Qantas Unveils New First and Business Class Cabins for Non-Stop Flights to NYC and London
Qantas isn’t done spending their billion-dollar profits. Hot off the back of its $100 million plan to upgrade its global lounge network, the Flying Kangaroo has just unveiled the First and Business Class cabins of its Airbus A350s, set to fly travellers non-stop from Australia to New York and London from late 2025 as part of Project Sunrise. With a spacious First class suite designed to make customers feel like they are in a mini boutique hotel and the promise of a two-metre flat bed inside every Business class seat, perhaps a non-stop 20-hour flight from Sydney won’t be all that bad?
RELATED: Qantas to Launch World’s Longest Non-Stop Flights from Sydney to New York and London
Back when Project Sunrise was first announced, Qantas promised “market-leading passenger comfort in each travel class”. Well, today, we get to see what they delivered for the First and Business class seats. Opening with the tagline “A New Dawn of Travel”, the virtual reality flythrough of the Project Sunrise Airbus A350 reveals an enclosed First class suite with a dedicated privacy door. If you’ve never flown first-class before, you’ll be surprised to see a separate reclining chair next to an extra-wide two-metre-long bed with an adjustable backrest.
Travellers will also have access to a personal wardrobe alongside six generously sized storage areas and a dining table for two. Entertainment-wise, the flythrough shows a 32″ ultra-high definition TV (with Bluetooth connectivity) paused just before the big superhero showdown in Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War. Flying over to the Business class suites, you’ll immediately notice the difference in personal space, despite including a privacy door (though it’s more of a screen since the suites are not enclosed like in First class).
That being said, comfort looks to be anything but compromised. The reclining seat is paired with a cushioned leather ottoman for resting your feet. And then, when it’s time to rest your head, the chair transforms into a two-metre flatbed. As for entertainment, Business class travellers will have their own 18-inch ultra-high definition touchscreen TV with Bluetooth connectivity for watching their favourite Marvel or DC movies.
Oh, and thanks to the multiple personal device charging options across First and Business class, including wireless induction charging, you won’t be coming off the plane with a dead battery.
However, the most significant change to Qantas’ 12 Airbus A350s was reducing the 300-plus seat layout to 238 seats, incorporating a 1-1-1 format for the six First class suites and a 1-2-1 configuration for the 52 Business Suites. Something that Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce says continues the national carrier’s 100-year history of aviation ‘firsts’.
“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,” said Joyce. “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.”
Having learnt several lessons from the “extremely popular non-stop flights from Perth to London”, Joyce hopes Project Sunrise can “make it easier to connect Australia with the rest of the world.”
It’s all a part of Qantas’ ultra-long-haul travel design methodology that leverages sophisticated design elements developed by a mix of aviation specialists, including Australian industrial design studio Caon Design and a team of scientists from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre, with a few sleep scientists thrown in for good measure. Seizing every opportunity to promote wellbeing and comfort in the First and Business suites, Australian designer David Caon said, “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.” David also comments on the storage design elements, which “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.”
If this all sounds a bit too upmarket for you, don’t worry. Qantas is still yet to unveil their Premium Economy and Economy cabins, which should be revealed alongside the design for the Wellbeing Zone. Considering the ultra-long-haul travel times of over 20 hours, they better be the comfiest economy seats in the sky because that’s a lot of sitting down.