Qantas to sell more 'extra legroom' economy seats on Airbus A380

By David Flynn, October 31 2014
Qantas to sell more 'extra legroom' economy seats on Airbus A380

Qantas is now selling more 'extra legroom' seats in the economy cabin of its Airbus A380 flights, giving travellers additional ways to avoid that squeeze around the knees – as long as they pony up as much as $180 for the privilege.

While several of the A380s' economy seats on the A380 are already earmarked as extra legroom, these are all in the emergency exit row.

Qantas is now adding three more superjumbo seats – 71D, 80A and 80K into that cost-extra category.

These are located where the configuration of the plane has gifted them much more legroom than the standard 31 inch pitch – as many as nine inches in the case of 71D, which has no seat directly in front of it.

These three choice seats will now cost you extra to book.... SeatGuru
These three choice seats will now cost you extra to book...

That trio of economy seats is the prized pick of savvy travellers who until now have been able to book them without any additional cost.

That all changes as of today. Those specific seats now attract a fee "from $90 to $180", Qantas says, although they can also be snared for 12,000 and 23,500 Qantas Points respectively.

Qantas argues that re-assigning those seats into the 'extra legroom' category will mean a fairer deal for most passengers.

A Qantas spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller that some of those seats would still be reserved for Platinum One-grade frequent flyers, who enjoy the perk of requesting extra legroom economy seats without cost.

Qantas is also introducing the extra legroom category onto its transcontinental Airbus A330 flights, with passengers able to book four spacey seats in advance of their flight for an extra $60 or 7,500 Qantas Points.

A330 flights on the Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne 'triangle' will still list those seats at the same rate as standard economy seats.

Qantas joins other airlines which already charge a levy for extra legroom seats, among them Virgin Australia for east-west A330 flights plus Air New Zealand and Cathay Pacific on international flights.

Virgin Australia is also planning to introduce on its Boeing 777 jets a new ‘economy plus’ zone with extra legroom – and a higher price tag to suit.

The airline has revealed there will be 42 of these seats on each Boeing 777, although it's not detailed how many inches will be gained over the standard 32 inch pitch.

Read: Virgin Australia upgrades Boeing 777 premium economy, plans 'economy plus' seats

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


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.


14 Jun 2013

Total posts 354

I will get my comment in before the complaints start! Sure this sucks if you have been one of those 'savvy travellers' who knows about these seats, but I do think it's fairer that people who want or need the extra legroom have the chance to book it and then pay for it.

Imagine somebody who is more than 2 metres tall having to put up with regular seat because the extra legroom seats were granned by some 'savvy travellers' who were 1.5 metres tall and don't really need them.

So yes, this sounds fair to me.

09 Sep 2014

Total posts 55

I completely agree!

You are precluding the fact that a short "savvy traveller" might not purchase these seats in advance of a taller person?

I would suggest bringing up the emotive subject of a person's height bears no weight on the rationality of this move by Qantas.

The logic being, assuming the financial disposition of a tall and short person is constant, the charging of seats with extra leg room does not in any way improve the probablity of a taller person getting the seat he or she "deserves".

Ergo the conclusion of fairness is misplaced.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2013

Total posts 45

A taller person does not 'deserve' anything beyond what they are prepared to pay for and the normal courtesy and respect that all should display to each other. 

Asserting, through your logic, that a taller person 'deserves' something that an average height person or shorter person does not 'deserve' based simply on their height is the complete opposite of fairness. 

One could question the fairness of the assumption that the financial disposition of tall and short person is constant in light of academic research that suggest taller people are financially more successful.

