Qantas reveals Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner seating, configuration

By David Flynn, October 27 2016
Qantas reveals Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner seating, configuration

Qantas has pulled back the curtains on the interior of its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, revealing a contemporary cabin design with business class suites and economy seats boasting extra legroom and creature comforts such as an iPad holder.

The reveal comes as the clock continues to count down towards the delivery of the first red-tailed Boeing 787-9 in October 2017, with more of the advanced jets to follow.

Qantas plans to announce the inaugural Boeing 787 route in December this year, with the Dreamliner slotting into an existing Boeing 747 route.

Brand new Boeing 787 routes to expand the Qantas network will be announced from early 2017, with Qantas hoping to cherry-pick from a list including Melbourne-Dallas, Brisbane-Dallas, Sydney-Paris, Melbourne-Rome and eventually a non-stop Perth-London service.

Oh, and it'll sport the streamlined new-look Qantas livery too...

Qantas Boeing 787-9 configuration

As previously tipped by Australian Business Traveller, the Qantas Dreamliners will have

That's a total of 236 passengers, which gives the red-tailed Boeing 787-9 one of the world's least-squeezy layouts.

By comparison, Air New Zealand's three-class Boeing 787-9 has 302 seats.

The equivalent Dreamliners of Air Canada – currently flying Brisbane-Vancouver – come in at 298 seats, with United Airlines – which rosters its Boeing 787-9 from Sydney and Melbourne to Los Angeles and San Francisco – at 252 seats.

(By comparison, Japan's ANA flies just 215 seats on its Dreamliner, with rival JAL sporting a spacious 195-seat layout.)

“We’re planning to make the most of the 787’s amazing range, so we’ve designed the cabin to give Qantas passengers a better experience on long haul flights" said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce,

"With the routes we're looking at, that premium end is going to be sought after" Qantas CEO Alan Joyce told Australian Business Traveller.

"The direct flights on these routes will have a lot of premium traffic, so we think it will be very heavily patronised by business class and premium economy customers."

"We’re also redesigning the in-flight experience for the Dreamliner, from rethinking our menus to making better use of the self-service bars during different phases of flight."

Qantas has enlisted young hotshot Australian industrial designer David Caon to shape the Dreamliner's cabin interiors and new seats, working from the "Qantas aesthetic" established by Marc Newson.

This includes updates to the Business Suite business class seat created by Thompson Aero, and a next-generation economy seat manufactured by Recaro.

Still to be revealed: an all-new premium economy seat designed by Thompson Aero, which Joyce promises will be "revolutionary."

But as advanced as the Dreamliner is, Qantas hasn't yet decided if it will include inflight Internet

"We're working through that at the moment" Joyce told Australian Business Traveller. "Our priority at the moment is wi-fi domestically, so we haven't made call on the 787s as yet."

Inside the Qantas Boeing 787

From tip to tail the Dreamliner cabins will see "a progression of colours and finishes as you move through the cabin," designer Caon told Australian Business Traveller.

"You're seeing two ends right now, in business and economy, and obviously there's a part in the middle that's not being revealed today."


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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Aug 2011

Total posts 168

To be fair to NZ, it has a much smaller Biz and Premium Y cabin (18 and 21 seats respectively), but good on QF having a slightly higher pitch in economy, although the greater recline will take away from this on the long haul.  I still wont do Y on a 787 long haul, it's definitely a step backward, except on JAL with 8 abreast (as designed) and 33 inch pitch in economy.

04 Mar 2015

Total posts 17

And also the forward economy section of the AirNZ plane is 32-33 pitch

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jan 2014

Total posts 15

The A350 ULR is a better fit aircraft for Qantas. 

27 Oct 2016

Total posts 1

Not worth it when your subsidiary already has the plane and a maintance system setup

Its a larger jet with only the same cargo capacity as the smaller 787-9 dreamliner. In addition, the only route QF currently flies that needs an ultra-long-range jet is the SYD - DFW route (the A380 can only make it with a payload restriction). 

Plus, QF got the 787-9 at an extremely low price. They'd be silly not to take these jets since they'd be able to replace the A330s on Asian routes as well. The jet is practically a swiss army knife in terms of flexibility for Qantas. 

I'm not saying that the A350ULR is a bad jet; its a great jet! But it isn't a better fit for QF in particular since it would have less flexibility, higher capital costs and higher operating costs.


10 Dec 2015

Total posts 177


"A350 ULR is a better fit aircraft for Qantas."
How so?  Pls kindly enlighten me.

