Photos: Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner economy class seats

By David Flynn, October 27 2016
Photos: Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner economy class seats

Qantas will treat its Boeing 787 economy class passengers to an extra inch of legroom over the airline's flagship A380 superjumbo, along with mod cons such as an iPad stand built into each seat.

As previously tipped, the red-tailed Dreamliner will have 166 economy seats arranged in a 3-3-3 layout.

The 32 inch seat pitch – the distance measured from any point on one seat to the same point on the seat in front or behind it – is one inch more than the Qantas Airbus A380's economy seats.

And that one extra inch makes quite a difference, not just in legroom but in knee-room.

It's two inches more than the economy seating on Jetstar's Boeing 787, and along with a six inch seat recline sees Qantas ranking among the more generous Dreamliner economy cabins.

That's in line with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce's earlier pomise of "some very good seat pitch for economy seats given the the lengths we’ll be flying," with an eye towards the Boeing 787-9 unlocking long-range direct flights into Europe, North America and potentially non-stop between Perth and London.

The seat, manufactured by Recaro and designed by David Caon, is considered the next generation of Qantas' current A380 and A330 economy seats.

There's a slight difference between the width of the superjumbo and Dreamliner economy seats, however: the former is 17.5 inches wide, the latter a trim 17.2 inches. We don't suspect anybody's going to notice they're getting 0.3 inches (0.76cm) less.

Directly beneath the 12 inch touchscreen video display lurks a concealed nook for holding small personal items – reading glasses, a small amenity kit and what-not.

The door to this space swings down to become a stand for your tablet or smartphone, which can be topped up during the flight via the adjacent high-power USB socket (there's also a shared universal AC outlet between the seats).

Two mesh pockets below the fold-out tray table provide extra stowage for a water bottle and smaller personal items, with a foot net offering additional foot support.

"When we were designing the seat, one of the first things we wanted to do was to make sure we could get as much storage in there as possible" Caon tells Australian Business Traveller.

"Something else we thought really intensely on was the ability to get some rest and a good night's sleep, so that comes with space and also how you deal with things like light."

This in turn drove the decision to integrate a small 'mood light' into each seat as an alternative to the standard personal reading light, to provide some illumination without bothering other passengers.

"One of my bugbears when I'm in economy is if somebody puts that overhead light on it can be quite bright," Caon shares, "so we added the mood lighting."

Also read:


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.

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 134

An extra inch of legroom would make a difference in comfort that's for sure 


10 Dec 2015

Total posts 177

@Angus Conventry:"An extra inch of legroom would make a difference in comfort that's for sure."
More precisely, QF is planning an extra inch of seat PITCH in Y on 789 over those on its 380.

Seat pitch and legroom are not necessarily related directly especially when we are talking about Y seat designs across generations.

Contrary to popular belief, Y seat design concept & construction hv evolved over the past 10-15yrs.  Compared with earlier gen Y seat, latest gen Y seat designs(e.g. QF's latest for 789) are much lighter(But equally strong) and more importantly, hv seatback frame that are thinner(Enabled by much thinner IFE screen unit + advanced & thinner seat padding materials).... effectively creating more legroom.  Given the same seat pitch, a latest gen Y seat design often yield 1.5-2 inches more leg room than the Y seat design fm 10-15yrs ago.

Y seat design on QF's 380 was developed before 2005.  In contrast, development of the Y seat design on QF's 789 has not started until last yr.  As a result, it's safe to assume a Y seat on QF's 789 will hv @ least 2-3 inches more legroom than the familiar Y(Developed in the 90s) on QF's 744.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 363

Is there any indication on seat width? Personally, I'd rather a wider seat over an extra inch of leg room, particularly on a long haul flight.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 363

I've just looked on the QF website - seat width will be 17.4 inches.

17.4" seems reasonable. I think they'd get that through reducing the aisle width to 17"... Dreamliners usually have 17.2" seats in economy with 18" aisles, so slimming the aisles by an inch each would logically mean each seat can be 0.222" wider. 

