The feel-good factor: how Qantas wants to change long-haul flying

By David Flynn, June 23 2017
The feel-good factor: how Qantas wants to change long-haul flying

Arriving into London at 5am after a 17½ hour flight doesn’t sound like the beginning of a good business trip. It’s more like the start of a zombie marathon as you push through the day, while your hotel bed beckons from the wrong side of the clock.

Qantas hopes to change that, by changing almost everything about the way we fly today – from the types of food and drink served on board and when they’re served, to lighting (both in the air and in lounges), cabin temperatures and the advice given to travellers before and after their flight.

It’s part of an ambitious and revolutionary collaboration with health and wellness boffins from The University of Sydney’s medical hub to make passengers feel more comfortable, better rested and less jet-lagged.

And while the program is driven by the advent of the Qantas Boeing 787 and its non-stop trek between Perth and London, the results will be rolled out on other international Qantas flights including the Airbus A380s to Dubai, London and the USA, alongside Airbus A330 flights to Asia. 

It also reflects the evolution of air travel away from stopovers in favour of direct flights from A to B – but with plenty of Zzzz along the way.

“Sydney to Los Angeles used to take 72 hours with a couple of stops on the way, but we take Sydney-LA for granted now,” reflects Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

Indeed, for many frequent business travellers that trans-Pacific run has taken on the familiar routine of a commute.

“We’re going to be coming up to 2021 with aircraft like the Boeing 777-8X which could do Sydney or Melbourne (non-stop) to London or New York,” Joyce tells Australian Business Traveller, “and this is why these studies become even more pertinent, because as the technology gets longer in terms of range you want to have an informed scientific basis to  give people advice.”

Qantas claims this is the first time any airline has dived so deeply into the science behind inflight comfort.

“It’s bringing together experts in nutrition and sleep and physical activity… to understand the science of long haul flights, to improve jet lag and wellbeing and health in the air, before and after you get to your destination,” explains Professor Steve Simpson, from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre.

“It’s amazing this has never been done before,” Joyce adds.

“We’re investing a significant amount on this research but we think it will be paid back multiple times by offering an experience that no other airline in the world will be offering.”

Food (and drink) that’s fit for flight 

A new-look Qantas menu will be built around dishes and ingredients which don’t weight you down and make you feel sluggish, and in some cases will pep you up by kick-starting your metabolism. 

“There will be some ingredients, some types of vegetables we want to avoid and others we’ll want to use more,” explains Neil Perry, who is working with Sydney University’s Charles Perkins Centre on a detailed re-think of sky-high dining.

“Digestion and nutrition affects everything hormonally throughout your body, so that’s what we’re going to be able to tap into.”

“There are ingredients that relax you, there are ones that promote melatonin to help you sleep, and ones that energise your metabolism to help you get going again in the morning,” Perry elaborates.

“We may offer something spicy for breakfast to pep up your metabolism and help get the gut moving, because the process of waking up physically happens through the stomach.”

“It’s all about getting people ready in their eating and sleeping habits on board so they get to their destination feeling better,” Perry says.

Botanica juices and Perry’s Quench line will help travellers keep hydrated, with Quench juices available the Boeing 787’s self-serve bars, rehydration mocktails and probiotic starters served as a wake-up shots.

While this flyer-friendly menu will be at its best at the pointy end of the plane, to suit business travellers who need to hit the ground running, the core aspects will extend all the way through to economy.

“17 hours is a particularly long haul in economy,” Perry admits, “so you really do want to eat well, be properly hydrated, get a great sleep and start to get yourself into the London timezone before you arrive.”

Comfort food isn't going anywhere

But travellers won’t be force-led kale, quinoa and kombucha juice, or told by stern-faced crew that they can’t have dessert unless they finish their greens.

“We’ll still serve the most amazing Australian wines, a selection of Australian beers, and as much dessert as you can possibly want!” laughs Joyce, who admits that dessert is a weakness of his own on those long flights.

