggered layout of the Qantas Business Suite presents a few twists compared to a more conventional seating arrangement, which in turn makes it paramount for the savvy traveller to make an informed choice when it comes to the new A380 business class.

Qantas' new Airbus A380 business class cabin adopts the same staggered seating layout as the Boeing 787

Looking more closely at Qantas' refurbished A380 seatmap below, only half of the window seats are actually located directly next to the window – the others are closer to the aisle.

The seatmap for Qantas' refurbished Airbus A380.

However, all 'window' seats are labelled A and K: so there's no way of knowing without reference to the seatmap if you'll have the seat's shelf located between you and the window, or between you and the aisle.

Why does this matter? Many people highly value that view on take-off, landing or any time during the flight. These 'true' window seats also feel a little more private because you're a bit away from the aisle.

Fancy a 'real' window seat on Qantas' refurbished A380? You'll need to choose the A or K seats in rows 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26 or 28.

Only half of the new A380's business class 'window seats' are actually right next to the window.

There's a bonus here: you will also have access to the deep stowage bins sitting under the A380's upper deck windows. They're the perfect place to stash your pillow and blanket, shoes, a small bag and the like.

Window seats also provide extra storage in these under-window bins.

The caveat is that sitting directly next to the window means the seat's shelf is between you and the aisle, and 'passengers of size' can find it a little uncomfortable squeezing past that shelf and the rear shell of seat in front of them, every time they leave and return to their seat.

Some business class seats on Qantas' upgraded Airbus A380s are located away from the window.

If you're happy to sit at the aisle and away from the window, select an A or K seat in rows 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25 or 27.

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.

QFP1

QFP1

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 52

Great advice and very timely, thank you! Do we know if the side bins on the upper deck are still there or have they been removed during the refurb? If they are still there then this is another good reason to choose the 'real' window seats.

MBE84

MBE84

03 Oct 2019

Total posts 5

Hi QFP1,

The side bins on the upper deck have not been removed.

modog

modog

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Sep 2013

Total posts 14

How many A380s are expected to be refurbished by the end of the year?

jubbing

jubbing

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 214

If the plan stays at 1 every month/two months then we should at minimum see 2 this year, up to 4

MBE84

MBE84

03 Oct 2019

Total posts 5

Hi modog,

It is expected that 3 A380s will be refurbished by the end of 2019.

Linkson

Linkson

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Nov 2012

Total posts 1

The other big factor for seat choice is those aisle seats with drop-down armrests. With armrest down the bed is slightly wider around shoulders and so much easier to get out of AND you can easily swing legs into aisle when tray is in use. Will choose that convenience every time.

jubbing

jubbing

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 214

If I've booked 2 Biz seats next to the window on the old A380 next year, and we get an update A380, will the new seatmap pop up on the website so we can re-shuffle?

spasquarelli

spasquarelli

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2014

Total posts 17

Me too, great question.

MKS11

MKS11

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 33

You will need to keep checking yourself, especially closer to the time, but yes it will change and you will then be able to move your seat.

markpk

markpk

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 453

I've had a couple of flights on the Dreamliner with these seats and they are excellent. I've typically selected a seat with the shelf between myself and the aisle as I've wanted to create more privacy. I'm kind of rethinking that now as on my last trip (the PM flight BNE-LAX) I found it very claustrophobic when reclined.

I'm going to give the alternative a go

DrSK

DrSK

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jul 2014

Total posts 51

I agree - I had always opted for a 'true' window seat in the past for the privacy offered therein, but none was available on my last flight, and I was pleasantly surprised by the enhanced sense of space offered by the seat closer to the aisle. The shelf to the side of the seat is larger here too, resulting in a more usable workspace.

OttoV

OttoV

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Aug 2018

Total posts 45

Flown this seat to Auckland, as a try on, followed by the Melb. to LHR & return and found them fabulous. Better still the flight experience in this type of seat has made my wife a more committed Qantas flyer, so what not to like.....keep beaming me up Alan!

AWS

AWS

30 Sep 2019

Total posts 1

One thing I noticed that was different to the A330 and 787 is that on this new config A380 the business class seats in the 'K' row are misaligned with the row 'F' seats across the aisle.
So someone sitting in a seat closest to the aisle in a K seat ( e.g. 19K) will be sitting quite close to the person in the F seat (e.g. 19F) and vice versa if you are in a seat closest to the window 20K you will be miles away from 20F.
In the other aircraft A330 and Dreamliner you can rarely see the person sitting opposite you across the aisle.

hakkinen5

hakkinen5

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2014

Total posts 95

David, will there be a media event in Sydney where you can get some pictures? Or are the turn times too tight to allow this? I'm rather surprised Qantas hasn't made a bigger deal of this. Qantas media dept has previously done events for the opening of an envelope. Thought there would be more qantas media hype around this.

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2330

There's a media event in Sydney on Wednesday Oct 2nd, we'll be there and looking to snap some more photos.

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2330

Happy to confirm that the bins running along either side of the upper deck, beneath the windows, remain in place on the refurbished A380s :)

MKS11

MKS11

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 33

The next one in line should be OQL, it's arrived in LHR on 29th and hasn't shown as left, so expect it's on its way to DRS.


MBE84

MBE84

03 Oct 2019

Total posts 5

Hi MKS11,

OQL heading to DRS for a maintenance check only. OQH and OQJ are expected to be the next 2 reconfigured A380s.

AsiaBizTraveller

AsiaBizTraveller

20 Nov 2015

Total posts 59

Check out the legroom in front of row 11 in that photo, this will be the place to be, as long as the lounges just past the bulkhead wall are not too noisy.

pungpui

pungpui

22 May 2011

Total posts 49

Any hints on the best seats for premium economy? Looks like the exit row has now gotten a bulk head, so maybe for PE it's a matter of worse off?


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