Qantas brings the Boeing 787 onto domestic flights

The Dreamliner goes domestic, beginning with up to nine Sydney-Perth flights each week.

By David Flynn, May 25 2021
Qantas brings the Boeing 787 onto domestic flights

Qantas' international Boeing 787-9s will become a regular sight in Australian skies as the airline swings the Dreamliner onto selected domestic routes.

In the days before COVID, the big twin-aisle jet flew flagship routes to the likes of London and the USA.

But with overseas travel now largely ruled out until at least December 2021, and local demand soaring to the point where Qantas will soon exceed 100% of pre-COVID levels, the Dreamliner is taking Australia under its wing.

The Qantas Boeing 787-9 in flight.
The Qantas Boeing 787-9 in flight.

The Boeing 787-9 will make its domestic debut between Sydney and Perth as of Wednesday May 26, with up to nine flights per week – and it's easily the best way to make that coast to coast trek.

Qantas Boeing 787 business class.
Qantas Boeing 787 business class.

In addition to the 42 business class seats, which are the latest version of the Qantas Business Suite design, there are also 28 premium economy seats which will be made available to top-tier Qantas Frequent Flyers.

Qantas Boeing 787 premium economy.
Qantas Boeing 787 premium economy.

Premium economy isn't sold on these domestic flights – only economy and business class fares are listed on the Qantas website – but Gold, Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers will see rows from the premium economy cabin appear on the seating chart when making an economy booking and selecting their seat.

Qantas Boeing 787 seat map.
Qantas Boeing 787 seat map.

All other economy passengers will see a seatmap beginning at row 40, which is the Dreamliner's actual economy class cabin (that said, rows 40 and 46 give you plenty of extra legroom).

At the time of writing, the Boeing 787-9 appears on the following flights:

  • Sydney-Perth, QF645 (departs Sydney at 10.25am, arrives into Perth at 1.20pm)
  • Perth-Sydney, QF648 (departs Perth at 2.35pm, arrives into Sydney at 8.35pm)

Read more: How to fly the Qantas Boeing 787-9 between Sydney and Perth

More Airbus A330s, too

But it's not all about those advanced, comfortable and fuel-efficient Boeings: Qantas is also rolling out more of its Airbus A330s, specifically the A330-300s which previously dominated Australia-Asia routes.

The A330-300s will be added to the rosters for Sydney-Perth and Melbourne-Perth, where they'll feature alongside the domestic A330-200s, as well as Sydney-Darwin and Brisbane-Darwin.

Qantas Airbus A330 business class.
Qantas Airbus A330 business class.

The A330s sport an earlier version of the same Business Suite business class as the Boeing 787s, with direct aisle access for every passenger, plenty of elbow room and legroom, a large video screen and a seat which folds down to become a fully flat bed.

Read more: Upgrade your domestic Qantas business class experience – book an A330

"We know how popular the 787s and A330s are with our customers on our international network and we think there will be huge demand for the domestic flights these aircraft operate on, particularly frequent flyers looking to use points" says Andrew David, the CEO of Qantas' domestic and international operations.

"Our strategy of adding new domestic routes is generating revenue from our aircraft rather than leaving them on the ground. It means more work for our people and even more low fares for our customers."

Also read: How you can fly the Qantas Boeing 787-9 between Sydney and Perth


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

07 Feb 2018

Total posts 18

That’s great! I saw a picture with two undelivered but painted Qantas 787’s at Boeing recently, I wonder when they will take delivery of these, apparently there are three sitting there. Would be great news for all Australian’s seeing a positive happening in this industry 

19 Nov 2012

Total posts 45

QF has 3 undelivered 787 in desert storage. They’ve negotiated with Boeing that they won’t take delivery till operationally required. Probably from Oct. They’re currently training many ex 747 pilots to fly the 787. 

KW72 Banned
KW72 Banned

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 249

Good to see travel picking up. Would rather see the government lift their game by having borders open and the 787 flying back where they belong!

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1174

QF has been flying VH-ZNB between SYD and PER both yesterday and today so maybe this plan has started early.

01 Jun 2017

Total posts 8

Would Love to see the  Qantas 787 on Gold Coast to Sydney 

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 383

I'm sure plenty of people would love to see the Qantas 787 on their favourite route, but to be realistic, it's doing Sydney-Perth because of the length of flight and demand, I doubt the Gold Coast to Sydney would make sense for the 787.

24 Jun 2020

Total posts 35

I flew Perth/Sydney on Monday (24/5) and the 787 was used and can I say what an awesome product it was.

I honestly wished I was on my way to the USA/UK in my seat as the plane and seating looked brand new.

28 Jan 2016

Total posts 3

787’s flying the bubble SYD-AKL would be a great use of the aircraft 

02 Jun 2017

Total posts 4

How do the dreamliners not feature in Melbourne - Perth flights?

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 230

Maybe because SYD-PER is a more popular route with higher demand?

"It means more work for our people and even more low fares for our customers."

A bi-product of surplus capacity is diluting the yields, can’t believe QF actively care about reducing the price of tickets. 

06 Sep 2019

Total posts 27

I'm currently sitting in a crowded 737 as we speak with a Perth bound 787 outside my the window. I'm wishing I was on that one.

16 Dec 2016

Total posts 48

Travelgourmet of course Qantas 'actively care' about reducing the price of tickets.  Aviation is incredibly competitive and and one of the only industries where prices have decreased against CPI over time.  A business class fare today between Sydney and Perth is the same as an economy fare was in 1980 and have economy prices between the cities have fallen 94% since 1964.  Of course Qantas (and any airline!) has to care about yields but it is unfair to be snarky about their prices as we have all seen flying become far more affordable in our lifetime.  Just one more example - in 1964, when the first jets were introduced in Australia, the average yearly income would get you 9 return flights between Sydney or Melbourne and Perth.  Today you would get more than 250 return flights for the average yearly income.  I don't think that everything Qantas does is right however I think that we are lucky to have a strong national carrier that can weather the Covid storm and come out the other side a strong and competitive (and Australian!) carrier.  Getting off my soap box now 😂

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 441

once again Adelaide misses out.I have not been to the airport in my home town in ages but seeing everything served by a 737 is beyond a joke or does Alan Joyce thinks that's all the south australian market is worth.please at least for sydney or perth or anything give us a 787 or a330.

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 230

Population of Sydney: 5.3 million

Population of Adelaide: 1.3 million.

I think you can do the sums from there and work out why Adelaide doesn't get Boeing 737s or even Airbus A330s. Hint: it's got nothing to how you feel airlines or their CEOs 'treat' Adelaide, it's just plain and simple business, there are not enough people in Adelaide flying to say SYD or PER to justify those larger jets.

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