Six reasons I'll use the new Qantas A380 inflight business lounges

By Gary Walter, August 27 2018

TALKING POINT | Qantas has revealed that the upgrade of its Airbus A380s will include two 'business class lounges' compared to the single space of the original superjumbo configuration.

While it's easy to moan that Qantas should have installed a serviced bar like that of the Emirates A380 this ignores the reality that Qantas has to work with the space it has, that being two long narrow spaces on each side of the A380's very wide front staircase.

Is the current lounge space under-used? Yes it is, and that's because it's not a very comfortable space or a very 'social' one, when you are sitting side-on to other travellers.

But I expect the A380 redesign will change this and make these lounges much more popular with passengers.

I travel extensively with Qantas in business class and while I usually upgrade to first class with points I can still see myself making a lot more use of the A380's new lounges compared to today.

1. A change of scenery

Even with the refreshed A380s having Qantas' newest Boeing 787 Business Suite replacing the old Skybed II seats it's still a nice change to be able to vacate that seat and change your personal scenery and surroundings, especially during a long flight.

The current A380 business class lounge doesn't inspire me very much but the new lounge looks far more inviting. 

2. Much better for travelling with a partner

Yes, you can sit in today's lounge and talk with a partner or colleague but the seating layout is a bit awkward.

The new business class lounge is far better suited to this because you can be facing each other and sharing a drink and a snack on these little cafe-stye tables.

This arrangement also works if you are travelling with a few friends or colleagues because there's room for several people in each 'nook'.

3. Better for working

If you are doing business on your business trip those tables will be ideal for sitting at with your laptop, and I presume there will be AC and USB outlets under each table. Again sometimes a change of scenery from your seat is welcome and although I don't expect to be holding 'meetings' in the middle of a flight I can see myself talking with colleagues about what we are working on as long as nobody else is in the lounge to overhear!

4. A good way to start your flight

A few months ago I flew on Etihad's Airbus A380 from Sydney through to Paris and I discovered that almost immediately after boarding and putting their bags at their seat, some of the regular business class passengers will adjourn to the 'Lobby' lounge area to enjoy their preflight drink.

When the doors are about to close the cabin crew let them know and they go back to their seat for taxi and take-off.

This is something which Qantas should encourage with the new A380 lounge. After all, why spend that first 20 minutes solo in your seat when you could be getting the trip off to a fun start wih your partner or travelling companions?

5. Cafe breakfast?

In the same manner, Qantas should consider letting passengers take a meal in the new A380 business lounge, especially if this is a simple meal like a 'small plate' or a single-plated breakfast.

Virgin Australia lets its Boeing 777 passengers have breakfast at the bar before arriving in Los Angeles or Australia and it's another reason to get out of the seat.

6. Movie time?

Not much has been said about the other new A380 lounge which looks a bit more like it has a large video screen and a self-serve snack bar area along with bench seating.

The design looks a bit confusing because the seating is side-on to the screen and anybody going to the snack bar would be standing between passengers and the screen,

But if the seating is in a better orientation facing the screen this could be a nice area for sitting and watching a movie with your partner or family.

And when Qantas' international fleet gets high-speed WiFi it would be great for the service to include some free international TV stations. Imagine being able to sit back in this lounge during the flight to watch a live game of football, a world cup rugby or soccer match or an F1 race!

In summary, if Qantas does its two A380 lounges right they will make flying a much experience for the business class traveller.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1380

Not sure about the video screen

The current configuration actually has a TV screen above the mag rack which you could use to watch a movie straight on (has headphone sockets) but I've never seen anyone using it.

Suspect it will more be used for inflight map or Qantas promo loops.

But agree it's a far more usable space overall.

Also appears from the renders that the amount of wall near the stairs will be reduced which should make the area more open.

20 Apr 2018

Total posts 3

I’ve only just discovered the inflight map can be changed to watch a movie - quite enjoyed the experience and solitude of the space. But yes, it’s an awkward nook.

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 152

I mus5 be one of the few that appreciates the current setup. Because hardly anyone uses it so the front cabin stays quiet 😉

27 Aug 2015

Total posts 28

I've only ever really seen the current configuration used by the crew, to treat yclass pax having a medical episode and needing a place to lie them down...

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Nov 2017

Total posts 102

One reason only required: more opportunity to drink.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Aug 2012

Total posts 171

Is Qantas planning on moving first class to the upper deck? If so you’d think they’d place first class at the front of the upper deck meaning first class passengers could then see higher traffic through there cabin. Wonder how that will go down?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 287

I think its a real oversight on Qantas part to NOT move the first class cabin upstairs ala Singapore Airlines style.