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 134

The Dreamliner does not have the range to fly nonstop to Rome and Paris from the east coast of Australia 

10 Dec 2015

Total posts 177

@Angus Conventry:

"The Dreamliner does not have the range to fly nonstop to Rome and Paris from the east coast of Australia"
Technically, it can.  But definitely not with an econ feasible  payload....possibly only carry the equivalent of 50pax+bags or less...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1248

(By comparison, Japan's ANA flies just 215 seats on its Dreamliner, with rival ANA sporting a spacious 195-seat layout.)

Is one of the airlines meant to be JAL?

05 Sep 2016

Total posts 3

new logo as well. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 90

The new Qantas text we can live with. The design of the Kangaroo is terrible! It looks like an out of shape boomerang. Where is the poor Kanga's paws??! Bring back the pre-2007 one any day... Big THUMBS DOWN!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Dec 2013

Total posts 12


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 416

it amuses me that so many that comment know more than the airline itself on what their needs are and how far the plane can travel


10 Dec 2015

Total posts 177


"it amuses me that so many that comment know more than the airline itself far the plane can travel."
Possibly not more than the airline itself but given a little knowledge on tech specs+facts about the 789 and other types with similar payload/range performance, not difficult to 'guestimate' either.

This SQ mission requires a 359 variant(a.k.a. 359ULR)  configured with an unusually low seat count(Under 200 seats) than for a normal 359(310+ seats)....only about 65% of the normal payload on a 359.

So even a 359ULR may not make it nonstop.

In similar cabin density, the most capable 359 variant(MTOW=  280t) can fly a bit further than the most capable 789 variant(MTOW=252t).  In QF's config, the seat count of a 789 is 80%+ of Boeing's 'normal' config for a 789(290 seats).

As a result, it's easy to see 789 in QF's current planned cabin config has no chance to carry full pax nonstop on MEL-FCO. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Mar 2012

Total posts 213

Wow 32inches.... That's generous? Not exactly a ground breaking announcement.

11 Dec 2015

Total posts 85

Not exactly amazing, is it. But at least they've caught up to SIA, MAS, Korean, JAL etc....

Actually JAL has 34" of legroom in economy and Korean has 33" IIRC.

Its still better than, say, Air France or Etihad (who have 31" in Economy). 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

29 Dec 2012

Total posts 22

The new livery and logo is refreshing yet still classy. 

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 230

Regarding the speculation on a Perth/London direct, it was interesting to note Qantas itself talking about the difficulties presented by the separation of the domestic and international terminals. If the idea is to use Perth as a hub for flights to London, then they need a seamless and quick transfer for pax. Could they use the old Virgin terminal, which Qantas now manages, as a small international terminal and take advantage of the existing lounges and infrastructure? A bit like Canberra/Adelaide/Darwin model of a shared domestic/international terminal.There's only the Singapore and possible London flights to worry about.

06 Jan 2015

Total posts 66

And the seasonal Auckland route :P

29 Mar 2014

Total posts 79

They can use a system similar to BKK and Thailand. Transferred international to domestic (CNX) and back again, it was pretty damn seamless. But it is a very specialized system that requires cooperation at the other domestic airports as well: i.e. we were routed to international baggage claim to go through customs at CNX, and we went through the international section to board our domestic flight as we had to go through immigration.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 259

Qantas' terminal is fully Domestic only. Across the tarmac is Perth's Int. Terminal and both VA's Dom and Regional. 

Nope, all airlines are meant to be moving over to the international terminal area so Qantas can just move its butt there...  There's no reason to make some special arrangement for Qantas over at the Domestic terminal that is meant to have a short life span, especially spending a lot of money for an airline that abandoned international operations from Perth not long ago and only has a token presence these days...  Hopefully we don't cave in anyway...


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1426

The cost of a couple of common gates a' la canberra at the domestic terminal would be a good interim measure as the QANTAS move across to the other side is some 5-10 years away. There have been no firm plans mentioned by the airport as yet.

Well that's a larger Business Class than I expected. I presume when they start getting more 787-9s and using them to replace the A330s they'll have a regional configuration of about 28J/21PE with the remaining seats as Economy, giving about 280 pax or so. 

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 654

i agree crosscourt...that's the nature of social media...armchair CEOs and the uninformed and those who just choose to 'see'/'read' things from a company that the company hasn't actually said!! lol.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 Nov 2014

Total posts 32

Sydney - Paris would be fab! Great little break in Paris and then a Eurostar to London to see the fam!


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1426

 The current treaty allows for 5-6 days a week of 787 capacity to Paris, so hubbing through singapore with the connecting A333s would work very well.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 13

Bit of a let down on a couple of fronts today.