“But we also want other dishes which help improve wellbeing and health in the air and help defeat jet lag when you get to your destination, so that customers can make informed choices.”

Qantas is looking at ways to emphasise those flyer-friendly menu options beyond the small ‘healthy choice’ icon, with explanations of why certain dishes will be beneficial for travellers.

“If you want your favourite dish, your steak sandwich, we’ll still have that. But we’ll also have recommendations to tell people that this is going to aid you in jetlag, getting longer periods of sleep and those sorts of things.” 

Let there be light

The Boeing 787 enjoys a home ground advantage when it comes to feeling better above the clouds.

The lower cabin altitude, increased humidity, larger windows, fresher air and even a smoother ride compared to conventional jets will provide a handy assist to Qantas’ own efforts.

But another aspect of the Dreamliner will for the first time be called into play – its LED lighting with lets airlines dial through a rainbow palette of colour schemes.

Qantas sent a sleep expert from the Charles Perkins Centre to Boeing to examine the lighting options and their effect on passengers.

It turns out there are specific wavelengths which encourage the body’s product of the hormone melatonin, which drives the circadian rhythms of the body clock.

“He’s given us recommendations on the aircraft for Perth-London, on what lighting we should be using at different stages of the flight, which from a scientific standpoint has never been done before.”

So Qantas threw out its original Boeing 787 LED lighting scheme and is adopting one tailored for each route and geared towards promoting sleep and wakefulness at the appropriate times.

Cabin temperature

Also changing will be the cabin temperature settings.

It’s a bane of travellers that so many flights seem either too hot or too cold, and of course individual preferences and body types come into play.

But Qantas is mapping out a ‘cabin temperature profile’ for flights which will vary the settings throughout the flight, again to help encourage passengers to relax, to sleep and to wake up. 

“Lighting, temperates food and drink, all these are things which we can influence which are going to make it more comfortable,” Joyce says.

Real-world feedback 

Qantas will also be signing up passengers to contribute to the project by wearing Fitbit-style wristbands during their regular flights “to track their physical and mental states and their sleep patterns,” Joyce says.

The wristbands will be sent back to the Charles Perkins Centre to analyse the data and make further recommendations  “to see we can improve the experience. It will go through iterations, as all things do, and get better and better over time.”

These tech trials will begin on Qantas’ Boeing 787 flights from Melbourne to Los Angeles and involve travellers “from a range of demographics,” Joyce says.

“We want to have very frequent flyers and infrequent flyers, people from every age group, to make sure we have sufficient samples and enough data too make the research relevant.”

Ground effect

Qantas’ new Perth international lounge (below) will adopt some aspects of the research, not just in the dining areas but even the shower suites.

These will be fitted with a blue light which emits a wavelength to subtly revitalise the body, Joyce says. “We’ll be recommending that customers switch this on because you want them to be awake on the the first third of the Perth-London flight and then sleep on the later part of the flight.”

Pre-flight and post-flight

All travellers booked on the Perth-London flight will also be sent an email with advice on how to prepare for their flight, tips for during the flight and what they can do upon landing to help get over jet-lag – such as what to eat, the importance of rehydrating and the value of getting out into the sunlight for a walk.


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 - QFF Platinum

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 213

Some very good initiatives and innovation on display here. Yes there is a marketing component but in the end its for the benefit of the traveller.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 353

An informative article, bur reads very much like an advertorial for Qantas. If Qantas are really serious about reducing long-haul stress on the body, they'd have opted for a 2-4-2 economy layout, instead of the bone crunching 3-3-3 layout with 17 inch width seats. The reality is, most if it's 787 customers will be travelling in this layout.

