How To Tell If You’re On The Upgraded Qantas A380


Immanuel Debeer | 01/10/2019

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The first refreshed/upgraded Qantas A380 took off yesterday from London to Sydney via Singapore. A further two A380 aircraft are expected to undergo refurbishment before the end of 2019. Each aircraft takes approximately eight weeks to upgrade.

This is part of a long-overdue upgrade process that will see the A380 fleet kitted out with the “new” business class seats and a refreshed first-class suite.

Key elements of Qantas A380 the upgrade include

  • The introduction of the Qantas Business Suite, replacing the previous Skybeds (FINALLY!), in a 1:2:1 configuration that now gives aisle access to every passenger.
  • The installation of the new Premium Economy seat (first debuted on the Qantas Dreamliner) and increasing the number of seats from 35 to 60.
  • A larger onboard lounge space with seating for up to 10 Business and First passengers.
  • An update to the 14 First Class Suites with new contoured cushioning, seat finishes and a larger, higher resolution entertainment screen.
  • A new colour palette for the Economy cabin and improved inflight entertainment.

If you’ve ever flown on the old Qantas A380, you would know how outdated the business class seats are, especially in a 2-2-2 configuration.

How To Tell If You’re On The Refreshed A380?

Since there’s currently only one A380 which is finished and ready for take-off, it’s rather easy to track. With that in mind, Qantas will be rotating this aircraft on a variety of routes so don’t assume you will get it on every QF2/QF1 flight.

Current confirmed “New” A380 flights

  • October 3 — QF 2 (London to Singapore to Sydney)
  • October 6 — QF2 (London to Singapore to Sydney)
  • October 10 — QF 2 (London to Singapore to Sydney)

Note that even though some other websites report more dates, the dates above I have personally checked with Expert Flyer.

After this, it’s very likely the refurbished A380 will be scheduled to fly to the US.

The aircraft registration number to watch out for is VH-OQK, you can easily track this Flightradar24 and other websites.

The other way to know for sure is to look at the seat map in business class. All the new configured A380’s will be running a 1-2-1 configuration as opposed to the old 2-2-2, so it’s easy to spot.

Old A380 2-2-2 config

If you’re not travelling in business class (and therefore can’t see the seat map), you can use a tool such as Expert Flyer to monitor your flight route and get notified when any changes happen.

New A380 1-2-1 config

If you aren’t already using Expert Flyer, it’s a must-have! It can monitor award seat availability and detailed seat map info for every flight. There’s a free version, but I think it’s worth paying for pro.

If you’ve read this far, congratulations! We’re giving away a one year Pro subscription to Expert Flyer so you too can master the art of snapping up coveted award seats when they become available!

All you need to do is subscribe to our email newsletter (if you haven’t already done so) and leave a comment on this post about what you think of the refurbished Qantas A380?

The best/most entertaining/most thoughtful comment wins. (Entries close Saturday 5 October 2019 – winner announced via email Sunday, October 6)


Immanuel Debeer

Chief points nerd and travel hacker at Flight Hacks

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