1) No confirmation of inaugural B787 route

2) No unveiling of the new Premium Economy "Game Changer" seat

3) The updated styling of "Qantas" seems to be to be really underwhelming

But there are a couple of aspects I like. 

1) Increased storage in economy

2) Privacy divider for the Biz Suite

3) The update Roo for the tail

4) The addition of the flying Kangaroo on different sections of the wing, engines and fuselage

Can't wait to hear the new route (even for the testing / crew intro) and the Premium Economy seat.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Aug 2016

Total posts 14

I know this is just seating but I hope they stick with individual air vents particularly as so many widebodies are moving away from them.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

02 Sep 2014

Total posts 17

Once upon a time even 32" was something we'd coigh and splutter at and now all of a sudden we are praising the 'additional' space... while SQ standardly has 32"+ on theirs and doesn't need to increase their space... 

20 Apr 2014

Total posts 93

32" pitch is a furphy - the real news is the seat width of 17.44" which is the same as on Jetstar, a massive fail on what is supposed to be an ultra long haul configuration. 32" pitch makes little difference when a normal sized adult is half in the aisle or sitting in the window sill effectively.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Oct 2017

Total posts 92

I agree those seat specs are going to to hurt from Perth to London.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Oct 2017

Total posts 92

Is it just me? whilst I welcome the 787 having flown in it, the senses just don't get as excited as the A380.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Aug 2016

Total posts 14

I was expecting the economy class seats to have better pitch and width. With the new configuration, I can't see many economy class passengers wanting to fly the ultra long haul flights like Perth to London with these seats which would probably be at a premium price in comparison to other routes to Europe.

23 Sep 2015

Total posts 47

Is it just me or does the red now seem to extend to the horizontal stabilizers too? 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1248

I think it's just the reflection of the tail on the highly polished surface of the horizontal stabiliser in the render.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Mar 2013

Total posts 134

Hoping my short legs can still reach the foot net..,

BA Gold

01 Apr 2012

Total posts 185

What an anti climax. Was expecting something really revolutionary in Y given the build up. Even cr*ppy old BA manages 32inches on their 787-9. 

And wasn't the inaugural route to be announced today also? 


19 Sep 2013

Total posts 198

Re the Perth-London direct option, it's been reported twice in the WA press about the problems QF are having with the Perth airport folks in trying to negotiate a suitable terminal arrangement for these flights. Apparently not going to be resolved any time soon...

20 Aug 2015

Total posts 4

I'm not too keen on the new logo but I like the old logo under flight-deck windows...


12 Jun 2014

Total posts 22

Any Info on when Tickets would be available to aviation fans for maiden Domestic Flights? I've been waiting since 2009 and have been adamant that my first flight on a Boeing 787 would be on a QANTAS :)

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2552

Richard: that information won't be available until the route is announced, and even so, if we had that information we'd certainly be printing it. So when we know, you'll know. :)


12 Jun 2014

Total posts 22

THANK YOU very much Dave  :-)

21 Aug 2015

Total posts 86

Too little too late and too expensive.....lost me years ago. 

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 117

I'm a Qantas fan so this is not negative for the sack of a whinge...but when I look at the new font all I see is "Anst" The Q disappears and I keep seeing Ansett, it doesn't make sense to me why this is but it does appear to me to be Ansett abbreviated. Stare at it long enough and it will appear.

29 Oct 2016

Total posts 35

Joyce crowed about this aircraft being configured for very long haul flights. If true they would have configured Economy as Boeing originally envisaged it to be deserving the Dreamliner tag, i.e. 8 across in Economy. Instead they have narrower seats than on the A380 and B747, than on JAL's B787 and Cathay's B777. Nine across is Jetstar class and they could have differentiated but instead have made ultra long haul tortuous down the back. Eight across would also have meant it easier to fly ultra long haul as it would be carrying lesser weight. Economy is now to be avoided on 787-9 as per 777-10 making it more difficult to find such seats which is perhaps the intent, i.e. force people to pay a lot more for a bit more comfort.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Oct 2017

Total posts 92

I agree, I cant imagine doing PER-LHR in that smaller economy seat. It appears to me all classes are shrinking in size on this aircraft, from less legroom in PE to legs now stuck in a foot well in Busness compared to A380

26 Aug 2017

Total posts 1

How does the Dreamliner new Premium Economy and the Business Class seat accommodate, petite women who 150cm of slightly under? You quote for very tall people has the designer also accommodated the petite? Why assume that only tall peoples needs must be met but not the petite? If you need a subject for your next test run, contact me. 

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