Qantas CEO promises "very luxurious" Boeing 787 configuration

By David Flynn, June 3 2016

UPDATE | Qantas' Boeing 787 Dreamliners will carry 236 passengers across business class, premium economy and economy, Qantas has confirmed.

Up the front, 42 Dreamliner Business Suites in a 1-2-1 configuration – an updated version of the already-popular A330 Business Suite, but with a moveable privacy divider between the centre pairs of seats for couples and colleagues travelling together.

Premium economy comes in a cosy 28-seat cabin with just four rows in a 2-3-2 layout, although the design of these seats is still very much under wraps.

Down the back in economy, seating for 166 passengers in a 3-3-3 layout, with an inch more legroom in each row than on Qantas' current Airbus A380 fleet, plus new niceties like a tablet tray and a water bottle holder.

Read more: Qantas reveals Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner seating, configuration

PREVIOUS | Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has described the airlines' forthcoming Boeing 787-9 as being blessed with "a very luxurious configuration" to match the very long-range routes which the Dreamliner will fly.

Those non-stop routes could include Sydney-Chicago, Melbourne-Dallas, Brisbane-Dallas and even Perth-London, Joyce said, after the first of the red-tailed Boeings join the Qantas fleet from October 2017.

Read: Where will Qantas fly its new Dreamliners?

"They're all on the list and it depends on the support we get from the various governments to what network we actually settle on" Joyce told media on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) conference in Dublin this week.

"We're just starting to have a dialog with the airports."

So what will Qantas' long-legged Boeing 787 look like on the inside?

"You'll see a very luxurious configuration, and it's there for the distances that were flying" Joyce expanded.

"There will be a big business class and a big premium economy cabin", and while the economy seats will be nine-across in a 3-3-3 arrangement, Joyce promises "we will be giving some very good seat pitch for economy seats given the the lengths we’ll be flying."

Read more: Qantas Boeing 787 to sport "revolutionary" premium economy

A premium Dreamliner

According to one internal Qantas Boeing 787-9 configuration plan sighted by Australian Business Traveller the Dreamliners could see 42 seats in business class, 28 in premium economy and just 165 in economy.

That total of 235 seats is definitely on the comfortable side when compared to other airlines and supports claims of generous leg room in economy rather than a standard and squeezy 31 inches of Qantas' Airbus A380s as well as the Boeing 747s which the Dreamliner will replace.

Gareth Evans – chief of Qantas’ international arm – describes the layout as being "a premium configuration" which also has implications for other parts of the plane's design.

For example, the kitchen galleys have to support serving the more extensive food and drink menus to a relatively large number of premium customers "to have the level of catering needed for long-haul sectors" Evans explains.

"So we're making sure the aircraft is being configured and capable of flying those very long haul roues. For example, Melbourne-Dallas is actually 20 nautical miles longer than Perth-London."

Design decisions

Evans says that Qantas is now finalising "the product specification and exact seating arrangement" for the Boeing 787, and working with Irish seat manufacturer Thompson Aero "on a number of the products for this aircraft."

Thompson created the airline's highly-regarded Airbus A330 Business Suite (below) and will be refining the design for the Qantas Dreamliners based on customer feedback since the seat debuted in early 2015.

AusBT review: Qantas A330 Business Suite business class

However, the routes to be flown by the next-gen jet likely won't be revealed until shortly before the first of the red-tailed Dreamliners arrives in late 2017.

Qantas' initial order is for eight of the long-range Boeing 787-9s, with 15 purchase options and 30 purchase rights up its sleeve.

Four of the fuel-efficient jetliners will be delivered in the 2017-2018 financial year and four more from 2018-2019.

The Dreamliners will replace five Boeing 747s and also be used to launch new international destinations.

"We've held onto a couple of Boeing 747s a little longer than in the original plan because we've got opportunities out there" Evans says, "and some of that 747 fleet will be retired with arrival of the 787s."

"But there are also opportunities for growth out there, so we're working through exactly what the network will look like."

Read more: Where will Qantas fly its new Dreamliners?

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

David
David

David Flynn

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.

moa999

moa999

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1374

Would also be hopeful of an announcement that the same product will be fitted to the A380s (and maybe the last six 744ERs) and international WiFi

johnglynn86

johnglynn86

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Oct 2013

Total posts 5

I hope we get some new routes from Brisbane. 

Speedbird

Speedbird

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 274

"Nine-abreast is the standard," Joyce said.

Which is why you should be going for the A350 and not this dog of an aircraft!!

