The best premium economy seats on the Qantas Boeing 787

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

Nestled between business class and economy, the Qantas Boeing 787 boasts a cosy premium economy zone of just 28 travellers seated across four rows (numbered 20 through 23):

The cabin comes in a 2-3-2 layout, with the paired window seats listed as A/B and J/K and the centre trio as D/E/F.

Passengers in 'A' and 'K' seats are by the windows; those in 'B', 'D', 'F' and 'J' seats are by the aisles; while guests in 'E' seats are, sadly, stuck in the middle.

Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner premium economy: best seats

For maximum legroom and space – row 20: Located at the front of the cabin, these seats prove the roomiest thanks to the generous gap between them and the bulkhead wall in front.

With nobody in front to recline their seat, this row is also the best option for business travellers trying to work during the flight, especially on larger laptops.

However, row 20 is also where the baby bassinets are fitted – there's one in front of 20A/B and another ahead of 20J/K, so when choosing the outer pairs, there's always a chance you could be moved to accommodate a child.

For couples and duos – the A+B and J+K pairs: When travelling with a partner or friend, there's no reason to have a seatmate in the centre group when you can instead sit together by the windows!

For sleeping – row 23: With a bulkhead wall behind and nobody to bump your seat, plant yourself in row 23 and enjoy remaining reclined and asleep, even if those around you are eating.

Solo travellers will also prefer the window seats here to avoid being awoken during the flight when their seatmate needs to hop up.

However, baby bassinets for economy passengers are found directly behind 23A/B and 23J/K, too... but with bassinets also at the front of premium economy, choosing a different row won't provide much difference.

For families – it varies: Couples travelling with lap infants will appreciate those baby bassinet facilities available at row 20A/B and 20J/K, as the bassinet frees your hands during the flight.

(Bassinets are indicated by an orange dot on the seat map above.)

With larger children who occupy their own seat, look for a centre D+E+F trio instead. Parents may wish to enjoy the aisle seats themselves while assigning their child to the middle seat.

For everybody else, there's no reason to choose yourself a centre ('E') seat when every other seat in the cabin is by a window or aisle.

Also read:

Connect with other business travellers in our Qantas discussion group

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

20 May 2014

Total posts 79

Hi Chris,

Where have you sourced these seatmaps which are used in the article?  Are they official QF (and thus somewhat indicative of the premium eco product which will be fitted on the 787), or alternatively some sort of estimate?


24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2453

Hi RealKid,

Our diagrams are taken from the official Qantas Boeing 787 LOPA (Layout of Passenger Accommodations) - an internal Qantas document which was shared with us exclusively.

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 650

the 787 seatmap is also on in the seatmaps section :)

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2453

Groovy! When we published yesterday it hadn't been uploaded yet. :)

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 135

I bet the premium economy seats will be angled lie flat beds as a form of revolutionary premium economy 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2014

Total posts 174

Is it unusual that they have started selling these seats despite not revealing what they look like/what you'll actually get for your money?

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2559

Yes, it's very very unusual... even for a brand new aircraft and seat type, there's typically photos and details and plenty of other information about the seat by the time it goes on sale.

28 Nov 2012

Total posts 93

What if they turn out to be fixed shell?

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 135

Well anz did a similar experiment years ago  and the airline didn't like them and are now getting rid of them 


18 Aug 2017

Total posts 39

And they were brilliant in ANZ, so much room and so comfy and pair that with ANZ service and it is a top experience, 

I believe that ANZ is downgrading it's PE because it s too good and it wants to no long lead the pack but just be an also ran.

03 May 2020

Total posts 8

I flew Qantas PE recently and when the person in front reclined and looked super comfortable I could not use the table or watch TV.  Bulkhead only place to sit, and hope no babies🙏🏻

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