Qantas has unveiled new First and Business Class seats for its Airbus A350-1000s which will operate some of the longest nonstop flights in the world as part of “Project Sunrise”. With this, Qantas is yet another airline jumping on in the trend of Business Class “Suites”.
Qantas has designed the new cabins with ultra long-haul travel in mind. These cabins are the first to be developed from the ground up by a mix of aviation specialists, as well as Australian industrial design studio Caon Design, and a multidisciplinary team of scientists from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre including sleep scientists.
Qantas says that it has focused on having more individual space for every passenger, made possible by its decision to configure its 12 Airbus A350s to seat 238 passengers compared to the 300-plus seat layout specified by other carriers.
Qantas has been the leader in opening up new long-haul flights for most of our history, and we’re bringing everything we’ve learned, both technically and in terms of passenger comfort, to Project Sunrise flying. We think our A350 cabins have the most sophisticated and thoughtful design of any airline, combining cutting edge technology with sleep research to shape the look and feel for what is effectively a new era of travel. We’re building on the customer experience of our extremely popular non-stop flights from Perth to London as we keep working to make it easier to connect Australia with the rest of the world.said Alan Joyce, CEO, Qantas Group.
First Class reimagined
Qantas’ Airbus A350-1000s will feature 12 First Class Suites in a 1-1-1 configuration. The suites have a range of features to make passengers “feel like they are in a mini boutique hotel room” complete with an extra-wide fixed bed, separate recliner chair, personal wardrobe, dining table for two and a 32-inch ultra-high definition TV.
The suite will offer multiple personal device charging options including wireless induction charging, USB-A and -C and AC ports. Another common feature now-a-days is offering Bluetooth connectivity to passengers. Qantas will also do the same on its A350s, with passengers in all classes of travel able to connect their own Bluetooth-enabled headset to the in-flight entertainment system.
Qantas says that these First Class suites will feature 50% more space than those found on its Airbus A380s.
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Business Class “Suites”
As expected, Qantas’ new flagship Business Class seats will have sliding doors for added privacy. The Business Class cabin will be in a 1-2-1 configuration, meaning every passenger will have direct aisle access.
Other features in the Business Suite include a two metre flat bed, generous storage (including a large mirror), cushioned leather ottoman, 18-inch ultra-high definition touch screen TV, large dining table and feature lighting. Like First Class, Business Class seats will also feature multiple personal device charging options.
What’s even great is that the Qantas A350s will offer free high-speed Wi-Fi with partner Viasat following completion of key satellite launches covering the Qantas international network. This will enable passengers to stay connected on those ultra long-haul flights while on the move.
David Coan, a Australia-based designer who designed these seats, says that “every possible opportunity has been seized upon to promote wellbeing and comfort in the First and Business suites”.
We began designing this aircraft cabin five years ago, working with Airbus and Qantas to maximise space, as well as creating a tailored lighting program that will influence mood and sleep patterns. All the design and service elements will work together to significantly improve inflight comfort, convenience and health and wellbeing and help minimise the old nemesis of jetlag. Every element has been created for Qantas, from the reading light right down to the fabrics, to ensure that passengers spend their journey in refined comfort. There are also a number of storage design elements to keep personal items within arm’s reach so the space can be personalised by each individual passenger to feel just like they are in their own bed at home.he said.
The A350s will also feature a “Well-being Zone” for all passengers, which will be unveiled along with Premium Economy and Economy Class cabins in the coming months, as stated by Qantas.
Here’s a walk-through of the Qantas A350’s First and Business Class cabin:
While Qantas revealed the renders of First Class Suites in May 2022 when it placed an order for 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, it’s nice to finally see the actual product. The First Class Suites look great aesthetically, from the light wood finishes to the use of subtle colours and designs. The cabin width of the A350 is large, compared to Boeing B787-9 Dreamliners which Qantas uses presently (although the Dreamliners don’t have a First Class cabin), so the seats will definitely have ample space and room to stretch out.
Coming to the Business Class cabin, it’s a nice upgrade from the current Business Class product which Qantas has on its B787s and A330s. Almost all the major airlines are now having Business Class seats with a sliding door, calling it a “suite”.
Qantas has tick-marked all the boxes of what one’s expectations from a passenger experience point-of-view, from direct aisle-access to sliding doors for added privacy to wireless charging to luxurious finishes.
What about the seats at back of the aircraft?
While the premium products seem great, the real standout point for these ultra long-haul flights will be the Premium Economy and Economy cabins, in which most of the passengers will fly.
These A350s, scheduled to enter service in late-2025, will operate some of the world’s longest flights (like Sydney-London and Sydney-New York routes), so passenger comfort is the most important thing that Qantas will need to look at in the Premium Economy and Economy cabins. It remains to be seen whether Qantas will go for the same Premium Economy seats found on its Boeing B787s and A380s or will it launch a new enhanced product.
Qantas has revealed that there will be 40 Premium Economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration on its A350s while there will be 140 standard Economy Class seats in a 3-3-3 configuration.
There will also be a Well-being zone, which will be interesting to see, especially how Qantas introduces this concept and how it evolves.
Qantas has put a lot of money on Project Sunrise and it certainly will want to get the best out of it. It seems that the airline is on the right track in the project, at least from the passenger experience point-of-view, which is the most important.
Meanwhile, Qantas recently opened a new route to Jakarta.
Featured image by Qantas
All the other images by Qantas
What do you think of Qantas’ new First and Business Class seats? Let me know in the comments section below.