Qantas Boeing 787 to sport "revolutionary" premium economy

By David Flynn, August 24 2016
Qantas Boeing 787 to sport

Qantas is locking down the design of its Boeing 787 fleet, and airline CEO Alan Joyce promises that a "revolutionary premium economy" seat is on the cards.

Joyce says the more-premium-than-economy seats will be "streets ahead of anything else out there."

"We were one of the first airlines to introduce premium economy and we've always been a big fan of that" Joyce told Australian Business Traveller.

"We think we can make our (Boeing 787) premium economy a world leader."

Indeed, Joyce continues, "customers should expect the best in class on every part of the Qantas Dreamliner."

The pointy end of the plane will see "luxury business class suites" based on an evolution of the airline's current and highly-regarded A330 Business Suite (below).

For flyers down the back of the bus, Joyce predicts the economy seats will offer "more room and better entertainment options."

Australian travellers will have their first chance to sample the red-tailed Boeing 787 in late 2017, on selected domestic and possibly trans-Tasman routes, with tickets on sale before the end of this year.

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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.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 952

As NZ has discovered to its loss Premium Economy is a hard area to differentiate itself in.  The class needs to be premium enough to command a decent preium over a standard economy seat but not too good or you risk people migrating out of Business Class.

Currently Air NZ (787) and Cathay seem to have the best Premium Economy products.  I'll be interested to see how QF can develop a unique offering. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jun 2011

Total posts 153

I would regard the existing QF W as one of the better ones.

23 Mar 2012

Total posts 96

QF Premium Economy is highly regarded and considerably superior to the CX product .SQ Premium Economy in my opinion also surpasses both CX and Air NZ.. I am yet to experience the new BA revamped PE but the current product is not worth the extra $$!

04 Dec 2013

Total posts 149

very hard so rave about Cathay's product.  I've only seen it from behind and in front, but it looks like an only very very slightly warmed-over economy,


Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 745

'Revolutionary Premium Economy' - seems very guarded.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Jan 2016

Total posts 61

Every time an airline CEO calls something revolutionary I am dissapointed. Maybe just say pleasantly surprised.  Or moderatley delighted and let us decide.  I'd pay up for PE if you can guarantee me that the person in front will not recline into my face.   Which is why I flew the space seat so often.   If you cant,  then I may as well save the $$ and just pay for an exit row at the back of the bus. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 456

For many passengers the only reason for considering PE is for extra legroom.  On QF (and many others similarly) you often only have a choice between PE at more than double the price of discounted Y or an extra legroom seat, where you pay up to $180 for the privilege of sitting near a lav and having people waiting to use same stand on your feet!  I am hoping that QF will consider an "economy plus legroom"  area as well as the enhanced PE.  Noted that AA are keeping MCE as they introduce PE.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Apr 2013

Total posts 147

Having a Corporate Strategy and Product Innovation background, I love hearing CEOs make big bold statements like "It'll be revolutionary!", "the best in class!", or my favourite "It'll be a game changer!"... I can just hear the internal chatter going red hot in the background - "What's he said NOW?!", "Oh god, he went off script", "Wait. What? That was never workshopped. Was it?!"

BUT... bring it on QF!

Being hard pressed to get a business class flight to the USA/UK/South Africa approved when travelling for work, a more premium PE cabin is certainly going to be well received from my end :)


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jan 2012

Total posts 177

The new Premium Economy Class on the China Airlines A350 looks pretty good.

I wonder if it will be something similiar with the fixed back.

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 262

Funny how the word 'Revolutionary' gets thrown around in this industry a lot, yet the final result isn't quite living up to the word. I'm always happy to be surprised - but we've been let down in the past with big words thrown around. 

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

revolutionary can involve a marked change to what already exists.. maybe some peoples interpretaion/expectation of the 'word' doesnt quite live up to the actual meanings 

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 262

If the business is calling something Revolutionary, and people aren't impressed - then it's not really revolutionary, it's more of a marketing erm. 

If you set up people's expectations - the people who will be paying for the product mind you - and you cannot deliver, then by definition, the product cannot be revolutionary. 