It’s a MUCH better use of space having W seating at the front of the lower deck and to have an all premium upper deck.

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 184

Relocating first class upstairs would be a major expense for Qantas, this would be a major piece of re-engineering and very very costly, I can't see how Qantas could justify that much extra money and complexity just because some passengers fancy the idea of "an all premium upper deck".

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 287

It’s not just about liking an all premium upper deck!! It’s about the MOST economical use of space onboard. ALL the airlines who make money off the A380 have first class upstairs.. the cost and engineering are no more than what is already been done for J class.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

So you've got per-airline per-aircraft breakdowns of profitability, and it seems that Singapore Airlines made no money from its A380s for the past ten years because they all had first class downstairs? Seriously though, there'd be a substantial cost and engineering effort required to relocate first class upstairs. I agree that an all-premium upper deck would be great but I'm happy just to see the Business Suite replace the Skybed IIs and to have some more usable lounge spaces thrown into the bargain.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 569

No, they are not relocating First Class. It was rumoured that F would move up and the current F area become W but later denied. Moving First Class would've been too expensive though it would've meant these forward areas could've been used for new bathrooms/toilets.

Unfortunately, these areas will always be narrow and dark. They wont be places people can easily congregate because it is very difficult to get past each other. They won't be like the EY or EK lounges which are much wider as they are not obstructed by stairs and make use of exit spaces.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1136

No, the first cabin is staying where it is on the main deck.

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 184

I never thought about using a lounge straight after boarding but before take-off, it's a great idea. I have been on the Qatar A380 and although the lounge isn't 'dressed' in any way which makes it look a bit uninviting there were still some passengers heading down there with partners and mates. Yes, Qantas should encourage this in its new lounges.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Aug 2018

Total posts 51

To avoid the ‘dentists waiting room’ feel ( mentioned in my previous comment), why not install one or two of those pretend window/ tv screens, so that travellers have more ‘natural’ light, have a drink and look outside. But have it staffed on a regular basis by a FA to pour a glass or two?
JKH
JKH

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2017

Total posts 132

I still think it looks like a 50’s Swanson Street cafe minus the wall-mounted juke box. Perhaps David Caon was thinking about a toasted sandwich during the design phase.

22 May 2011

Total posts 53

I’ve tried the lounge a few times and agree that it doesn’t feel that great - the “bar” has always been messy and not well stocked, and it’s an area where people either exercise or bring their babies to walk around. Just awkward taking a seat really.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Oct 2016

Total posts 59

I think the lounge (And the QF inflight entertainment for that matter) would benefit greatly from having access to a range of live news channels from global sources (BBC, CNN, DW, Bloomberg TV etc) Even if you haven't plugged in your headphones, at least the news ticker will keep you aware of the headlines.

Qantas - Platinum Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jul 2012

Total posts 6

Larger toilets where can actually change your clothes would be great
Current bar has five oxygen masks thus that limit. But better than nothing!

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 259

Article reads as though the author is trying to convince himself as much as others!


Some of the reasons (shared movies, really?!?) are a bit if a stretch.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

Steve, I didn't really dwell too much about the 'watch a movie' aspect of the lounges until Gary's article lobbed onto my desk, but I reckon he's got a point. I've enjoyed watching a movie with my girlfriend during our flights, and I can see that if Qantas was able to stream an event such as a football match or F1 race this would be very popular, albeit potentially very noisy for passengers in the first few rows of the business class cabin!

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 259

And therein lies the challenge David. I do agree though that if they can get soundproofing done properly then it would be terrific for sporting events, no question.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2341

I know that Qantas has looked at soundproofing as part of this make-over, let's hope it is up to the mighty task of dampening the cheers and jeers of a bunch of Aussies!

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 259

:)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 209

I think that space would have been better used for extra toilets and/or changing/dressing rooms. A simple self-service counter for drinks and snacks is sufficient. I make a point of steering clear of the onboard lounges on Emirates and Etihad for the simple reason that long-haul flying is the only time I get to cocoon myself away from other people. When travelling with colleagues, I try to upgrade myself to First so that I don't have to interact with them and unless there is a major drama. When travelling with my husband we usually choose seats separated by the aisle to maximise our alone time. There are bars and lounges aplenty on the ground that can be used for socialising, why can't the quiet, calm solitude of long-haul flying be protected?

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