Qantas Airbus A380s to get two inflight business class lounges

By David Flynn, August 23 2018

EXCLUSIVE | Qantas' revamp of its Airbus A380 will see the superjumbos fitted with two new business class lounges on the upper deck, located either side of the 'grand staircase' which leads down to first class.

The current A380 lounge will go from this always-questionable design...

Marc Newson / Qantas
Concept art for the current Qantas A380 business class lounge (note the fish tank in the bulkhead!)
Marc Newson / Qantas

... to a more social cafe-inspired design with two tables fitted with soft LED lighting surrounded by comfortable padded benches.

This shows elements of an early conceptual sketch by Qantas designer David Caon, but obviously taking into account some real-world constraints such as a whopping great stairway off to the left.

David Caon / Qantas
A concept sketch for the new-look Qantas A380 business class lounge
David Caon / Qantas

On the other side of the stairway, where a small cabin crew office is currently tucked away, a second David Caon-designed nooks will arise. This will include a self-serve minibar for drinks and snacks plus a large video screen for watching inflight movies.

All 12 of the red-tailed superjumbos will roll into the hangar for a tip-to-tail refresh beginning in March 2019, with the entire fleet completed by the end of 2020.

In addition to the two new lounges, Qantas will rip out the A380's decade-old business class and premium economy seats and replace them with the latest business class and premium economy seats from the Boeing 787.

The first class suites will be refreshed rather than replaced, including the fitting of "contoured cushioning" plus a larger HD video display to replace the current 17 inch panel.

Read more: Qantas' first class facelift for the Airbus A380

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.

Speedbird

Speedbird

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 281

Bet these spaces will hardly be used

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2334

I've used the current A380 lounge a few times, especially when travelling with colleagues or mates, but it's definitely not nearly as passenger-friendly as these new spaces – I expect the new lounges will see much more use.

Flashman181

Flashman181

11 Apr 2018

Total posts 10

The current A 380 PE while a bit dated is pleasantly roomy. I wonder if the refit for PE will result in the same mostly disappointing reviews the Dreamliner PE receives

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 551

If they don't add some more pitch, it will be as disappointing as the 787. You'd hope they'd have learnt but you'd have your doubts.

Alex Moris

Alex Moris

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2017

Total posts 39

A proper staffed bar area like on EK, Qatar would be more of a wow factor. Will the staircase will be removed? Otherwise there will be limited space.

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2334

The staircase will remain and we believe it's not being replaced by Airbus' new narrow design.

Geoffair

Geoffair

04 May 2018

Total posts 45

No way they can remove stairs even the latest A380 designs only slim them to vertical stairways.

They may close rear UD doors since they're not needed seating under 500 pax, reduced cabin crew too?

Never used flight bars'though sometimes chat to crew in catering - are they used on EK and QR?

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 405

I use it a little bit; just somewhere to sit and stretch. The new added space involves them moving the crew's office desk elsewhere and creating a better space. I have seen people have meetings in the current space so having two tables works well if there are groups that might need to meet, or just chat. Next they will have a booking sheet for it.

Steve987

Steve987

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 254

It would have been nice to see Qantas Zig against everyone else’s Bar Zag. Why not create a point of difference by putting in a Yoga / Pilates space - ie some kind of exercise area that doesn’t result in sweat stink!

To Alex’s point, if you don’t do the bar properly then you only suffer by comparison.

eminere

eminere

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1132

A yoga/pilates space? Dear god no.

reno

reno

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

While the revamp completion date is years away,why revamp with a substandard outdated product.

sgb

sgb

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 745

Instead of two rather bland looking nooks, how about a decent staffed Bar/Lounge.

MrT

MrT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Aug 2015

Total posts 34

Bit of a stretch to call this two lounges - it's still one area with space either side of the staircase like the current layout. It's just a different seating plan.

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 551

It's not Qantas' fault but this area has no windows so will always feel a bit forgotten. THis is why most airlines now use the upstairs for First Class so this forward section can be devoted to oversize toilets/bathrooms.

moa999

moa999

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1377

Suspect it also comes down to ease/cost of reconfiguration - would think moving bathrooms isn't cheap.

I actually think it's a decent space for a lounge and will be much bigger in this new config. Once airborne you don't really need windows (although guess they could have tried virtual windows like EK has in its new centre suites)

Bob Burgess

Bob Burgess

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 184

There is presently one lounge in the nose of the A380 to the right of the staircase from business class down to first. There will now be two lounges, one each on either side of the staircase. How's your maths?

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 931

It's one lounge. They are just expanding it and moving the CSMs "office" somewhere else.

