The best premium economy seats on Qantas' refurbished Boeing 747

By John Walton, February 19 2013
The best premium economy seats on Qantas' refurbished Boeing 747

Travelling in premium economy on Qantas' upgraded Boeing 747 and looking for the best seats?

All the Red Roo's long-range 747-400ER jets and some of its regular 747-400s have been upgraded with the Airbus A380-style cabins and seating, and there are some real gems — plus a couple of real shockers too.

Qantas' Marc Newson-designed premium economy seats are among the best in the sky, with 19.5 inch wide seats (49.5 cm) set 38 inches (96 cm) apart in a 2-4-2 layout.

The revamped 747s have 36 of them over the wing, in a separate cabin between business and economy, right behind a big section of galley kitchen and with only a wall separating the back row of premium economy from regular economy.

How to tell if you're booked on one of the rejigged jumbos?

The seat map on your reservation has the front of premium economy with two seats on the left in rows 34 and 35, then rows 36-39 in a 2-4-2 layout.

(Otherwise, consult our guide to the best seats in premium economy on Qantas' older 747s.)

The best seats on the plane

36K: window seat fans should pick this seat: with nobody reclining back into you there's more space, yet it's away from the bassinet crib position and lavatories.

34A: the second best window seat in the cabin, this one is right behind the lavatory and has a bassinet crib in front of it: you might be moved for or disturbed by a baby.

36D 36G 36J: if you like an aisle, these are good picks with nobody reclining backwards into you and no bassinet crib immediately in front.

37D 37G 37D 38G: on most long 747 flights, an aisle seat is a big bonus: you can get up and stretch at your leisure without disturbing the person next to you. These middle section seats are more likely to have no seatmate — nobody wants to sit in a middle seat.

The worst seats on the plane

39D 39E 39F 39G: with two of the four economy bassinet crib positions right behind you, this is a row to avoid.

38A 39A 38K 39K: watch out: these window seats have alternate windows blocked out, so you'll have to crane your neck to see out.

34B: avoid this seat: it's immediately next to the single lavatory, which sees queues during busy periods.

Also in our series of Best Seats guides: 

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Dec 2012

Total posts 170

"36B: avoid this seat: it's immediately next to the single lavatory, which sees queues during busy periods."

Do you mean 34B?

03 Jan 2011

Total posts 665

Yes, I do. Please excuse the typo. :)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2012

Total posts 39

Had the good luck of flying from Sydney to Dallas in Aug 2012 on a refurbished 747 in PE. Our party of 3 had 37 A & B and 38 D with 38 E vacant. What a great trip. Comfortable and quiet. Food was great, service was excellent and overall would not hesitate in recommending the product. Only ever fly for pleasure, but now could not handle being at the back of the bus in eco. Just need to jump the next step up to Business. Heres hoping.

30 Dec 2014

Total posts 2

Any issues with row 39? says the row 39 may have limmited recline, is that correct?

19 Apr 2015

Total posts 1

Any info on whether row 39 may have limited recline or not would be useful to know. As I have also read the comment. Thanks in advance.

10 Feb 2020

Total posts 1

36D through K DO NOT have better space for a tall person. Yes they have more KNEE space but as there is nowhere to put your feet, you actually end up with less ability to stretch out. Took the above advice and chose row 36 to find I had less space than other seats as my toes were hard against the wall, rather than comfortably under a seat in front of me (I am 6'3"/191cm btw)

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