Qantas has given details of a new business class seat that the airline claims will allow passengers to recline throughout the flight.
The seat is being fitted to its Airbus A330 fleet and the airline says it will allow passengers “to recline in their seat from take-off through to landing”, although it has yet to get certification from Australian aviation authorities for this. Some seats, such as Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class, allow the footrest to be used during take-off but the backrest must be upright.
All 28 Qantas aircraft will be refitted, with the first entering service in December. They will operate some domestic routes and flights to Hawaii and Asia. These will include Sydney to Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila and Shanghai.
Designed in collaboration with Marc Newson, the new Vantage XL Business Suite will offer direct aisle access for every passenger in a 1-2-1 layout. The refit means the airline will be the only one to offer a fully flatbed on the east-west domestic route.
Qantas Group Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said: “We believe this product will deliver the best travel experience between Australia and Asia, and probably the best domestic travel experience anywhere in the world.
“A key point of difference from all other carriers is that the seat can be in recline and fitted with the mattress from take-off right through to landing. With many Business passengers enjoying a meal in the lounge prior to travelling, this means more time to rest and sleep.”
Economy cabins on all international A330s will be fitted with a next-generation model of the award-winning Recaro seat, an earlier version of which is on the Airbus A380 and refurbished Boeing 747 aircraft. Economy seats on the A330-200s for Qantas Domestic will also be refreshed.
Passengers across both cabins on the international A330 aircraft will have the latest Panasonic eX3 inflight entertainment system, with larger seatback touchscreens in addition to Q Streaming technology, enabling them to view content on their own devices. Domestic Business Class passengers enjoy the same Panasonic eX3 system, while Economy customers will have either seatback touchscreens or devices provided by Qantas in every seat.
The first of the domestic refurbished A330 aircraft will take to the skies in late December from the east coast to Perth, and the first international A330 will commence flying in January 2015. Qantas also confirmed the construction of a new Domestic Business Lounge in Perth, due to open in the third quarter of 2015.