Ansett Airlines of Australia were once the second major player in the domestic market in that country. When they introduced the Airbus A320 in 1988, the aircraft featured a luxurious first class cabin.
At the time their competitor was Trans Australia Airlines, or TAA for short. Eventually Government owned TAA was renamed Australian Airlines and folded into Qantas in the early 1990s, while Ansett went bankrupt in 2001. Before that though, things were a little rosier.
That Luxurious First Class Cabin
Ansett decided to call their Airbus A320 planes the Skystar, for reasons I am unaware of. What I do remember is reading a marketing brochure at the time, which featured glorious cabin pictures.
The theme they went with was total luxury, with inspiration taken from the Orient Express trains. Seats in first class were upholstered in a deep blue fabric that looked like velvet and from memory were even tufted. The white head rests had what appeared to be lace around the edges to complete the look.
For the bulkhead, it was given a finish that resembled the wooden panelling you might find on a train. To complete the bougie look, it even had what looked like gold leaf scrollwork as well.
On one side you could find an actual clock as well. This was always set to Melbourne time, which was the airline’s home base. I suppose they couldn’t be changing it for the different time zones in Australia for each flight.
I have no idea how long this luxurious first class cabin remained on the Airbus A320s at Ansett, but I have to say it looked great. To this day I vividly remember the shots from the brochure, as I thought it was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen.
What do you think of the Ansett cabin inspired by the Orient Express? Did you ever fly in it? I’d also love to see more pictures if anyone has any. Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
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Featured image via Yesterday’s Airlines.
Cabin images via Sir Reginald Ansett Transport Museum on Facebook.
Never been to OZ (unfortunately) so had no idea about this. Looks like First Class Plus to me! When it comes to airlines I’ve always rooted for the underdogs: UTA vs. AF, BCal vs. BA, The US Nationals vs. the Majors etc. The underdogs always tried harder back then, didn’t they? I’ve watched them all fall one by one…but to quote “Camelot”…”for one brief shining moment”. Thanks so much for sharing this Trent.
Yes, the moneyed 1980s were something different in Australia apparently. Alas, Ansett often hampered the competition. Back in the 1950s, TAA wanted to introduce the Caravelle into Australia, but Ansett convinced the Government it was too much of a leap for them, so in the name of competition, TAA was denied and both airlines bought the Lockheed Electra instead. It’s all politics! Ansett was very popular among business and wealthy people, which I suppose explains the cabin 🙂 Agree with you, so many underdogs have gone these days. I wish many of them were still around, as the competition would… Read more »
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