FLX

FLX

10 Dec 2015

Total posts 179

<<Which is why you should be going for the A350 and not this dog of an aircraft!!>>

I still don't understand why so many folks keeping peddling this myth about the alleged superiority of Y seat comfort on a 350 over a 787.  I've noticed that it has reached epedemic and urban legend status lately without a shread of tech fact to support such claim....not to mention the inconvenient truth that the sample sizes in service today for comparison are skewed:  787 x360+ vs 350 x15

Look, it's very simple math we're talking about here:

1) Only 5in diff in max cabin width 787 vs 350 no matter how many Y seats U squeeze in a row on either.

2) Assuming all else such as aisle width, armrest width, etc. being equal, there can only be less than 0.56in diff in width per seat between a 9Y 787 and a 9Y 350 no matter how U slice it or dice it.

3) If Airbus claim the seat width for a 9Y 350 is truly 18in, it means a 9Y 787 must hv @ least 17.4in+ seat width....similar to a 6Y 737 or 10Y 747 and clearly wider than a 10Y 777.

Conclusion: Only about 0.5in diff in seat width 787 vs 350....a  small margin most pax wouldn't notice like most of them never realized a 9Y 777 is over 0.5in wider per seat than a 8Y 330/340 for decades.

kimshep

kimshep

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 479

If nine abreast is 'the standard" (I truly hope otherwise), will QF run the risk of ceding the Japan - Australia market back to Japan Airlines / ANA - both of whom use eight abreast?

With the B787-9 sleighted for longhaul and ULH routes (think DFW), I would seriously think QF needs to consider a layout that will ensure a comfortable, relaxed environment which will enhance their brand & reputation, rather than one that screams 'cram 'em in and bugger the comfort' factor.

Joshb

Joshb

Qantas - QFF Platinum

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 212

The 789 used by ANA on HND-SYD flights is 9 across. JAL schedule a 777 on the route so not a direct comparison.

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 918

JL and NH started with 8 across in Y because that's what Boeing designed the aircraft for.

Once other airlines started getting them and installing 9 across, NH started changing theirs. Some NH 787s are 8 across, others are 9.

The first JAL 787-8 config has 42J/144Y with older "Shell Flat Neo" J seats. The newer 788 config is 38J/35W/88Y with the newer "Sky Suite" J seats.

The JAL 787-9 config is 44J/35W/116Y with Sky Suites. All 3 configs are 8 across in Y.

Johnsy

Johnsy

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Aug 2015

Total posts 18

Unfortunatley economy is just that... economy. Beggars cant be choosers so cough up the extra for premium or buisness class.

smit0847

smit0847

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 448

If the hard products for each 3 classes are known now and the approximate total seat count, you could basically draw the seat map already!

Dundas

Dundas

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Nov 2012

Total posts 18

I've already given up on Qantas Y long haul because I can get better leg room (still) on other carriers. If 9 across is a "standard" on the 787, all the more reason to stay away. 

fiscal

fiscal

29 Jan 2016

Total posts 21

Totally agree. The middle seat is hell for many, and especially me. Luckily there are ways to fly long haul in 2 seaters as a couple, they just dont usually include Qantas, which is a shame.

SteveCF

SteveCF

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Aug 2012

Total posts 170

I think it's highly likely 9 across will be what Qantas will go with, but what choice does an airline have? If they went 8 across the competition have an instant price advantage and research shows people will vote with their wallets when it comes to paying for economy. 

Unless airlines are regulated about minimum seat widths (Highly unlikely), then we should be accustomed to a simple fact, the wider the plane, the more seats in a row, not wider.

anthony watts

anthony watts

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Mar 2015

Total posts 79

to move on from this 8 or 9 abreast in Y can someone tell me in a Qantas 787 what Premium economy will be like? 2-4-2 perhaps? Gosh! that's the fabelled 8 abreast!

so if you can afford it, fly premium and get your 8 abreast, if you can't afford it or would prefer to spend your hard-earned on the delights on offer at destination, then its 9 abreast for you. 

Dundas

Dundas

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Nov 2012

Total posts 18

Thanks for this helpful advice. PE is often a multiple of the Y fare, so I'm stuck with Y most of the time. If Qantas are going for 9 across (same as Jetstar on their 787s), and a whole 1" more seat pitch than what they currently CLAIM to offer (making a grand total of 32", bringing them up to Air Asia X standard), they won't be able to command great prices. Ordinary product = ordinary prices, right? I'm one punter who's prepared to pay a bit more for a decent economy seat, not a torture rack. 

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2322

can someone tell me in a Qantas 787 what Premium economy will be like?

