We are great fans of Marc Newson and what he is achieving at Qantas with regards to design. The lounges in Sydney are spectacular (and won our Top 10 Lounges last year) and his attempts at pulling the fleet into the 21st century have been very successful. (perhaps in part due to the competition arisen from Virgin Australia)
So we weren’t surprised to see the latest business class and economy class seating for their A330 fleet to be comparable (if not better in some respects) to Virgin Australia’s A330. We take a closer look at what the new aircraft has to offer which will be rolled out at the end of 2014. (Check out our gallery at the bottom of the page for some high resolution images to get the full detail)
Whilst the pictures here show in great clarity the brilliant seats, what they don’t show is the now fairly industry standard 1 x 2 x 1 fully flat bed seating arrangement, that is becoming fairly common around the world. The benefit of this seating configuration is whilst your toes might be like two bits of ham in a coffin, the rest of you gets plenty of space to relax, and more importantly, each seat gets aisle access, something that still bugs us over BA’s Club World seating arrangement.
What’s more, is in comparison to Virgin Australia (who still have some great advantages) Qantas have provided a fully flat bed, meaning you won’t lie up being strangled by your headphone cord in a small pile of pillows, creased shirts and duvets after a fairly questionable ‘good-nights-sleep’.
There are details we really like, such as a deep metal pocket to store iPads, laptops, magazines, books etc, which is exquisitely detailed, or the handle on the top of the seat, which is perfect for navigating yourself to the aisle when behind the seats, so as not to encroach on your private space. The fabrication choices, such as light wood veneer and deep burgundy fabrics and muted slate greys. One thing that isn’t so great, a 16″ screen, much smaller than some Asian carriers, which it will be competing against.
Whilst we would be really happy to say this is an example of the legroom found on the A330 fleet, sadly, this is just for illustrational purposes. What you can see is a beautifully crafted pair of economy seats with great detailing, such as the red piping and metal tips to the arm rests, and even a power socket in between the seats, meaning a more robust seat for wear and tear. we also like the seat belts, which seem slimmer than those we are usually used to. Also expect an 11.1 inch screen, just about enough to feel like a big TV in your living room.
According to their press release, International Economy Class passengers will have a noticeable increase in overall comfort and legroom, with a streamlined under-seat design. Internationally-configured A330s will have foot-nets and multidirectional headrests (similar to the A380 product) plus an armrest that fits neatly between the seats when folded away.
Domestic Economy Class seats will be refreshed, with new cushions and more contemporary fabrics.
What about entertainment?
In addition to Panasonic inflight entertainment systems, all A330s will be fitted with Qantas’ Q-Streaming technology, which gives customers access to an extensive entertainment library streamed to tablet-style devices. New back of seat entertainment will be fitted to the international fleet (all cabins) and domestic Business Suites, increasing the amount of content from around 300 hours to over 1500 (similar to what is offered on our A380s). On the international fleet this is in addition to Qstreaming to your own device.