It’s been more than two years since we first learned that Qantas was going to refurbish its 12-strong fleet of A380s, and the first refreshed superjumbo is finally about to come into service.

According to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, speaking with Executive Traveller, the first upgraded A380 will be in the skies by the end of September, with three more refurbished aircraft to be flying by year’s end. The whole fleet should be upgraded by the end of 2020.

The refreshed A380s won’t be dedicated to any particular route, so it’ll be a matter of luck if you find yourself flying on one. If you are, you’ll enjoy a big improvement in the business class and premium economy cabins, while only minor changes will be made to first class and economy.

First-class has already seen a ‘soft product’ refresh with new bedding and amenity kits. The seats themselves will now be improved with better cushioning and bigger entertainment screens, while the cabin as a whole will be given a more modern look.

Qantas A380 first class

In business class, the changes will be more dramatic. We’re going from this outdated seat design and 2-2-2 layout …

Current A380 business class seats 

… to the more spacious seats and 1-2-1 layout already flying on Qantas’ 787 Dreamliners.

Business class on the 787s and soon on the A380s

Business class on the 787s and soon on the A380s

Business class passengers will enjoy far superior comfort, privacy, storage space and entertainment compared to now, and the business class product will be competitive with what other carriers offer on key routes to the USA, Asia and London.

In premium economy, the 2-3-2 layout will remain, but we’re going from these dated seats …

Current premium economy seats

… to this next-gen seating, which is also currently on the 787 fleet and offers improved comfort, recline, storage and entertainment.

Qantas premium economy

New Qantas premium economy

Qantas premium economy detail

New Qantas premium economy

The only downside to the new premium economy product is the fact that Qantas is continuing to be stingy with leg-room (by way of comparison, Virgin Australia offers three inches more leg-room in its 777 premium economy cabin). Otherwise, it’s a great seat.

The business class and premium economy cabins will take up the entire A380 upper deck, which will also have a space for relaxing or socialising at the front.

A380 upper deck ‘lounge’ concept

In economy, Qantas has said it will make minor improvements to seat cushions and entertainment.

It’s great to see this mid-life refresh of Qantas’ A380 fleet finally kick into gear – many loyal customers have been eagerly awaiting these improvements, especially to the business class and premium economy cabins.

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