Qantas to upgrade economy seats

Qantas to upgrade economy seats – Qantas is set to usher in a new era of passenger comfort by replacing some of its oldest economy class seats with ‘next-generation’ designs, with the anticipated upgrade slated to commence in the second half of this year.

This initiative aligns with Qantas’ strategic plan to expedite the introduction of brand-new domestic and international aircraft in the coming years to modernize its fleet. The upcoming revamp encompasses around two dozen Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 jets, poised to supplant the aging twin-aisle Airbus A330s currently deployed on domestic and short-haul international routes.

While the retirement of the Qantas A330 is anticipated by 2027, with the A350 and 787 replacements slated for arrival “in a decade or more,” certain red-tailed A330s may continue to serve passengers well beyond 2035.

In light of this, Qantas has committed to the refurbishment of select A330s, including the introduction of new economy seats, starting from the fiscal year 2025. The move is part of the broader cabin overhaul program for aircraft exiting the Qantas fleet at the end of the replacement initiative.

While there is no indication of a replacement for the A330’s business class, it appears unnecessary given the existing comfort and competitiveness of its spacious business suites. These suites, an evolved version of which is present on the Boeing 787 and upgraded Airbus A380s, continue to provide a superior experience on the routes served by the Qantas A330, particularly on Australia’s transcontinental east-west routes following Virgin Australia’s retirement of its A330 jets.

Curious about what passengers can anticipate from the Qantas A330 makeover?

Is Qantas's A350 economy seat, shown here, a move to the A330?Is Qantas’s A350 economy seat, shown here, a move to the A330?

Exciting plans are in the pipeline for a cutting-edge economy seat, and we would be genuinely surprised if it were otherwise. The inspiration for this economy seat is drawn from the A350 Project Sunrise jet, which is set to revolutionize air travel with non-stop flights from Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York by late 2025.

Designed by Recaro and crafted under the artistic guidance of Qantas’ preferred designer, David Keon, the seat boasts sculpted side-bolsters, a six-way adjustable headrest, and increased legroom from knees to the seat in front.

Distinguishing itself from the economy seats on some Qantas A330-200s, mainly used for domestic routes but also deployed on certain flights to Asia, the A350 economy seats come equipped with a 13.3″ 4K seatback video screen featuring Bluetooth audio streaming and a USB power outlet. Additionally, a convenient fold-down device holder caters to tablets and smartphones, enhancing the overall passenger experience.

Qantas's A350 economy seats come with all the modern amenities.Qantas’s A350 economy seats come with all the modern amenities.

Qantas has not yet disclosed the specific A330 aircraft under consideration, but it is likely to involve the younger members of the fleet with fewer flight hours.

Vanessa Hudson, CEO of Qantas, has previously informed that the upgrade initiative is slated to commence in 2027, kicking off with the replacement of A330s by Boeing 787s.

According to insights from both the A350s and 787s are expected to feature the same seating arrangements as their A330 counterparts. This implies private business class suites for the A350s and premium economy recliners, similar to those in the long-haul Project Sunrise A350s, while omitting the first-class or ‘wellness’ areas.

Maintaining a largely identical configuration ensures consistency on international flights and allows the flexibility to deploy some of these A330 replacements, particularly the Boeing 787, on longer routes as required.

Regarding the Boeing 787, anticipated to assume the majority of domestic A330 routes, this may lead to Premium Economy becoming a permanent fixture not only on Qantas flights to Asia but potentially on domestic routes as well. It could be offered as a value-added ‘Economy Plus’ product or as an upgrade option for top-tier frequent flyers.

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