The best business class seats on the Qantas Boeing 787

By Chris C., December 22 2016
The best business class seats on the Qantas Boeing 787

Looking for the best business class seats on the Qantas Boeing 787-9? We've used the official seatmap to reveal the choice picks for solo flyers and couples, in-flight workers and sound sleepers.

Qantas' Boeing 787 aircraft won't begin flying until October 2017 – with international services from Melbourne to Los Angeles kicking off in December and Perth-London from March 2018 – but with the Dreamliner's first flights now on sale, business class passengers can select their seats for the journey ahead.

The Flying Kangaroo's Boeing 787 Business Suites are largely similar to those found aboard the airline's Airbus A330s but with a few traveller-friendly tweaks.

(Not flying at the pointy end? We've also picked out the best seats in Qantas' Boeing 787 premium economy and economy class.)

Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner business class seatmap

Business class takes pride of place at the front of Qantas' Boeing 787s with 42 seats spread across two distinct zones, offering every traveller a fully-flat bed and direct access to the aisle.

Most of those seats are found in the forward eight-row cabin (rows 1-8), with an additional three rows (10-12) located further back:

'A' and 'K' seats are adjacent to the windows, while 'E' and 'F' seats are in the centre.

You'll also notice that from one row to the next, seats alternate between being closer to the aisle and further away from it, allowing the legs of one traveller to extend underneath the (closed-off) side table of the passenger in front when stretching out in bed mode.

Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner business class: best seats

Different travellers have different needs, so we've highlighted the best choices for solo flyers, couples, those hoping to sleep and those wanting to work – but as Australian Business Traveller observes below, your dominant (writing) hand also plays a part in the decision.

For solo travellers – the 'A', 'K' seats: When jetting about on your lonesome, why perch yourself in a middle pair when you can nab a solo Business Suite by the windows with a view to match?

For duos – the 'E' + 'F' seats: Couples and friends travelling together will naturally gravitate towards a pair of seats in the centre, instead.

To make conversation easier, Qantas' Boeing 787 Business Suites offer a retractable privacy divider between these centre pairs...

... as opposed to the unfriendly fixed wall found on the Roo's Airbus A330 Business Suites flying today:

For working and productivity – it varies: This is where your dominant hand influences your seating choice, as some seats feature a shelf to the passenger's left, while others offer this to the passenger's right instead.

That area proves to be a great writing and working surface – so right-handed passengers will likely prefer seats with the shelf to the right, while southpaws will gravitate to those with the shelf on the left.

You'll find these divided as follows:

  • Shelf to the left (left-handers, yellow): 1K, 2A/E/F, 3K, 4A/E/F, 5K, 6A/E/F, 7K, 8A/E/F, 10A/E/F/K and 12A/E/F/K
  • Shelf to the right (right-handers, green): 1A, 2K, 3A/E/F, 4K, 5A/E/F, 6K, 7A/E/F, 8K and 11A/E/F/K

Some seats also enjoy a larger shelf than others due to the cabin layout, so if you're a traveller who likes to spread out their papers and books, aim for one of these seats, as applicable:

  • For left-handers: 2A, 2F, 4A, 4F, 6A, 6F, 8A, 8F, 10F, 12A and 12F
  • For right-handers: 2K, 3E, 4K, 5E, 6K, 7E, 8K, 11E and 11K

For sleeping – aim for mid-cabin: When your flight plan centres around sleep rather than work, the location of your seat within the cabin plays a bigger importance than the orientation of your side table.

That's because you'll want to position yourself away from the typical sources of noise and light, such as the lavatories, baby bassinets and crew galleys.

You'll find baby bassinets at seats 2E and 10E in business class, with premium economy bassinets also located directly behind business class seats 12A and 12K, indicated by the orange dots:

Lavatories (blue and purple, above) are less of an issue with no seats directly in front of or behind these, but could also prove a disturbance for passengers in rows 1-2 and 10-11, due to others passing by and also bursts of light shining in from the galleys when the curtains are opened.

