Qantas to fit more seats on its Airbus A380 by blocking two exit doors

By David Flynn, April 10 2018
Qantas to fit more seats on its Airbus A380 by blocking two exit doors

Qantas plans to squeeze more passengers onto its Airbus A380 superjumbos – by blocking off a pair of emergency exit doors.

Airbus, which will oversee an upgrade of Qantas' twelve-strong superjumbo fleet from mid-2019, is promoting plans to "deactivate" the rear-most doors on the upper deck as part of its Cabin-Flex A380 layout for which Qantas will act as launch customer.

By disabling those doors "the space can be used for seats," an Airbus spokesman tells Australian Business Traveller, "allowing airlines to gain revenue-earning floor-space for extra seating without compromising on passenger comfort."

In the case of the Qantas Airbus A380s, this space at the rear of the upper deck is currently used for a small economy class cabin, with premium economy and then business class ahead of this.

Qantas says the revamped A380s will gain 25 more premium economy seats (of the same design as in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner) and lose 30 economy seats, with the 'mini-economy cabin' being replaced by an enlarged premium economy cabin.

Here's how the red-railed A380's revamped upper deck will look.

The souped-up superjumbos will also gain a larger 'cafe-style' lounge at the front of the upper deck...

... see the Skybed II business class seats replaced by the superior Boeing 787-style Business Suites...

... while the 14 first class suites are also in for a facelift.

Airbus maintains that disabling these rear exit doors will have no adverse impact on passenger evacuation speeds in the event of an emergency.

"The A380 certification for the number of passengers that can be evacuated is significantly higher than the current seating numbers, and the additional 11 seats from ‘closing’ door 3 would not make difference," the spokesman told Australian Business Traveller.

"There is still ample exit capacity. The total number of doors on the A380 are matched to the aircraft's maximum theoretical number of circa 800 passengers."

Approached by Australian Business Traveller, Qantas declined to offer additional comment on this subject.


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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Oct 2016

Total posts 37

Any word on an economy seat upgrade?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

See for some details (but also note, we tend not to cover economy on Australian Business Traveller as our focus is premium cabins).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 361

I find this odd. Is it Australian Business "Class" Traveller? A lot of business travellers actually fly in Economy so would I am sure they would welcome news, reviews or updates in this area.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2555

The Australian 'business class traveller' is a sizeable premium market and it's the one we choose to write for, bracketed by premium economy below and first class above. There are plenty of websites providing coverage of economy, which is one reason we focus on the premium cabin classes as a way to differentiate AusBT and focus our resources to best effect.

30 Aug 2017

Total posts 32

Its good that you re-emphasised your focus. Because a great number of users here calling 787 a "nightmareliner" just because they do not like 3-3-3 config in Y.

MarkJohnSon Banned
MarkJohnSon Banned

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 87

Completely agree with David's points.

Even though there are very few business travellers lucky enough to fly premium cabins all the time (e.g., corporate policies for short-haul flights, vacations with family), economy class travel is not particularly exciting.

Frankly, there are few examples of stand-out Y class experiences and it is largely a homogeneous experience. Yes, the food and in-flight service will vary if you compare QF to, say, MU. But does it really matter? At the end of the day, you're stuck in a tiny seat in a "misery tube" for a number of hours. The quality of the experience is actually going to come down to bigger factors, like whether the operator has fitted out their 777 with 9- or 10-abreast seating.

Hence, I give kudos to AusBT for not boring us with sameish reviews of Y class seats.


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1425

The QANTAS news room (Aug 2017) has the details on this.New seat cushions and entertainment system.

Clearly Airbus put too many doors on the A380. We're seeing more door-deactivations/removals on the 777X and the A321LR as well.

None of this worries me.


23 May 2014

Total posts 119

The last set of doors on the upper deck are very close to the ones before it - so not worried about this. More worried about ever having to evacuate from any door on the A380 upper deck... that is a long way down...

As an aside, not sure that 'cafe style lounge' (?) hits the mark, based on the image. Looks like a slightly more elaborate version of the current unremarkable lounge. If you can't fit in a small tended bar I would say do something different with the space.