27 Apr 2017

Total posts 40

Exactly right. Qantas has failed to do the one thing that matters the most for long-haul flying -- more personal space. All these other efforts are merely tinkering around the edges.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jul 2016

Total posts 55

Not true, actually. The 787 economy seats are wider and have greater pitch than the 380 equivalents, while premium economy seating is all new. As for the "other efforts", perhaps you should wait to see how they combine and work as a whole, rather than 'expertly' dismissing then out of hand...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 353

This is not correct. The A380 economy seats are wider than that of the 3-3-3 economy seats on the 787. It is not possible for a wider seat on the 787 and still be in a 3-3-3 layout, they are .3 inches narrower. Give me more seat width than leg room any day!

29 Oct 2016

Total posts 35

That is incorrect. Qantas A380 economy seat cushions are 20" wide seam to seam and 18.3" wide between inner arm rest edges. On a B787 with 3-3-3 across the industry standard is 17.3".

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644


Gee, my math is getting really bad.

How to calculate a 216in cabin diameter with 9 abreast getting a wider Y seat than a 256in cabin diameter with 10 abreast?

The math doesn't work out on my equation even if I account for significantly wider aisles on the 380....

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644


So to go beyond "tinkering around the edges" and "do the one thing that matters the most for long-haul flying -- more personal space", QF should probably go 7 abreast in Y and 6 abreast in PY on 789 deployed for PER-LHR but still charge  Y/PY fares not much more than typical for Australia-DXB-LHR by EK.

QF will fail if they don't comply with Y consumers'  dream/utopia by throwing the op cost equation out of the window and ignore shareholders/lenders....

29 Oct 2016

Total posts 35

@FLX1. "QF will fail if they don't comply with Y consumers'  dream ...". Well Qantas plus writers like David Flint and co persist with attaching the 'Dreamliner' tag to the B787 when that term was coined by Boeing with spaciousness being the goal.

At the very least if that is now seen as 'utopia' and Qantas has to cram people into short haul B737 width seats to turn a profit then they should desist from using the 'Dreamliner' tag should they not. It is false and misleading to continue to use it.

There are other potential solutions than making seats on the B787 as narrow as those on the B737 flying short or medium (i.e. transcontinental) sectors. One possibility is to accept that the B787 is too small for three classes of cabin, so all have been compromised. PE should go and 2-4-2 be the Economy configuration, as originally envisaged by Boeing if the 'Dreamliner' tag is to apply. Of course this means a higher fare but operating costs have risen and surely, according to the hypothesis of this article, i.e. people looking to save time and avoid stopovers on ultra long haul routes, then they will pay reasonable fair premium for that convenience. With PE Qantas cannot charge a fair premium and have a decent economy as that would drain the pool of people willing to pay a large premium for PE.

Look at Air Canada on the long route to YVR. They charge a very significant premium for their non-stop service for 10 across B777s (17"", even tighter than will apply on the B787) compared with more comfortable routes via Asia. They might have stayed with 3-3-3 and charged a higher price which would have let them stay with 3-3-3 (as per Virgin to LAX). However their B777s are primarily used internally and on medium haul trans Atlantic flights as well where one can put up with squish class for six or seven hours.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644


"...Qantas plus writers like David Flint and co persist with attaching the 'Dreamliner' tag to the B787 when that term was coined by Boeing with spaciousness being the goal....."
Don't know about QF but I don't recall Boeing has ever defined "spaciousness" fm Dreamliner specifically equal to more physical space/dimensions per Y seat in any of their PR/mkting materials.  Feel free to challenge me with alternative version but I hv been following pretty much every Boeing PR/mkting material release to the media in detail re 787 ever since the early days of its predecessor SonicCruiser/7E7 concepts circa 2001.  Boeing PR/mkting did communicated a lot re cabin tech features unique to or debuted on 787  that can enhance the feeling of spaciousness & comfort by Y pax.  They may not work on all pax(e.g. U) but we can't really say that those features don't deliver any benefit to any pax on a 787.

