Australia’s Qantas had a very unique solution to the problem of how to put both first class and business class on their Boeing 767-338ER aircraft. Instead of putting first class up front, then business class behind that as is common, they instead ran a partition down the cabin to split it in half, with one class on either side.

On the port side of the wall were 17 business class seats, while the starboard side featured six first class seats. This was the configuration upon the aircraft’s service entry in September 1988. I don’t believe any other airline used this solution and it doesn’t seem to have been around for very long.

Split Cabin Seating Plan

I’ve managed to track down a seating plan from a Qantas product brochure that would have been issued to the travel trade. When this was issued, it’s noted VH-OQA, VH-OQB, VH-OQC and VH-OQD have this configuration.

The good people at the Qantas Heritage Collection furnished a complete LOPA for one of the configurations (Revision M), which you can see below. A LOPA, for the uninitiated, is the Layout of Passenger Accommodations.

Eagle eyed viewers might notice there are two first class seat types mentioned, Koito and Weber. A note at the other end (not shown) shows that in Revision L, the Koito seats were replaced by Weber. For those wondering, the business class seats are Rumbold.

What Did It Look Like?

Until now, there seem to have been no images published online. Once again, the Qantas Heritage Collection and its volunteers came to the rescue, checking their image archive and sending these over for your viewing pleasure.

These images are from VH-OGG according to the filenames, which is one of the later deliveries. As far as I can tell, no other airline had a dividing wall down the centre of a Boeing 767 to make a split cabin like this. It’s definitely a novel solution!

Gone By 1999?

The separate first class cabin on the 767 did not last for a particularly long time. Checking a timetable from 1999 shows the configuration had already been changed to all business class up front.

That probably suited the regional flights the aircraft was operating, where there would be far less demand for a separate first class cabin. Of note on the seat map above is the Boeing 747SP on the facing page with the unusual longitudinal galley in the B cabin.

Overall Thoughts

Having a partition wall down the centre of a cabin to divide first class and business class is certainly unusual. Looking at the seats, I imagine this was the only way to fit in six first class seats of that width, as they would have been too wide to go right across the cabin.

The location of the first class toilet right at the front in the middle of the cabin is also something different. I’m curious as to whether any other airline came up with this kind of solution, but then again I doubt many had both a first class and a business class on the Boeing 767.

Did you ever fly in the split cabin in first or business class on the Qantas 767-300ER? Or did you ever see it when walking through during boarding? What was it like? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Jeff Gilbert on Jetphotos via Wikimedia Commons.
Seat map via nufnuf on Australian Frequent Flyer.
LOPA and split cabin images via Qantas Heritage Collection.
1999 Seat map via Pinterest.
Cabin 2004 by Chris Finney on via Wikimedia Commons.