Qantas unveils A350 business and first class seating prototypes

23 Feb 2023 by Mark Caswell
Qantas A350 business class prototype

Qantas has unveiled the prototype premium cabins for its planned nonstop flights from Australia to New York and London.

Created by Australian firm Caon Design, alongside aviation specialists and a team of scientists from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre, the business class seats convert into a two-metre bed, and offer a sliding privacy door, an 18-inch touch screen TV, cushioned leather ottoman, a “large mirror”, feature lighting, a “large dining table” and “generous storage”.

Meanwhile the First suites have been designed “to make customers feel like they are in a mini boutique hotel room”, with an “extra-wide fixed bed”, separate recliner chair, wardrobe, dining table for two people, and 32-inch TV screen.

All seats in business and first class cabins will both offer direct aisle access, with six first class suites in a 1-1-1 layout and 52 business class suites in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Qantas A350 first class prototype

Customers will benefit from “multiple personal device charging options including wireless induction charging”, and there will also be “fast and free” wifi in partnership with Viasat, and Bluetooth connectivity allowing passengers to connect their headphones to the IFE system.

Economy and premium economy seat designs will be unveiled “in the coming months”, alongside a Wellbeing Zone concept for all passengers.

Last year Qantas confirmed an order for 12 A350 aircraft as part of Project Sunrise. The carrier plans to offer ultra-long-haul nonstop flights to London and New York from late 2025.

Qantas CEO: Project Sunrise is “final fix for the tyranny of distance”

Qantas’ fleet of 12 A350 aircraft will be configured with 238 seats, compared to the 300-plus seats offered by existing A350 carriers.

David Caon said it had been working on the cabin designs for five years, stating that “All the design and service elements will work together to significantly improve inflight comfort, convenience and health and wellbeing and help minimise the old nemesis of jetlag”.

Meanwhile Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce commented:

“Qantas has been the leader in opening up new long-haul flights for most of our history, and we’re bringing everything we’ve learned, both technically and in terms of passenger comfort, to Project Sunrise flying.

“We think our A350 cabins have the most sophisticated and thoughtful design of any airline, combining cutting edge technology with sleep research to shape the look and feel for what is effectively a new era of travel.

“We’re building on the customer experience of our extremely popular non-stop flights from Perth to London as we keep working to make it easier to connect Australia with the rest of the world.”

Earlier this week Qantas unveiled plans for a $100 million investment in its network of domestic and international lounges, with a new first class facility at Heathrow, and the surprise reopening of the carrier’s Hong Kong lounge this April.

Qantas to launch new first class lounge at London Heathrow

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