Bob Burgess

Bob Burgess

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 184

If I have one bedroom in my apartment and convert a sunroom into another bedroom, or wall up the patio and make this into a bedroom, would you say I still have just one bedroom? No, I would have two bedrooms. Two different spaces. It doesn't matter that they have the same function, it matters that they are physically different spaces.

MrT

MrT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Aug 2015

Total posts 34

But it isn’t walled up, hence one space

Bob Burgess

Bob Burgess

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 184

It's divided by two walls and a massive wide staircase!

Mark B.

Mark B.

19 Jul 2018

Total posts 5

My experience on A380s with a similar lounge configuration - such as Asiana - find the space a little dark and oppressive and rarely used. Maybe Qantas has some solution but it’s a tough ask. The only airline to turn the odd space into something spectacular is Etihad by using it for The Apartment. That said, it was Etihad’s last hurrah.

smit0847

smit0847

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 448

What does the CSM do in their onboard office anyway? Fortnightly payroll? Performance reviews?

eminere

eminere

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1132

Best comment lol

DavePlat

DavePlat

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Oct 2017

Total posts 6

Comment of the week :)

Jezsteele

Jezsteele

21 Jan 2012

Total posts 1

Gold

jtung

jtung

15 Aug 2018

Total posts 8

The new design still does not look as passenger friendly and as comfortable as the famous bar on the Emirates A380.

Bob Burgess

Bob Burgess

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 184

That's probably because the Emirates bar is so much bigger and more open because it's in a completely different part of the A380, it's down the back where there is plenty of room, while Qantas is trying to make best use of two small areas which are an unavoidable result of A380's design. In other words, apples and oranges.

CWT Traveller

CWT Traveller

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Sep 2011

Total posts 14

The EK bar has nothing on the QR bar, that is magnificent!!

Alf

Alf

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Aug 2018

Total posts 1

This is typical Qantas not looking far enough ahead and being too conservative. If travelling alone I would rather stay in my seat than almost certainly be facing a stranger. Qantas underperformed 10 years ago in the business seat offering for the A380 and are doing so again with this cafe/meeting booth idea. I would rather stretch my legs and prop up a bar any day. EK really have it sorted if you're travelling alone or with someone, as you can use the bar leaners at each side, stand at the bar or sit one of two couches. The drinks offering is impressive, good quality snacks are available and the crew friendly if you're feeling chatty.

Business people can have their meetings in the lounge before take off (I've never seen anyone use the two business lounges in the Sydney First Class lounge, since it opened) or on a couch at the bar, or sit together and put the screen down.

 

Pilates and exercise areas be damned. Thinking outside the square, the current lounge could easily be converted into a "Residence" style super first class, or, have three or four zero gravity massage chairs - you could book a 20 - 30 minute slot as you do the shower in EK First Class.

 

Or how about "book a table" so couples or more could have their meal together. There must be room for say, 8 x two seater tables, two of which could be pushed together for foursomes. Yes, I know, it would take some planning and for safety in the seat and table design, but it's doable. Two sittings per meal - sounds like something I would enjoy if I was travelling with someone.

 

Come on Qantas - scratch your head for a lot longer before announcing something this dull and come up with something more creative and appealing. Something that sets you apart.

 

So, thanks, but no thanks, for what is essentially a sofa and a small table with a fridge and a large screen (who gets to pick what's showing?). It just doesn't push any buttons for me at all.

 

Drink, anyone??

Lottie

Lottie

30 Oct 2017

Total posts 4

Seriously? Why would or should you want to leave your super expensive seat/bed/dining area with inaminute personal service to go and use this space? If any airline really wanted to stand ahead from the rest....put a stand up bar area in ECONOMY.... the that's where the leg stretch is needed! Or like train carriages....have a central area for ALL to go for a bit of a stand and 'have a chat'....

OttoV

OttoV

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Aug 2018

Total posts 46

Current ‘retreats’ on the A380 feel like a dentists’ waiting room and barely worth the walk to stretch one’s legs. Any improvement will be worthwhile, even better with a FA serving drinks with a smile?

JKH

JKH

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2017

Total posts 131

Looks dismal really, like a 50’s cafe banquette seat and table affair minus the wall mounted jukebox device.

Russjking

Russjking

12 Aug 2017

Total posts 75

I'm looking forward to the refit. I travel to the UK frequently as a solo so at the moment I avoid QF but will certainly use them if they have decent business class seats.

stmaus

stmaus

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Nov 2017

Total posts 103

They might be having better seats in two years, but the competition will still have better service and lower prices.

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