"..they should desist from using the 'Dreamliner' tag should they not. It is false and misleading to continue to use it."
Why?  Nobody is complaining about Airbus using the Xtra-Wide-Body tag on 350XWB despite that cabin diameter  actually being significantly smaller/narrower than 380's and even the 777's(23cm wider) which happen to be also configured in 9abreast in Y and still in use by many 777 operators.

"...accept that the B787 is too small for three classes of cabin, so all have been compromised."
Tell that to BA which has 4 cabin classes across F, J, PY(real PY, not Y+) and Y on their 789 x18 fleet and numerous other 787 operators with 3 classes onboard.

Or may be U simply know more about mkt demand/op cost sustainability for each class on all 787 routes than all these idiot airline CEOs who get paid/grilled by shareholders to make this kind of fleet+product decisions...

"Look at Air Canada on the long route to YVR...They might have stayed with 3-3-3 and charged a higher price which would have let them stay with 3-3-3"
The conversion in Y in 777 fleet fm 9 to 10abreat is a recent phenomenon @ AC(started about 3yrs ago).  It may be news to U that ever since deployment of the new Y config in 777, AC's longhaul financial performance improved fm breakeven/slight loss along with poor avg load factor to
record Rev$/profit along with record avg load factors....especially in Y.

No need to believe me, just go check news about AC financial results fm 2014 till last yr.

"However their B777s are primarily used internally and on medium haul trans Atlantic flights .."
Just showing how little U actually know about AC network & fleet deployment.  777 are deployed on AC domestic trunks between the 3 largest AC intercon hubs(mostly YVR-YYZ) mainly for longhaul positioning/rotation purposes and 2ndly to improve 777 fleet utilization rate.  E.g. that 777 arriving SYD fm YVR everyday actually originate in YYZ.

The entire 777 fleet @ AC has crew bunk which is an  unnecessary weight penalty and not legally required if the fleet is primarily intended for domestic or even their longest European routes to YYZ/YUL hubs.  Even when configured 10abreast in Y, the entire AC 777 fleet is clearly configured for missions beyond 12hrs.

"...where one can put up with squish class for six or seven hours."
LHR->YVR sector is a daily AC Trans-Atl route done almost yr-round by 777 but @ least 9.5hrs in duration and well beyond your indicated sector duration range.

Furthermore, AC regularly deploy 777 daily on the following intercon routes where none is below 11.5hrs and 1 is nearly 16hrs:
YYZ-PEK /HKG /PVG(Seasonal) /HND(Seasonal)

The above routes 'locked-up' @ least 10-14 airframes just to maintain a daily rotation and the whole AC fleet only has 777 x25....pretty obvious the 10 abreast Y config on 777 is also designed for Trans-Pcf by AC.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 470

David Flint used to be the Chair of the Press Council and Australians for Constitutional Monarchy. Not sure that he's ever written about Qantas .....

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2016

Total posts 109

Yes, I agree, however, no other world leading airline that operates it apart from JAL has failed to do this, so it should be more of an industry wide complaint in my opinion. 

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

14 Feb 2014

Total posts 32

too right like most articles here

29 Oct 2016

Total posts 35

This article from David Flint regurgitates the Qantas PR material which he and other Qantas sponsored 'journalists' distributed when Alan Joyce introduced the B787 plans. At that time most writers like David did a sleight of hand whereby they said "look over there" and discussed how Y was to have an extra 1" legroom (which will be lost once the person in front reclines) compared with the A380 but slide past the uncomfortable fact that Y was to have 1" less width than on the A380.

The spin which Qantas snake oil merchants applied was that they were *especially* configuring the B787 for ultra long haul whereas Alan Joyce, when asked as to why the Y sets were being narrowed, responded by saying everyone else was doing it. Well that might be but not everyone else was doing it e.g. JAL. Besides the like-for-like comparison should have been what every other ultra long haul operator was doing, and Qantas is probably the only such operator so should have shown how to configure the B787 as a Dreamliner rather than as a Nightmareliner for those sandwiched between their seat neighbors.