Much like Emirates calling their new business class product 'industry leading' when they have a 2-3-2 setup, versus most airlines with 'actual industry leading' products having a 1-2-1 setup. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2014

Total posts 33

Massive call.

That's all I have to say.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2012

Total posts 138

Here's a revolutionary idea for Qantas, why not call it "Discount Business" rather than "Premium Economy". I'll pop my invoice in the post. 

17 Jun 2011

Total posts 66

With the prices being charged for PE above and beyond discount Y fares I would want more than just an extra legroom seat. Better catering, lower ratio of crew-to-PAX and improved IFE should all be offered...unlike CX which is very much just an extra legroom seat with the addition of foot stool, but same catering and cabin crew as Y.

20 May 2014

Total posts 79

Every carrier operating PE at the moment (except NZ) has some permutation of:

- 2-4-2 (777/747/380) or 2-3-2 (787/330/350) forward facing reclining armchairs with 38-41'' of pitch. 

I would hope that QF's new seat would break from this mould if Joyce is going to throw around the word 'revolutionary'

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2015

Total posts 126

So since we got news the news about Qantas ordering the 787, all the following updates about the interior, the possible routes, seat configuration etc. has been either fantastic or revolutionary or game changing.. I'm tired of this cryptic talk. I'm all for not talking at all unless saying something concrete.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

applies both ways...thats why i giiggle at all the posters judging/passing judgement etc... before seeing the real deal...but hey...that's social media lol

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 307

A few years ago, we were in awe when the first business class seats became lie flat or even angled flat... now it seems to be the norm, and shock horror when angled lie flat is still in use for a Business class/Regional flight.  I wonder with some clever design, whether P.E could ever become a flat bed ?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 218

If PE became flatbed you can kiss business class on most airline routes goodbye. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 307

Maybe fully flat for Business and angled for PE?  One can dream...

28 Nov 2012

Total posts 94

Thompson 2x3x2 Cozy sute?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2014

Total posts 173

JAL 'Sky Premium' PE is a 42 inch pitch seat with proper calf rest, small privacy screen, and fixed shell so no reclining into your space ... at the moment (given withdrawal of ANZ Space Seat) that would appear to be one of the best in market.. The ANZ new PE with proper full leg rest and 42 inch pitch seems pretty good too.

So wonder if the new Qantas product can beat these? The current Qantas seats appear similar to the ANZ seat but installed closer together, so if this is really going to be 'streets ahead' it'll need to do better than that.

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

21 Jan 2016

Total posts 199

Hmm. Interesting comments from Alan Joyce. 

The 789 has fixed space between Doors 1 and 2 being compartment 1, so there is not much room to be creative in regards to the number of Premium Economy and Business Class seats that can fitted in this area unless start taking up space in the compartment 2 being the first compartment for Economy passengers.

The 787 was designed to be medium to long haul 'Point 2 Point' aircraft offering 2 to 3 classes of passenger comfort. At the moment, Boeing does not have a A350-1000 equalivent which has more room and width for an airline to be creative inregards to Premium and Business Class product.

reeves35 made a valid point. Premium Economy is a hard area to define, as the  class needs to be premium enough to command a decent premium over a standard economy seat but not too good or you risk people migrating out of Business Class. 

Air NZ has seen increasing demand in their Premium Economy product accross all internatiuon medium and long haul routes, hence the dumping of the SpaceSeats to create more space for Premium Economy seating on the 773's. Also, those people who fly in Premium Economy on Air NZ, like the quiet intimate atmosphere of the the Premium Economy area, hence its popularity and selling point. 

I would expect that Qantas depending on the routes, Qantas 789's will be operating on, will go with Premium Economy seating with a Mark 3 version of the Zodiac seats that are being used by Air NZ and Cathy. Air NZ Zodiac seating are updated version of Cathy's Zodiac seats.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 May 2016

Total posts 17

I hope you could adopt BA Club world seat for QF Premium Economy. End of the day BA club world is the world best premium economy seats!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 May 2016

Total posts 17

Alan Joyce, you need to think about resuming Sydney-Beijing flight!

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