Qantas has unveiled its answer to the Virgin Australia business class seats in the Airbus A330s each carrier uses for key transcontinental Perth routes, and it would be fair to say, the battle of the beds is on.

Although not until late next year! Fitting of the fully flat and parallel to the floor Qantas A330 sleeper seats will not begin until toward the end of 2014, and will also be accompanied by completely new or refurbished economy seating depending on the routes flown.

Qantas has not as yet posted seat maps for the A330s, however the photo at the top of the page strongly suggests that it will use a staggered one by two by one layout in which the large table area beside each seat also houses the extension of the seat behind into the full length sleeping position.

This is what Qantas said about the changes.

Qantas today previewed the new interiors that will feature on its Airbus A330 fleet from late 2014, including Marc Newson-designed Business Suites for international and domestic customers.

All 30 of Qantas’ A330s will be upgraded with Business Suites in a 1-2-1 layout with fully flat beds and direct aisle access from every seat. Ten A330-300s for Qantas International will feature new Economy seats and 20 A330-200s for Qantas Domestic will see their Economy seats refurbished.

Uniquely, the new Business Class seats can be left in a recline position for take-off and landing, maximising the opportunity for rest – a key point of difference between Qantas and other carriers flying to Asia.

In addition to Panasonic inflight entertainment systems, all A330s will be fitted with Qantas’ Q-Streaming technology, which gives customers access to an extensive entertainment library streamed to devices like iPads.   

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the upgrade would set the airline’s product apart from competitors where its A330s do the bulk of their flying – on key Asian routes and on the domestic east-west market.

“Customers in all parts of the aircraft will notice a significant improvement in comfort when our refreshed A330s start to roll out from the end of 2014,” said Mr Joyce.

“Qantas invented business class and these new Business Suites reflect what we know our customers want, whether they are flying for work or leisure. We’ve created a product that has enough space to dine while working, or if you want to rest, to leave the seat in a recline position from take-off to landing.”

It also showed off the new product for its five two class Boeing 717s that will from early next year be flown mostly on Canberra routes as a response to the Virgin Australia Embraer E-190 jets.

This is the 717 business class cabin below, comprising three rows of two by two seats.

Qantas summarised the changes as follows. The statement shows that the introduction of the new 717 product will not be at the end of this year, as originally intended.

QantasLink today unveiled new interiors for five of its 110- seat Boeing 717 aircraft, to operate on the Sydney-Canberra, Brisbane-Canberra and Melbourne-Canberra routes, with a Business class cabin and iPad entertainment in every seat.

“These dedicated B717 aircraft will offer excellent levels of comfort, entertainment, food and wine, delivering on our commitment to continually improve our service,” said Mr Joyce.

The five new QantasLink B717s, announced in January this year, will be introduced to the domestic fleet during FY14.  Qantas Domestic’s 13 other B717s are also being upgraded with new interiors in an all-economy configuration.

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