Qantas has rolled out the first of its upgraded Airbus A380 aircraft – and socialising is at the forefront of the new design.
The Australian airline has introduced an expanded on board lounge which seats up to 10 business and first class passengers.
So, rather than kicking back with a film, some shut-eye or being digitally connected just like life on the ground, there's no excuse for those with access to sit down with others and have an old-fashioned conversation while enjoying a drink and some nibbles.
The lounge features wood paneling on the wall, dark seats and shareable tables for travellers to sit and chin-wag with one another.
The previous A380 design saw Qantas lounge passengers sitting side by side rather than facing one another and so reducing the opportunity for interaction.
The first reconfigured aircraft flew from London to Sydney via Singapore, arriving in Australia on Wednesday, October 2.
“Working with Airbus, we’ve been able to use the cabin space more efficiently and improve the economics of the aircraft while also providing a better experience in every part of the aircraft," said Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce.
“By the end of this upgrade, we’ll have next-generation seating across our entire long-haul fleet of A380s, A330s and 787s.”
Two more A380 aircrafts are expected to undergo refurbishment before the end of 2019, Qantas said, while the remaining aircraft should be completed by the end of 2020.
It's not just a flashy new lounge that Qantas has introduced. The whole upper deck of the A380 has had a makeover, with it now housing business and premium economy. Premium seating has increased 27 per cent, while there are 30 fewer economy seats, though they have been given a new colour scheme.
The 14 first-class suites have also had a refresh with new seat cushioning and a higher resolution entertainment screen.