At least the seat width is only 0.1" less than in the A380.

20 Apr 2014

Total posts 93

the deliver is in the overall cabin spacing i'd suggest - the 380 has more curvature to allow more room at the window and width in the aisles to stretch into, this seat width is the same as jetstar effectively -  desperate ploy by putting .44 to try and cover it up

Its probably only going to be 17.2 inches wide. But in theory if they slim the solo-used armrests a touch and perhaps also the aisles they could easily fit 17.5" wide seats (same as the A380) onto the jet. 


03 May 2012

Total posts 114

Indeed.  As I have said a number of times on this and other forums over the years, I cannot believe that seat width is not reported more frequently by all those who report on airlines and the airlines themselves. Reports are full of information far less important than this crucial measure. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 315

And how is this revolutionary? All the pre-hype for 1 inch? 


16 Nov 2011

Total posts 596

Think you will find the 'hype' was around thebyet to be revealed premium economy seat. 

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 654

please tell us who stated the Y/C seat would be revolutionary??

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 79

These pics look really good! I hope they do some short haul flights TT first. Then I'd make an effort to jump on it. 


13 Jun 2015

Total posts 140

Can Passengers play some own media when connecting their devices to a USB?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2015

Total posts 123

I had hoped that Qantas would do something truly revolutionary and pick the Cozy Suite over this. 


25 Feb 2014

Total posts 20

Nice try QF.
Looking at the facts rather than QF PR Hype. All these airlines offer a 32in seat pitch as standard on in service 787-9's Vietnam, LATAM, AA and United.
JAL truly goes revolutionary with 34in seat pitch in a 2-4-2 layout. (based on data from seat guru) So all Qantas has done is bring them up to standard with over 50% of airlines that currently operate the 787-9 (rest offer 31in).

Looking forward to seeing what the PE offer will be - maybe a revolutionary cup holder :)

PS im not a QF hater - silver FF and quite loyal - i just tend to see through PR hype - QF needs a new innovation manager i think.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1192

Whilst the extra inch legroom is welcome, 9 abreast is going to be squeezy longhaul and those armrests look tiny!!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Nov 2012

Total posts 25

As another poster has said -- just bring them up to the current standard, and in what will remain a tight and narrow seat. Better than 31", though! 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 445

Shame it's not the Thompson seat.  That would be revolutionary.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Sep 2014

Total posts 84

Haters gonna hate. Looks like a very good Y product.

20 Apr 2014

Total posts 93

effectively same seat width as jetstar with a little more leg room - with the those huge screens it will feel very claustrophobic. 

the a330 refurb Y seats look to be superior to this sardine can

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

30 May 2016

Total posts 11

I'm curious to see how that tablet would cope with the person in front reclining suddenly. Its seems to be reasonably snug


10 Dec 2015

Total posts 177

Contrary to many commentators here criticizing about the lack of innovation in this Y design(Or the hype by QF), I can certainly see a few unique features rarely seen or never seen before in a Y design anywhere worldwide.  e.g.:

1) That little ambient light strategically tugged under the screen:
Your fellow pax sitting nex to U while sleeping will certainly appreciate this feature when U feel like reading rather than sleeping during cruise @ night.

2) Double tray tables behind the seatback:
That extra mini tray table is a god-send for the tablet-savvy  generation.

Overall, this design looks smart & refreshingly thoughtful despite the fact that unlike J or PY, there's only so much a designer can do within the limited cabin space allocated for each Y ticket.

Of course, some folks still won't be satisfied until QF offers near-PY seat width+pitch in a Y seat(And on Y fare level) on the 789....

29 Oct 2016

Total posts 35

Yes, like 8 across. That was the design concept, Or ditch the Dreamliner tag which was invented to describe the concept. 3-3-3 means a narrower seat than existing Y and therefore is not a Dreamliner.

31 Jan 2018

Total posts 2

has anyone used the exit seats,are they worth the cost. does the door extrusion cause any discomfort.

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Photos: Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner economy class seats