Qantas is adding premium economy to its second daily Sydney-Singapore flight and launching the ‘better than economy’ seat on the Sydney-Bangkok route.
Instead, travellers will find themselves stepping onto a Finnair jet and into Finnair’s all-new premium economy recliner.
Under a leasing arrangement between the two Oneworld partners intended to solve a shortfall of aircraft, Qantas will fly a Finnair A330 between Sydney and Singapore from October 31, as well as on Sydney-Bangkok from March 31 2024.
And unlike the Qantas A330s they replace, the Finnair A330s include a premium economy cabin – opening up new opportunities for not only greater comfort than economy – at a higher cost, of course – but also potential points-based upgrades from economy to premium economy.
(And yes, this means those flights will also feature Finnair’s unique non-reclining business class ‘sofa’ seat, which turns out to be surprisingly comfortable.)
So what can you expect from Finnair’s A330 premium economy on these Qantas routes?
Finnair’s A330 premium economy cabin is quite small and intimate, with just 21 seats (in three rows of a 2-3-2 layout) and its own dedicated washroom.
The seat’s quite a comfortable one overall, with the standout feature being a single-piece ‘waterfall’ legrest as shown in the photo below, although without a footrest to complete your relaxing recline.
Each passenger gets their own AC and USB power outlets, with a second USB socket in a handy recess below the 13” video screen.
With the same 38” pitch as the Qantas A380 and 787 premium economy seats there’s a decent amount of legroom, and as ways the front row (row 21) delivers maximum stretch.
However, in other dimensions Finnair’s premium economy seat is a notch behind its Qantas equivalent – the recline is 8” whereas Qantas has 9.5 inches, while the 18.7” seat width is narrower than the Red Roo’s 19.5-21 inches.
There’s also a movable 6-way head rest, although you don’t get Finnair’s Marimekko-designed neck pillow: while Finnair is supplying the aircraft and crew, Qantas will look after the catering and IFE content as well as ‘soft product’ elements such as pillows and blankets.
(While the Finnair A330s also offer inflight WiFi, it’s not known if this will be activated and available to passengers on the Singapore and Bangkok routes.)
So which Qantas flights will feature these Finnair A330s? It will be easier to spot them, because Qantas is assigning the Finnair A330 flights their own special QF flight numbers.
Starting October 30 2023, watch for QF291 on Sydney-Singapore and QF292 on Singapore-Sydney. At the time of writing these are flying Monday through Friday, with the red-tailed A330s appearing on the weekend. Qantas’ Finnair A330 premium economy fares are pegged at the same rates as on the QF1/QF2 superjumbos, starting at around $2,100 for a Saver fare and $2,500 for a Flex deal for mid-November.
From March 31 2024, Qantas’ daily Sydney-Bangkok service will be handed over exclusively to the Finnair A330s under flight numbers QF295/QF296. As a benchmark, one-way premium economy fares across April 2024 range from $1,950 to $2,800.
There’ll be no change to earning Qantas Points and status credits on these flights, or your ability to book points-based reward seats or use points for upgrades to premium economy or business class.