We don't know, because the seat configs have not been released as yet, but I'd expect 2-3-2.


anthony watts

anthony watts

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Mar 2015

Total posts 79

ok, before I get blown out of the water with my last comment - yes most airlines PE is 2-3-2.  It is SO annoying when the facts get in the  way of a good story.  It does mean tho' if that's what Qantas offers, PE will be a very desirable product.

ivanb52

ivanb52

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Aug 2014

Total posts 24

My only 787 experience so far was 6 hrs on Qatar @ 9 abreast, which was horrible.  

I might consider QF to Singapore with same configuration but beyond that I will look for other aircraft types / airlines, unless the PE cost premium is reasonable.  

 

StudiodeKadent

StudiodeKadent

20 May 2015

Total posts 584

So QF are going to compensate for width with pitch. I guess this rules out the use of any unorthodox economy seating arrangements (like staggered or foward-backward facing seats) but on the bright side, the extra pitch means more recline. In addition, QF could always slim the aisles a little, and also the aisle-and-window-side armrests a touch, in order to increase seat width to around 17.5" (same as the A380).

I'm a bit doubtful, though, that the layout would be so extremely premium as to be 42J... That seems a higher ratio than the 747s proportion of business class to total seats. In addition, even with such a premium-heavy configuration, MEL - DFW seems more like 777-8 territory to me range-wise (particularly when there's winds etc. to take into account on the westbound leg).

But who knows. I wonder if the sighted LOPA the article talks about was official/final or just a tentative proposal.

Obviously QF will have a different configuration for Asian routes (which don't need the range). That said, I was estimating that QF would have a 250pax config for the longhaul 787s and 280 for the medium-haul 787s.

tarmac

tarmac

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2015

Total posts 22

Those potential route options seem like missed opportunities. They already have great networks to the Americas alongside AA and Europe alongside EK. Would like to see them focus more on Asia, e.g. where's PEK? BOM? TPE?

moa999

moa999

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1374

Remember at least initially the 8 787s are a replacement for 5 747s - so very limited expansion potential

FLX1

FLX1

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

"...already have great networks to the Americas..."

And nothing wrong for QF to make the Americas network even greatER.  Just imagine what will happen to QF's bottomline if say MEL and BNE both go nonstop to AA fortress DFW using 789......anywhere in N.America with a decent commercial rwy   will basically be just 1 stop away and vice versa for N.America  outbound pax.  1stop Montreal to Melbourne? Pas de probleme!  1 stop Kansas city to Brisbane?  U betcha!  Totally unimaginable convenience & geog depth over such long distances only a decade ago.

Sending everything to LAX was QF's American goldmine a decade ago.  Fm 2020, core of the new goldmine for QF in America will be @ DFW.

"..where's PEK? BOM? TPE?"

PEK:  I firmly believe QF has not done PEK mainly because 744 is too big(i.e. no connecting traffic @ PEK), deploying 333 on a nearly 12hrs sector is very marginal(i.e. definitely can't carry any Rev$ cargo in the belly) and I always suspect those 332s ordered/configured by QF do not really hv longhaul range(Originally intended for missions only as far as HNL).  But it'll eventually come as soon as sufficient 789 arrive QF. 

BOM /TPE:  Famously low yield routes with little to no premium traffic to support nonstop.  For today's QF which is laser focused on profitability in any route, easy to understand BOM /TPE is @ the bottom of the heap especially when Trans-Pcf is so much higher yield and many 1stop connecting opportunities via DFW are not yet explored.

Ryan K

Ryan K

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 296

Alan Joyce can talk "very luxurious" all he likes, but 3-3-3 economy in a Boeing 787 - even with an extra ince or two of leg room is not "luxurious". Give me more seat width over leg room any day.

FLX1

FLX1

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

"Alan Joyce can talk very luxurious all he likes, but 3-3-3 economy....is not luxurious."

But per my understanding re the overall focus of ausbt.com.au, it's never about Y anyway.

I think AJ meant premium vs Y ratio as per common industry definition re overall cabin seat density, i.e., the lower the density, the more luxurious an aircraft's overall cabin config is defined as.

So as far as the focus of this site is concerned and being on-topic, AJ's comment re QF 789 will be luxurious is indeed true & relevant to this site.

Chris2304

Chris2304

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 386

The Cozysuite provides at least 18inch width per seat in a 9 a breast config

Zaps1971

Zaps1971

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Aug 2014

Total posts 76

Hay Allan, 

When was the last time you sat in cattle class on a international flight?

So what dose he know about comfort when he get to sit in his FIRSTCLASS / BUSINESS seat.I would be happy to buy Allan a ticket and have him sit with me in cattle class for 14 hours on a Qantas flight, then he might change his tune.

FLX1

FLX1

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

"what does he know about comfort..."

