There has been a lot of noise lately about Qantas refreshing its remaining A380s. The first of twelve has just entered service. One thing that has garnered attention is the onboard lounge for business and first class passengers.
The old A380 onboard lounge was not very popular. It was dark and narrow, the layout meant people were sitting beside one another rather than facing one another, and in the absence of passengers was regularly used by crew.
They’ve never captured the zeitgeist in the way, say, the Emirates onboard lounges have.
But Qantas has poured attention into redesigning their A380 onboard lounge. It isn’t that easy a task given the confined space as the front of the upper deck and lack of natural light.
But this is what they’ve come up with. There are now two lounges. Both are located at the top of the staircase. The larger lounge is on the aircraft’s forward facing right, the smaller lounge is on the forward facing left.
The first, larger lounge is where the old lounge was situated. It now has two tables with seating for half a dozen passengers. It reminds me vaguely of a cafeteria, albeit an upmarket one. There’s wood paneling, soft lighting, and passengers can now face one another – which makes for a more sociable atmosphere.
The second lounge on the opposite side of the aircraft is smaller, seating just three passengers in an L shaped lounge configuration. There’s a glass paneled refrigerator full of drinks and snacks.
Qantas noted yesterday that they would be offering a range of new snacks and light meals for passengers in the onboard lounges.
“Passengers will be able to chose from dishes including dry laska goreng with fishcakes and seared prawns to mushroom arancini in a tomato ragu as part of custom-designed menus for each route.”
They’ve also referenced the self service bar and said cocktails will be available, including the Qantas classics like the pink grapefruit G&T.
The lounges look like an improvement on the previous generation A380 lounges, which I thought were always very much an afterthought by Qantas. Initial reaction has been positive, although how many first class passengers will triapse upstairs from their suites remains to be seen.
And once the novelty of the refresh wears off, whether these new lounges are any more popular than the old ones will remain to be seen.
As more refreshed aircraft come progressively come into service, I guess we’ll find out.