Qantas will reconfigure the upper deck of its flagship A-380 super jumbo, making it business and premium economy only.
It has long been the cabin of choice for savvy travellers on a budget: an almost exclusive cabin on the upper deck of the Qantas A-380 with just 30 economy (Y class) seats.
The big appeal is that there are fewer people up there which means it’s quieter, meal service is often faster and there are hardly ever queues for the loos. You even get to board like a rock star using the Business and Premium Economy air bridge.
But from next year, the upper deck will become the sole domain of the upper class, with Qantas to axe economy seating (rows 32-36) as it expands its business and premium economy service.
The 12 Airbus A-380s in the Qantas fleet will be refreshed from tip to tail starting mid next year, with new business class and premium economy seats to match its 787-789s.
There’ll also be a new-look lounge at the pointy end of the upper deck.
Corporate travellers, Q Club members and regular Frequent Flyers will be the big winners with six new Business Class seats and 25 new Premium Economy seats (along with the existing 14 First Suites) added to the layout.
But it means economy will be abolished on the upper deck to make way for the new layout. The overhaul is expected to start in the second quarter of 2019 and will be completed by the end of 2020.
The move means Qantas is essentially returning to the original configuration for the A-380 – a move which will also generate more revenue.
While it’s good news for travellers who want more leg room and premium services on long flights to the US, Europe and Asia, it also signals the end of the party for economy travellers who’ve grown used to travelling on the upper deck without paying a fortune.
From next year, those travellers will either have to shell out a little bit more, or prepare to go from prince to pauper.
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