Those galleys (green) also sit directly behind row eight and are diagonally across from seats 8A and 8K, leaving mid-cabin rows 4-7 as the best to choose when hoping to snooze.

Light sleepers may also prefer to rest away from the aisle to further minimise noise and to avoid being bumped, making 4E, 5A, 5F, 5K, 6E, 7A, 7F and 7K the ideal picks here.

The Dreamliner's business class 'mini cabin'

As we've noted earlier, there's a compact business class cabin behind the main doors, with just three rows (numbered 10 through 12).

Many frequent flyers prefer the more exclusive feel of a mini-cabin when it's at the front of the plane – such as on the Qantas Airbus A380 – but reversing the layout, as is the case on the Boeing 787, introduces some downsides.

For starters, you're directly in front of the premium economy cabin and its two baby bassinett positions, which could make any seat in row 12 a questionable choice.

We've also noted that the premium economy cabin has no dedicated lavatories – which means that if premium economy passengers are invited forward to use the business class loos, as is done on Qantas' Airbus A380s, you can expect a lot of traffic past your seats.

With maximum carry-on baggage – avoid rows 1-3: On international flights, Qantas business class travellers can bring up to three bags with them on board – such as two full-sized cabin bags plus a handbag, laptop satchel or duty-free goods.

However, it's unlikely that overhead lockers will be fitted above the centre seats in row two and possibly row three due to the presence of a crew rest loft compartment directly above the seats.

That means the passengers in those rows will need to store their bags elsewhere in the cabin, such as above the window seats, also reducing the space available for these travellers. If you're heavily-packed, consider a seat further back to keep things close.

Also read:

Connect with other business travellers in our Qantas discussion group

Chris C.

A Brisbane-based contributor to Executive Traveller, Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.


03 May 2013

Total posts 663

I'm absolutely flabbergasted! Qantas have 3 lavs in business class cabin....but..shhhh...... don't anyone tell the bean counters they forgot cancel the 2 'extra uneeded' lavs in Business Class.  

29 Jan 2012

Total posts 109

Am curious to see if the 3 toilets in J class will be full size or the "new and improved" slim versions Alan has installed in the retrofitted 737's to save space and of course fit in an extra row of seats. Has anyone had the displeasure of using them, if so would love to hear your comments. For a 14-18 hour flight, I question to overall comfort of this aircraft. I feel it is far more suitable as a sub 9 hour aircraft in reality.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 459

"first flights now on sale" ?  Are they on domestic test flights?  MEL-LAX goes on sale on Christmas day.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 469

Actually, it says they are "soon" on sale.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 459

I don't think I mis-quoted, perhaps the article has been updated.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jul 2016

Total posts 58

I booked my wife and I on QF95 Mel/Lax for 15 December – the inaugural scheduled Dreamliner flights – back in March! Per/Lhr flights are on sale now, however...


12 Jun 2014

Total posts 23

Are the Inaugural Domestic flights on sale too? Would be thrilled to have more info, thank you. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1394

And I'm sure it will be published here when Qantas releases more information

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 310

Has there been any rumour as to when the revolutionary Premium Economy seats will be revealed?


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jul 2016

Total posts 58

They were revealed in late March from memory...


03 May 2013

Total posts 663

too good to be true...typical Qantas bean counter stupidity J class starring lavs again, as in A380?

Well don't Qantas NOT!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Feb 2011

Total posts 54

Looks like long haul flights in business class will still be bigger better cheaper on Emirates & Singapore. The off set seating on the windows is a nightmare as is the foot wells where people spend all night kicking the bottom of the poor bugger in front! Once again Alan has missed the boat here and handed business to the other airlines.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jun 2011

Total posts 92

From the videos on social media, thanks David, it appears seats 5A and 5K are missing a window each. This seems to be supported by the pics of the outside of the new plane of a whited out window in about that position

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2577

Yeah, going to check those out tonight on the flight back to Sydney.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Jan 2013

Total posts 132

Hi David, did you get a chance to check out row 5? I am flying in J from LAX to MEL at the end of December and am deciding whether row 5 is alright. Thanks in advance!

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