He probably doesn't.  But as an airline CEO, he probably knows a tiny bit more than us about how much profit in F vs J vs PY vs Y he can realistically forecast to earn for a given square foot of cabin floor area on a 789.  And when he planned to allocate   more than half of all cabin floor area on a 789 to F/J+PY, I guess he should still refrain fm calling it a luxurious config by your logic  because poor folks in Y will still be suffering fm 9abreast...power to the common folks!

Over a century ago when top planners+engineers devised the Titanic and again by your logic, they were also wrong to call it the most luxurious liner on earth because they've never tried 3rd class/steerage onboard...may be they didn't hv time to do it before it sank.

I think U may hv a social econ issue with AJ's comment rather than a technical one.

"buy Allan a ticket and have him sit with me in cattle class...he might change his tune."

Or even better to have U replace AJ in the QF board and explain your justifications to redistribute finite cabin floor area across F/J+PY vs Y on 789 to provide more space per pax to Y but less seats for F/J+PY in order to retain overall seat count.

jgb59

jgb59

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Mar 2016

Total posts 35

Just got off the QF51 from Brisbane to Singapore on  June 2 and must say the new business seats are fantastic, comfortable, plenty of room and I am really large and enough space for everything. I wish they would replace the A380 seats with them but hope they do follow through and put them or an updated version on the new 787.

EKaviator

EKaviator

07 Feb 2016

Total posts 23

I think travellers have to reconcile with the fact that nine abreast seating will be the primary layout for economy class on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Only two Japanese carriers - ANA and JAL - have eight abreast economy which is again limited to a few aircrafts and not the entire fleet. As is the norm, high density configurations bring down unit costs and increase revenue, whic airlines obviously don't want to pass out on. This is also the reason why Qatar Airways recently shifted to ten abreast economy on their Boeing 777 fleet.

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 918

JAL has 3 787 configs. 2 on the -8, 1 on the -9. All 3 have 8 abreast in economy.

ANA started with 8 abreast. They have since changed them all to 9.

EKaviator

EKaviator

07 Feb 2016

Total posts 23

I think travellers have to reconcile with the fact that nine abreast seating will be the primary layout for economy class on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Only two Japanese carriers - ANA and JAL - have eight abreast economy which is again limited to a few aircrafts and not the entire fleet. As is the norm, high density configurations bring down unit costs and increase revenue, whic airlines obviously don't want to pass out on. This is also the reason why Qatar Airways recently shifted to ten abreast economy on their Boeing 777 fleet.

travs

travs

21 Oct 2015

Total posts 27

I can't imagine that SFO doesn't get something pretty quick. QF has already said it's their #1 onward destination from LAX; a MEL-SFO flight would work pretty well.

david2202

david2202

Qantas

19 Jun 2015

Total posts 18

Cannot undersand why Boeing and their customers persist with this 3 seat across design in Y. What couple wants to travel with a stranger next to them in short haul let alone long haul to Chicago for example. It's the dumbest seating plan and Boeing continue to build them.

2+4+2 or even 2+5+2 would give QF the edge in this aircraft and in long haul economy. Its as silly as the middle seat in middle row they tried in biz class for awhile until the passengers rebelled. For pitie's sake stop now while you can. 

Jedinak K

Jedinak K

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 211

Because 3-3-3 generates more revenue than 2-4-2. In their view if you want to travel more comfortably then you should pay more for Premium Econ/Business. They wouldn't want to cannibalise their higher premium offerings by providing more comfort to a class that has a small seat count and doesn't generate as much revenue. It's down to economics but at the plight of the customer.

FLX1

FLX1

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644

"Cannot understand why Boeing...persist with this 3 seat across design in Y."

Probably because U persist to believe only couples travel in Y on all 787 worldwide and no families/friends of 3 hv or will ever travel in those damned triplet seats on any 787, 350 or even 747 decades ago....

"It's the dumbest seating plan."

Of course it is and I'm pretty sure Boeing(And Airbus and all airline customers who hv the final say in selecting seat options) never bothered to do any global mkt research re Y seat layout as well as U did.  And the rest of us travel in parties of 3(I just did 2.5mths ago) are idiots standing in the way of your enhanced inflight enjoyment.

"2+4+2....would give QF the edge.."

Sure, a losing edge with 11.1% less Rev$ potential in Y along with 11.1% higher op cost per Y seat than almost all competitors also flying 787.

"even 2+5+2...would give QF the edge.."

Aside fm the obviously greater seat width in J vs Y, how will seat #5 in the middle quintet set fm your superior idea of the above being any diff fm your claim as below?

"Its as silly as the middle seat in middle row they tired in biz class..."

"For pitie's sake stop now while you can."

Or think logically now before we...?


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