I can say, “Why Not, and what took so long?”
What would you see if you could look a few years into the future, say the year 2025? If you have read anything recently about Qantas Airlines, you would know that they envision bringing hotels to the sky. It has been a long time coming, but they plan on getting their long-gestating program “Project Sunrise” to fruition by making the 19-hour long-haul flight more comfortable. Suddenly, London and New York aren’t too far away from Eastern Australia.
To make the flight more comfortable, they are ordering 12 Airbus A350–1000s planes, with 238 seats on each aircraft. Airbus states these planes can hold upwards of 350 to 410 passengers, but Qantas focuses on comfort. The reduced number of passengers, coupled with four separate seating classes, will ensure the flight is less “exhausting” and a little less confining. Expect a class structure starting with first class, business class, premium economy, and economy.
Qantas is reversing the trend of squeezing as many passengers on the plane as possible. We are still a few years away from experiencing this firsthand, but there is no doubt the pricing will reflect this trend. Any time you remove seats, the cost increases on the remaining. Expect a pricing scheme all over the board with the highest price associated with first-class, comprising 6 “Enclosed Suites.” Each suite will come with ample storage, a mirror, wardrobe, 32" Television, bed, and seating.
Let’s face it! This was a long time coming, and it was only a matter of time before someone brought cruise-ship-like rooms to the skies. Sure we have had beds, but minimal privacy. Now I use “we” in general terms because individuals like myself are not the target market for Qantas, as I wouldn’t be willing to part with a small fortune to get one of these six suites. Judging by the plane diagram below, I would most likely be crammed back in an economy with an extra two inches of legroom over other airline competitors.
Don’t view me as bitter, as this is just a reality for most everyday passengers. Hopefully, the regular passengers can still participate in the advertised well-being zones. Perhaps the additional legroom and included gathering area will break up the monotony of these endless flights. This is especially important when pushing the limits of extremely long flights traversing numerous time zones. Indeed, this will not avert the ill effects of jet lag, but it will lessen them!
Project Sunrise as explained by Qantas:
Will carry 238 passengers across four classes (First, Business, Premium Economy, and Economy), with more than 40 percent of the cabin dedicated to premium seating.
The cabin is specially configured for improved comfort on long flights and includes a Wellbeing Zone in the centre and more spacious seating in Premium Economy and Economy cabins.
Will be carbon neutral, with all emissions offset.