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1425

I use it just for being in a different space. The self service bar there could be expanded a little.People who hang around the toilets chatting in groups could also use it and not be a nuisance to all and sundry.


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 974

There is a standard on the amount of doors per passengers and the time it takes to off load in an emergency. I remember Ansett aka Air New Zealand using this as to the reason they didn't need all the emergency exit doors actually working

22 Aug 2013

Total posts 9

Another round of window seats without windows.

05 Apr 2017

Total posts 18

The Airbus claim "Airbus maintains that disabling these rear exit doors will have no adverse impact on passenger evacuation speeds in the event of an emergency." is clearly incorrect. The evacuation "speed" may still be comfortably better than the legal requirement, but blocking off doors will reduce the "speed" to some extent and give the crew less options to choose serviceable doors in the event of damaged/unopenable doors or fire etc.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1209

The additional doors were required for a high pax count upper deck. No airline currently uses the upper deck in such a config though HiFly may soon be the first.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1027

The max amount of passengers an aircraft type is certified to carry is based on the amount they can get out in 90 seconds through half the doors.
The A380 is certified for 868 passengers (330 on upper deck).

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 388

Given some passengers' insistence on putting on shoes or bringing backpacks or handbags with them, how realistic is the certification process? It needs to reflect reality - not some airy-fairy notion of completely cooperative passengers who don't muck around.

Also what about the elderly and other less mobile individuals, or extremely overweight persons? I bet these all slow down the use of slides.

29 Jan 2012

Total posts 173

The thought of having 800 plus on an A380 is a clostrophobic thought at best - lets hope Jetstar don't aquire QF's A380's when they're retired.

If QF wishes to install the extra PE seating at the rear of the upper deck and close off the doors, lets also hope they do the following - install windows in the walls where the doors were, and please increase the seat pitch given the failure of their PE product on their 787's. Time for some passenger comfort and consideration rather than the almightly bottom line.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jun 2017

Total posts 41

Here goes the amazing mini economy cabin... The PE new product isn't as promising as AJ suggested. If they made some changes to flaws in the reclining... now that would be a win.


04 Apr 2014

Total posts 209

Perhaps they’ll give PE the pitch it needs to work with the new seats. Ah, no.

27 Aug 2015

Total posts 26

Has anyone ever experienced an evacuation?

When "it" hits the fan, nobody is thinking about what is legal, though perhaps they may think an extra pair of doors would be nice....why do people worry about seat recline, but when it comes to safety, nobody says boo? Priorities

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 372

I'm sorry to see the mini economy cabin go. I always select a seat in this cabin and it's fantastic. Quick service, no queues for the toilets and a 2-4-2 seating layout which is great when travelling with my partner.

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 4

The Premium Y in the 787 sucks... just a useless seat... tray table and room... They should design new Y+ for the 380's!

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1209

They'd be better keeping the existing product rather than taking the terrible "revolutionary" design from the 789. There are lots of very good W class products out there such as the W class from AF 787s. Both VA and NZ also have a good product principally because they didn't skimp on pitch.

11 Apr 2018

Total posts 30

Yep , the PE section of the A 380 was the best in the fleet for me . Now it will be worse seats and less service I imagine .


03 May 2013

Total posts 672

Who does Qantas get to design its interiors? What a drab boring effort. This plain ‘RM Williams’ mentality of not changing or wearing anything else is getting boring where is the sophistication gone AJ. You haven’t won any awards that matter in years. QF isn’t even in the top 10 anymore?. Also, thank goodness the rear economy cabin is gone. Now the J class pax paying 9k for their tickets won’t have to wait for a Y+ pax to use the loo! They can have the rear two and J class get back their full 4. Is also fire the brainiac who removed the lab from the A330 to only have to put it back because it was a failed initiative.


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1425

Going from 24 to 60 seats is a big jump indeed and then they will be more cramped. Does this mean a price drop in PE at some point. Supply and demand. Looking forward to more PE sales to fill the cabin and more upgrades from economy to sell last minute economy seats at high economy prices. Interesting business case.

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Qantas to fit more seats on its Airbus A380 by blocking two exit doors