Does it in a way then imply discrimination by Qantas against short people? i.e. the probabilty of them being financially successful is lower therefore the ability to purchase these seats decreases.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jun 2013

Total posts 8

QANTAS currently charges for extra leg-room seats, yes? So why is it fair to have these as no cost extra legroom seats? It isn't. A very smart business move on QANTAS' behalf and giving them approximately an extra $2,500,000.00 a year. ($180 x 3 Seats x 12 Aircraft/12 Flights a Day x 365 Days a Year = approx $2.5mil)  smart and fair

good luck to all talk people with grabbing them, I see extra legroom seats all over the place so it's always luck of the draw.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 465

Cathay Pacific don't charge One World Emeralds for extra leg room seats.  Qantas reserve this privilege for Platinum One.  I wonder how many Platinum Ones actually fly in Y. It would be a tough way to get all those status credits !

I recently flew on Delta and was very happy to pay $28 for a green seat on an A320.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

16 Sep 2014

Total posts 7

I'm one of those savvy travellers that has selected seat 71D when I booked 2 months ago.  Wonder if Qantas will now contact me to ask for additional payment for selecting that seat. 

Under Manage by Booking, it still shows the seat allocated to me but now with wording 'Extra legroom seat.'

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Oct 2014

Total posts 7

I'm in the same boat here. Let's just wait and see, surely they can't be that tight, right..?

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1249

I'm one of those travellers who 80% of the time snares 80A or 80K.  I have a booking in 80A in 2 weeks. 

Not worried if QF want to charge more than the $25 seat selection fee for these seats. However, they are not worth the same as an exit row - less space. 

Once you book it, I wouldn't think QF could move you unless it's for operational reasons - plane change etc. Increasing the fee wouldn't count (I would think anyway).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 701

Qantas does, and will, make seat allocation changes for non-operational reasons but unlikely they'll turf people with existing seat reservations out just for a extra space fee paying passenger (not worth the aggro). It's usually when it's a "special" person that they'll do this (and this usually happens at the Gate, the first you'll know of it is when they print you off a new boarding pass), or if seat is priority for certain groups (bassinet seats for example). 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 701

Simply put, it's just Qantas improving revenue in the Y cabin ("fairness" over selection is PR fuff). Margins are tightening so they are looking for pennies. I guess the only real test is when it's a P1 (with no fee) vs a paying extra space customer, who wins then?

P1s certainly don't get their status travelling Y, but when leisure travelling (work isn't paying for it) some prefer a cheaper seat (even if they are unenthusiastic about being in Y).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 14

We travelled on Singapore Airlines to Paris via Singapore last April in exit row seats there and back, at $50 a seat....We were very happy with our seats.. The Qantas seats seem a little expensive to me, and not couple friendly, revenue raising I think..!!

Virgin Australia - Platinum

21 Dec 2012

Total posts 90

I am 6.3 and as such get pretty squashed with normal seating. That's why I maintain platinum status with virgin so I can get row 3 most of the time. It costs me to keep platinum membership, but fair enough if qantas wants to charge for those who aren't at that tier level.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 467

How long have Qantas had A380,s.May be 5 plus years shows just how many years the useless management is behind the times and lost revenue.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Nov 2012

Total posts 25

I don't fly Qantas anymore, not after being shoe-horned into a SIN-MEL A330 flight where the legroom was a bad joke. 31" seat pitch? I don't think so.  It was the tightest airline seating I've ever experienced, including on quite a few low cost carriers. Fortunately it was a half empty plane, and so people sitting in one row would sit in seat A, the next row seat B, and so on, so that reclining the seat didn't come at the expense of the person behind. 

Paying extra for a seat with legroom makes the Qantas offer uncompetitive, for instance, between Australia and Singapore, Scoot offer decent legroom in their forward Y cabin at a great value price. It's not hard to give up on Qantas when their offer is so uncompetitive.  


American Airlines - AAdvantage

20 Jun 2012

Total posts 25

Recent trips on DL's SYD-LAX were in Economy Comfort - ~USD100 gets you seated in a row (I think they have 2 or 3) that has 5-6 inches of extra legroom and a few more degrees of recline. For a bit extra on each sector tall pax can pay the premium and get quite bearable seats. Not hard to implement..... come on QF.

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