Back in 2017, Qantas announced “Project Sunrise.” This project will eventually see direct flights from the east coast of Australia to Europe and New York, and the latest milestone in reaching their targets has come today as they have unveiled the first and business class cabins that will feature on these uber-long haul flights.
These cabins will take up the front sections of the A350-1000, an aircraft that Qantas is calling the “ultimate long-range aircraft.” As things stand, Qantas currently possess 12 of these aircraft, and they plan to start running direct flights on them from Sydney to London and New York in late 2015.
Upon unveiling the new state-of-the-art cabins, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce has said that customer comfort is the airline’s number one priority for these long flights. In a statement, he said:
“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.”
A Look At the Cabins
As a general point on the A350s, they are designed only to seat 238 passengers, which is less than the standard 300-plus layout that Qantas has on other long-haul aircraft.
The decision to reduce passenger numbers comes after talks with aviation specialists and sleep researchers from the University of Sydney. As a result, it was deemed that passengers would need more space for flights that would last over 17 hours.
The first-class cabins on the A350s will be called “first suites” For a good reason, they resemble a hotel lobby more than an airplane cabin. Each passenger in first class will get an extra-wide fixed bed, a recliner lounge chair, a wardrobe, a dining table for two, and a 32-inch ultra-HD television.
While the business-class facilities aren’t quite as sophisticated, they are still to be marveled at. For example, passengers here will get a 25-inch wide chair that can be reclined into a bed as well as plenty of storage space and an 18-inch ultra-high definition touchscreen television.
All first-class and business-class passengers will be enclosed from other parts of the plane with sliding doors and high walls to ensure privacy throughout.
The designer of the cabins, David Caon, is understandably proud of what he has put together. In a statement, he said:
“We began designing this aircraft cabin five years ago, working with Airbus and Qantas to maximize space, as well as creating a tailored lighting program that will influence mood and sleep patterns. All the design and service elements will work together to significantly improve inflight comfort, convenience, health, and well-being and minimize the old nemesis of jetlag.”
Premium economy and economy passengers will still be able to enjoy a reasonable flight experience as well. All passengers will have more space than on a typical flight, and they will have access to high-speed Wi-Fi. Additionally, each flight will have a well-being zone where passengers can stretch their legs and enjoy refreshments.
No Stone Left Unturned
Over the past five years, Qantas has been extremely precise in preparations for Project Sunrise, ensuring they deliver the best possible experience for their customers. This is despite facing record losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2019, the airline conducted three trial research trips where pilots wore brainwave monitors and had their urine tested before and after the flights to track levels of melatonin, a hormone that plays a vital role in sleep patterns.
Passengers also wore monitoring devices which helped scientists study how their body clocks dealt with the extreme flight length.
This article was produced and syndicated by The Impulse Traveler.