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First Look At The New Qantas A350 Economy & Premium Economy Class Designs

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Immanuel Debeer | 17/06/2023

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Qantas has released details for a comprehensive cabin design for its custom-made Airbus A350s, set to operate direct flights from Sydney to New York and London from late 2025, marking a significant advancement in long-haul travel, something others like Singapore Airlines has been doing for a while.

Previously, the airline had unveiled the plush First and Business cabins in February, and has now revealed the rest of the aircraft interior, including the exclusive Wellbeing Zone and the Premium Economy and Economy cabins.

Initiated in 2019, the cabin design has taken some time to shape the future-oriented A350 cabin of Qantas, designed to carry 238 passengers on a nonstop journey of up to 22 hours from Australia to almost any global location.

The Qantas Project Sunrise flights aim to save over three hours of point-to-point travel time compared to one-stop routes.

Qantas will introduce a custom-built Wellbeing Zone, nestled between the Premium Economy and Economy cabins. This space will feature artistically designed wall panels, integrated stretch handles, a guided exercise program on-screen, a hydration station, and various refreshments.

The new 40-seat Premium Economy cabin and the 140-seat Economy cabin will offer the largest seat pitches among any Qantas aircraft, ergonomic leg and foot rest systems, and personalised storage options in a bid to convince economy class passengers to commit to a 22h flight with no stops.

All four cabin seats will be equipped with multiple quick USB-C charging ports, while premium seats will also include integrated wireless charging.

With the aim of providing greater connectivity, the Qantas A350 fleet will offer fast, free WiFi, and Bluetooth connectivity across all cabins to connect personal headsets to individual inflight entertainment screens.

The aircraft will also feature six enclosed First Suites, designed to mimic a mini hotel room, complete with a 2-metre flat bed, dining table for two, separate recliner chair, and a 32” 4k ultra-high definition touch screen TV.

The 52 Business Suites will come with sliding doors for enhanced privacy, a flat bed, a large dining table, bespoke lighting, and an 18” 4k ultra-high definition touch screen TV.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce stated that while the Qantas A350 will host a significant number of premium seats, the emphasis on comfort and wellbeing extends to the Premium Economy and Economy cabins, which will accommodate most passengers.

According to Joyce, the new Project Sunrise flights have offered a chance to rethink long-haul travel from aircraft cabin design to inflight menu ingredients.

By reducing the A350 seating capacity to 238, compared to the 300-plus seating layout of other carriers, Qantas not only improves aircraft performance over long distances, but also offers more space and comfort for passengers.

Fewer seats means increased space per customer and a dedicated Wellbeing Zone for travellers to stretch, help themselves to a snack and spend time out of their seat. Joyce adds, “We are the only airline in the world that will have a bespoke designed onboard stretch and movement space.”

With a focus on ergonomics, entertainment, and privacy, the Premium Economy cabin has been redesigned from the ground up. The new headrest wings provide passengers with additional support and a sense of privacy without isolating them from travel companions, while an upholstered ergonomic foot and leg rest system aids better sleep.

Economy passengers will enjoy an OLED 13” TV screen, a foot net, and conveniently located storage for personal items like glasses. Qantas claims it has put significant effort to test ergonomics, lumbar support, and breathability of seat fabrics for the new Economy seats, which will offer 33 inches of legroom.

While these flights are still some time away, this gives us a clearer picture on how economy and premium economy passengers will survive a non-stop ultra long haul flight to New York come 2025.

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Immanuel Debeer

Chief points nerd and travel hacker at Flight Hacks

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