Why do writers such as David insist on representing this discredited 'especially configured for ultra long haul' nonsense. Call a spade a spade so people can realise what they will be buying down the back is a backwards step and I cannot believe the piece about health and welfare boffins being involved in terming this as progress.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2545

Allow me to respond, J-sh.

The difference in economy seat width between the A380 and Boeing 787 is 17.5" to 17.2" – that's a difference of 0.3 inches (0.76cm), not 'one inch' – or to put it another way, less than half the diameter of a 5c coin. I really don't think you are going to notice that difference.
And far from 'sleight of hand', we were the only media to present a hands-on (err, bum-on?) session with the Qantas Boeing 787 economy seat – see this article – where we clearly called out the width difference.
We were also the only media outlet to fairly present the premium economy seat (see this article), to not regurgitate the 'revolutionary design!' PR line (in fact, we said it didn't live up to that promise) and to call out the issue with lack of space when the person in front of you reclines.
What's important to note though is that we're not an opinionated blog or column – we run stories as objective pieces of reporting and let readers make (hopefully informed) decisions based on that content.
This article above is in line with that, reporting on Qantas' work in this field of 'inflight wellness', and to a lot more detail than you'd see in any other publication (and certainly much more that was in the scant press release)
Could Qantas have opted for wider economy seats via, say, a 2-4-2 layout? Sure. But that's a business-led decision, it's been informed by financial modelling based on loads and ticket costs, and the 3-3-3 config is standard for all but one 787 operator – and don't forget, these Dreamliners will also be flying shorter conventional 12 hour trips to the US and, if all orders are taken up, replacing the A330s to Asia.
I've flown in economy on a Qantas A380 to Dallas, and from my experience to date I know I'd much rather fly in economy on a Qantas Boeing 787 to London.
PS And the name is Flynn, not Flint

08 Oct 2011

Total posts 51

But I thought the A380 can accommodate 18.5" width seat (armrest-to-armrest) for 3-4-3 configuration?  17.5" means having very wide aisles.  And Airbus had always advocate at least 18" wide seats.

29 Oct 2016

Total posts 35

Sorry about the misspelling David.

Just stop the use of the 'Dreamliner'  tag. I recall going through the B787 mockup in at the Boeing Everett plant in 2007 with a friend who had worked as an interior design engineer on the B787 before he retired and he explained the design philosophy behind the aircraft, i.e. to create a feeling of spaciousness compared with what had gone before and 2-4-2 was part of that design. The Dreamliner tag was appropriate. With 3-3-3 it is not.

Your point about 3-3-3 being 'standard' and mentioning flights to Asia is quite appropriate. But the Qantas announcement about their B787 internal configuration headlined that it had been especially configured for ultra long haul. Evidently that is not so.

A little less PR spin would have been appropriate.

I had a very comfortable economy flight to DFW and return from LAX on the A380 and would always prefer 18.3" than 17.3". This after all is almost indistinguishable from the 17" now applying on 3-4-3 B777s which are an absolute torture rack on the 15 hours from YVR to SYD. With 17.5 hours PER-LHR the effect of 17.3" will be much the same as 15 hours @17".

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2545

J-sh, Boeing calls it the Dreamliner and the industry calls it the Dreamliner and so we'll continue to call it the Dreamliner.

02 Dec 2016

Total posts 90

Let's see if you feel the same way after actually flying in economy to London on the 787 with QF.  Especially with a full load lout.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644


" Y was to have an extra 1" legroom (which will be lost once the person in front reclines) compared with the A380"
Yes, I agree:  Only pax on a 789 would recline their Y seat.  Pax on a 380 would never recliner their Y seat....

May be pax flying 380 are somehow more civilized/considerate than those on a 789.  That must be the magical 380 experience folks keep talking about on this website....the type is so heavenly good that it can transform people's behavior.


21 Jul 2011

Total posts 84

The problem is not Qantas, but the myriad of passengers who demand cheaper and cheaper fares. If pax paid more,  Qantas would meet their needs with 2-4-2 or better. Better still, fly J. 


