Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – As Qantas prepares to launch its long-haul flights under Project Sunrise in 2025, the Australian airline offers a sneak peek at what passengers will experience in the section. The front of the plane during the record-breaking 19-hour flight.
On Thursday, the airline revealed prototypes of the first and business class cabins for 12 Airbus A350 aircraft that will serve direct flights connecting Australia with New York and London.
Given the time passengers spend in the air, enhancing comfort is a priority for aircraft designers.
Qantas has hired sleep scientists to help design its cabins.Credit: Qantas
Qantas Group Chief Executive Officer, Alan Joyce, said in a press release: “Qantas has pioneered the opening of new long-haul flights throughout our history, and we are putting everything we have learned, both technically and in terms of passenger comfort, into the service of the project’s flights.”
In addition to working with designers and aviation professionals, the airline has also recruited a team of scientists, including sleep researchers, from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre.
In order to provide more space for passengers, the project aircraft will accommodate only 238 passengers, which is a significant decline compared to the usual seating layout of more than 300 seats.
The layout includes six seats in First Class in a 1-1-1 configuration, 52 seats in Business Class in a 1-2-1 configuration, 40 in Premium Economy in a 2-4-2 configuration, and 140 seats in Economy in a 3-3-3 configuration.
“We believe the A350’s cabin has the most advanced design among airlines, combining the latest technology and sleep research to implement a look and feel that reflects a new era of travel,” said Joyce.
First look at Project Sunrise’s first and business class cabins
First Class, or First Suites, seats will feature an extra-wide firm bed, a 22-inch wide chaise longue, a full-length wardrobe, a fold-out dining table – large for two – and a 32-inch HDTV.
The airline says customers will “feel like they’re in a miniature hotel.”
Business Class suites are 42 inches wide, with seats 25 inches wide that can be reclined into a two-meter bed. It will also include a padded leather armrest, large mirror, plenty of storage space, and an 18-inch HD touchscreen.
All Executive and Premier suites will be surrounded by high walls and a sliding door for privacy. They will also have multiple charging options for personal devices.
“We began designing this aircraft cabin five years ago, working with Airbus and Qantas to maximize space, as well as create a custom lighting program that would influence mood and sleep patterns,” cabin designer David Kaun said in the statement.
“All elements of design and service will work together to significantly improve comfort, health and well-being on board, and help mitigate the long-standing enemy of jet lag,” he added.
Prototypes of Premium Economy Class and Economy Class have not yet been launched, but the airline says all passengers will have access to a high-speed Wi-Fi connection for free.
The aircraft will also feature a ‘wellness area’ to give passengers a chance to stretch their legs and enjoy refreshments.
Some of the longest flights in the world
The Sunrise project was inspired by secret flights during World War II between Perth, Australia, to Sri Lanka en route to London.
The journeys were perilous, and lasted so long that they saw the sun rise twice.
In preparation for the launch of the project, Qantas conducted three test flights during 2019.
The health of the crew and passengers on board was monitored during the flight to see how such a long flight might affect future passengers.
During these flights, the pilots wore brainwave monitors and had their urine tested in the weeks before and after the flights to track levels of melatonin, a hormone that controls sleep cycles.
One of the test flights, flight QF7879 – which was experienced first-hand by CNN – became the world’s longest passenger flight by a commercial airline with a distance of 17,800 km and a duration in the air (19 hours 19 minutes).
And for the title of the world’s longest scheduled passenger flight currently in service, it goes to Singapore Airlines’ JFK flight, which covers 9,536.5 miles.
Flights from Singapore to JFK take 18 hours and 5 minutes, while flights from JFK to Singapore take 18 hours and 40 minutes, due to headwinds.
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