Qantas recently converted the back portion of their Airbus A380’s upper deck into five rows of economy seating. On my recent trip from Melbourne to Los Angeles (QF93), I was lucky enough to not only sit up there, but to have three seats to myself. I was initially sitting in 36F, which turned into a bed spread across 36DEF!
- The section has only 30 seats, so it’s really quiet.
- One toilet services the area, so you never have to wait for the loo.
- Seat Guru highlights row 35 in red due to the close vicinity to the toilets which would usually be bothersome having people standing over you, however this is not the case as the section is so small there was never a queue. Due to the wall next to seat 36D (see below under “The Bad”), even if there was a large group hovering around the loo, this would bother row 35, not row 36.
- There is a huge amount of free space in front of, and next to, exit row 35, which is another reason why the close vicinity to the toilets is not bothersome as if in the slight change there is one or two people waiting for the bathroom, they have plenty of space by the door to wait.
- The service personnel were fantastic, and gave the level of attention you’d expect in first class, as their hands weren’t too full trying to cater for such a large section.
- Seat K has a handy little shelf between the seat and the window (see the beginning of video). That is in rows 35 and 36, but I didn’t see the earlier rows to know if they have the shelf as well.
- The section is at the very back of the plane (although tailwind movement was not a problem), so when I boarded the flight I had to walk down to the back to go up the stairs. I would suggest either boarding right at the start if you can with your status, otherwise wait until the very last minute to avoid getting stuck behind everyone settling into their seats.
- The overhead lockers are small, so carry-on baggage storage is limited.
- Seat 36D would be a nightmare of a seat if this section was full, as there is a wall next to the seat. There is a small crack between the wall and seat 35D so a small child could squeeze through if 35D’s seat wasn’t reclined, otherwise it’s like a confined window seat without the window, and with less space because of the straight wall rather than the curved windowed wall (see video below). It also has a little harness under the seat in front to store bags due to limited overhead space, so this gets in the way of legroom. This is easily the worst seat on the plane, which is likely the reason I had the row to myself – it was blocked out when I was checking in.
I took this video from seat 36E while landing, so the curtains into Premium Economy were open with lights on. Most of the flight the curtains were closed and the lights were off, so it was really quiet and peaceful. I am up against a wall that connects to the kitchen, which has an entrance on either side of behind where I’m sitting. At the end of the video you can see what I mean about the wall against 36D.
Seating Map Photo Credit: Seat Guru