15 Apr 2015

Total posts 17

Would passengers pay more for a 2-4-2 Y seating arrangement? I guess not.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 644


Given everything else being equal, certainly not 12.5%(9seats  divided by 8seats) more per the outcome of nearly all purchase decisions in the Y consumer segment.

When sort by the lowest to highest fare(i.e. the most common sorting order by most Y consumers globally) in any flight ticket search engine, the supplier/airline of a flight option charging 12.5% higher than others will instantly get bumped to the bottom of the list on screen....despite many of those options listed are probably all showing equipment type as 787 along with similar seat pitch info.  Even for many well informed Y consumers who know exactly which 787 operator use 8 abreast in Y and its comfort advantage, they may still choose to trade that advantage for 12.5% savings in fare cost.  That total saving is significant e.g. for a family of 4 buying 4 tickets to travel across an ocean.

18 Apr 2016

Total posts 5

There is no way they are talking about the people in the back on the 787. 3-3-3 is disgusting for a 17.5hr flight. Good luck to the people that are brave or stupid enough to do the flight down the back.

29 Jan 2012

Total posts 129

All very good reading, but perhaps tricking the body into dealing with time zone changes is not the answer - long term anyway. Feedback I have received and also felt personally is the simple pleasure of arriving at a destination in the early evening, then going to the hotel or destination, having a relaxing sleep or rest and then commencing duties the next morning, rather than 21+ hrs travelling (flight plus airport time), then going straight to the event. Let the body rest, sleep and refresh naturally. When airlines bring in/back long-haul evening arrivals, then I feel the wellness effects will be achieved. This 5 or 6am arrival into LHR or LAX and then straight to the office mentality after a ? relaxing business class flight needs to change, more so than fine tuning the catering and mood lighting, although I do embrace improved catering quality on all flights. Would QF's 789 LHR arrival time adjusted to 5pm really make that much of a difference. Just my personal opinion.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2545

I'd like an arvo arrival too - they turned out to be very popular on QF9 and also when Qantas has some SYD-LAX flights arriving in the afternoon, and I always prefer arfternoon or evening arrivals into Asia... but slots at Heathrow are hard to come by and if this flight was to arrive at 5pm instead of 5am then it'd need to leave Perth at 6.50am instead of 6.50pm, which obviously isn't going to work...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2014

Total posts 459

Works for a plane load of EK passengers every !  The problem is more around Mel.  Also note that the retiming of QF95 does provide the later arrival into LAX, so perhaps not possible to optimise at both ends.

That is apples vs oranges, GregXL, because Emirates flight is nowhere near as reliant on connecting passengers from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane as the Qantas flight will be.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Sep 2012

Total posts 242

Good point. I think the early morning arrivals stem back to when LHR was Qantas' Europe hub with the need for onward connections to the continent. Now that this isn't the case, perhaps arrival times are worth a re-think?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 691

We may offer something spicy for breakfast to pep up your metabolism and help get the gut moving, because the process of waking up physically happens through the stomach.”

Hmm, I wonder if this will cause a 're-think' on the ratio of toilets to passengers proposed on the new B787-9's? Don't know about anyone else, but a huge hit of fruit juice and coffee first thing in the morning gets me 'going' (bathroom) whether it be on the ground or in the air. Pepping up people's metabolism is bound to pep up demand for bathroom services on these routes, I would think.

I'd like to see one of the two toilets shared between business and premium economy made a second business-only toilet, as long as this was enforced.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 Jun 2017

Total posts 2

I fly 2-3 weeks out of every month. The thing I despise more than anything is the constant announcements. They are pointless and redundant.

