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The last of Qantas' upgraded Boeing 747s is now back in service, marking the completion of a $250 million makeover with new seats, interiors and inflight entertainment based on the Red Roo's flagship Airbus A380.
Nine of the airline's 18 Boeing 747-400 series aircraft were refitted over a 14 month period and will continue to form the backbone of the Qantas International fleet alongside the A380 into the later part of this decade.
The rejigged jumbos fly long haul routes including Sydney-Dallas, Sydney-Los Angeles-New York and Brisbane-Los Angeles.
Each of the souped-up 747s is fitted with 58 Skybed II seats in business class, 36 premium economy seats, and 270 economy seats.
Those second-generation Skybeds lie fully flat and are a substantial improvement on the original seats, which extended only to an angled position.
Designed by Marc Newson, the seats in all three cabins have won awards for their design and comfort, including a 2009 Australian International Design Award for the Economy seat.
Qantas says the response from travellers on the upgraded 747s has been predictably excellent.
"I'd argue the interiors on our A380s and upgraded B747s deliver some of the best on-board experiences around" says Alison Webster, Qantas' Executive Manager of International Customer Experience.
"One of the goals we’ve set ourselves is to be best for global travellers. That largely comes down to service, it comes down to network and it comes down to product, and the upgrade of the 747 interior is part of that."
But Webster is the first to admit that "it’s a competitive market and we’re focussed on continuous improvement of our product".
That process which includes refreshing sixteen domestic Boeing 767s, the entire QantasLink fleet of thirteen Boeing 717s and "assessing options to upgrade the interiors" of the Airbus A330s, "particularly those used on its international routes".
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