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Flying in Luxury on the Qantas A380

Flying in Luxury on the Qantas A380

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It has LCD touch screens, sheepskin-covered full-length beds, and speeds of up to 670 miles per hour. Welcome to the First Suite of the Qantas A380 airliner.

From its inception, passenger air travel revolved around getting the maximum amount of people in a minimum amount of space. Even first-class was largely utilitarian; it may have slightly wider seats, and perhaps more leg-room, a better drinks menu – but aside from the amenities, it boiled down to a sardine tin with frills. In stepped megastar designer Marc Newson, who went to work before the first A380 even rolled off the assembly line.

For the First Suite, Newson’s reimagined floor plan leans more towards “lounge” than “cabin,” taking into account that the double-decker superjumbo A380 has 49 percent more cabin space than a Boeing 747. Newson’s take on first class a la Qantas is something so sleek, so futuristic, you expect Captain Jean-Luc Picard to materialize out of thin air with the command of “Engage!” at his lips. Open and airy, complete with living plants and plush seating areas accented in delicate tints of beige, the First Suite is illuminated with LEDs that subtly change shade to coincide with eating, sleeping and general relaxation. Why all the tranquility-inspiring possibilities? Qantas deemed its A380s the long-haul workhorses of the fleet; once you are on one, there’s a good chance you’ll stay on it for the next 13 hours of flight time.

And what of the berths themselves? Numbering just 14 to convey the idea of luxuriant exclusivity, Newson did away with sharp ends and angles, preferring rounded edges to imbue a sense of curving continuity and calm. High-quality finishes of Edelman leather and real wood elegantly flow around a noise-canceling headset port, PC power, USB and internet ports, creating an environment that further encapsulates you from the fact that you are, in fact, on a plane. Your mood-lit seat converts into a fully flat bed, complemented by a foam mattress, sheepskin overlay and fitted cotton sheeting, overlooked by a private 17-inch widescreen video monitor controlled by touch. A leather guest seat allows for intimate dining even at 5,000 feet. Designer amenities – pajamas, furnishings and tableware among them – finish off an experience one may be reluctant to leave.

And the accolades have followed closely on Qantas’s jet-tails. Newson’s work with the First Suite won the prestigious Good Design Award from The Chicago Athenaeum, following glowing reviews from The New York Times, Daily Mail, and Business Traveler. Considering the Australian airline already has one the best airport lounges in the industry awaiting you in Sydney, a trip to “Oz” may be just that.

This article was originally published on GoodLife Report and has been republished by Pursuitist by permission of GoodLife Report