PHOTOS & VIDEO: inside Qantas' newly refurbished Boeing 747-400ER

By John Walton, November 17 2011
PHOTOS & VIDEO: inside Qantas' newly refurbished Boeing 747-400ER

Qantas has just completed updating its Boeing 747-400ER planes with brand new Airbus A380-style seats and cabins.

It's a big change from the Red Roo jumbos you're used to -- no matter whether you travel in business, premium economy or economy -- so here's a first look at what's inside.

Since timelapse videos of planes being refurbished are all the rage these days (just search for "timelapse airplane" on YouTube and you'll see what we mean) Qantas has produced its own movie of the old seats being removed and new ones being installed. 

In case your workplace frowns on videos (or blocks YouTube entirely), we've pulled some shots out of Qantas' video so you can have a look. (If your office is more relaxed about such things, you can see the full video at the bottom of the article.) 

Those new seats in detail

At the pointy end, the new second-generation Skybeds have been installed. They're a vast improvement on the old angled lie-flat version: the new seats are further spaced out, fully flat, more comfortable, and with better entertainment.

Why are second-generation Skybeds a good thing for business travellers? We explain it all in our article on the lie-flat lie.

Downstairs, in the nose of the 747, the older versions (and first class in the nose) have been pulled out... be replaced with 14 business class seats in the nose -- including these two centre aisle seats (3E and 3F), which are among our picks for the best seats in business class on the revamped 747:

Upstairs on the 747's hump you'll find them in a 2-2 configuration.

Here's what that looked like halfway through the process of pulling the old seats out and installing new ones:

At the back of the plane, the older economy seats have been removed:

It's impressive just how much bigger those screens are -- which is a big plus for the 15+ hour flight to Dallas/Fort Worth if you're stuck at the back of the bus:

Note that there's also an extra set of those much prized seat pairs at the very back of the plane, which give you extra room when you have a window seat or fewer people climbing over you when sitting in an aisle seat.

If you'll be soon be travelling on of these rejigged jumbos, check out out guide to the best seats to pick in business class on board; and for more on the revamp, here's a rundown of what you'll find on board the refurbished planes.

And if you want to watch the whole Qantas timelapse video, here it is...

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

20 Oct 2011

Total posts 77

Just one question: where was the conversion done?

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 654

conversion done at qantas maintenance facility in  avalon vic

17 Nov 2011

Total posts 27

Any word on which routes they are likely to be rolled out on first? Any way to tell? I am flying SYD - NRT in February and hoping for the refurbished version.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 654

the 1st  (and only) refurb 747 is currently utilised on BNE/LAX ..2nd one should be online before end 2011..and also be used on BNE/LAX..3rd one hopefully online feb 2011..utilisation will spread to SYD/DFW..and SYD/SCL... each aircraft takes about 7-8 weeks to refurb..NRT not a 'priority' at the moment as not really a longhaul flight.. but as we all know..never say never..aircraft can be utilised anywhere on the network! all 9 747 refits are due to be completed by end 2012..


04 Nov 2010

Total posts 670

Can't wait for this to be running SYD-DFW! I'm booked in that flight in February, fingers crossed I'll get a proper flat SkyBed instead of the angled 747 SkyBed seats.

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