Seeing as most people get to the airport with hours to spare, why not move the safety briefings to before the flight? Then using the marvels of technology track which passengers have completed the safety briefing so it doesn't need to be repeated for every single flight. Hell, even introduce it as part of the Qantas App and make it mandatory for each aircraft type. Gamify it even so its much like getting a driver's license with the electronic questionnaire. I realise this would require aviation laws to change but its about bloody time.

If I'm a Business Class passenger I want to be left alone to watch my movie or enjoy my drink. Pausing the screen for ANY reason other than emergency is unacceptable. PAs should be treated with far more restraint by all airlines.

Finally, get rid of ALL paper. I don't want to touch an immigration card ever again in my life. Its absolute garbage and wastes so much time.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Jun 2015

Total posts 69

Couldnt agree more, i often wonder whats the point of gate to gate entertainment when its constantly interupted

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Dec 2015

Total posts 10

Couldn't agree more, the BS in all these announcements drives me nuts.

Flying on American airlines a bit lately and the have the hide to pause what you are watching to advertise their stinking credit card!!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jun 2015

Total posts 60

Mr. Perry how am I supposed to get a great sleep in your 3-3-3 Y? 

28 May 2016

Total posts 128

Neil Perry is responsible for some of Qantas' catering, not the economy seating layout (which I may add, 3-3-3 is the industry standard for economy seating) 

08 Aug 2014

Total posts 3

Well l fly on average 8 times per month and some airlines are much better in economy than others, my beef is leg room more than anything... seats are just too close on many airlines, but my venture back to Qantas for a flight made me fly on another airline that seating was more roomy...not all airlines are the same

29 Oct 2016

Total posts 35

Yes but what is the industry standard for ultra long haul, which is what the Qantas PR said it was configuring for. There is none and Qantas had the opportunity to set it but stuffed it up.

29 Oct 2016

Total posts 35

True about Mr Perry. It is young Mr David Caon who has designed the 3-3-3 seats.

It appears he has thinned down the seat backs (probably at the cost of making them rather firm) so the question is how does that thin down passengers widths at the hips and thighs and shoulders and arms by 1"?

It doesn't. The seats are 1" narrower than inner arm rest to inner arm-rest on the Qantas A380 Y seats, leaving passengers squished up next to each other with no wriggle room and presents a health and well being issue on these ultra long haul flights.

08 Oct 2011

Total posts 51

All this talk about better comfort is meant for those seating at the pointy end.  The accompanying pictures says it all.  Very few people will be lying down flat sleeping or enjoying champaigne with their gourmet meal laid out on a table cloth.  Majority will just be having a tray of food and squeezed tightly together in the 17.2" wide and 32" pitch seats.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

Timing is a big factor. QF9 works just perfectly for me (current timings that is) but QF1 and 2 always seemed inconvenient for beating jet lag. They're right in looking at food, temperature and lighting and there's plenty of science to rely on. DVT risk is hard to minimise though and some people ignore all advice about walking, stretches and hydration (which includes limiting alcohol!). 

28 Aug 2014

Total posts 4

Whilst agreeing with the comments above re: this being (yet another) 787/QF/AusBT puff piece, there is definitely potential for QF to be at the forefront of the industry here with this research and approach to long haul flying. Time will tell if it will be a game changer or just marketing spin! (Whoever works in QF PR deserves a raise)

Such a pack of whingers. Every airline except JAL has 3-3-3 economy, and the Qantas A380 has 3-4-3 economy and 1 inch less legroom than the 787 economy seats, but hundreds of people fly QF7 for 15 hours SYD-DFW daily and survive. Don't like the QF 787 economy config? Then take the A380 to London.



21 Jul 2016

Total posts 37

If the best thing that  Neil Perry can come up with is enchiladas (Brisbane Business lounge) and pizza (Perth Business) then I don't give much hope for travellers.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jun 2017

Total posts 4

Yes, didnt think much of the pizza in Perth buisness lounge either.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Jul 2015

Total posts 221

To be honest this is all well and good but fluff. I fly on the Syd DFW run every two months. Coming back it is around 16.5 hours so not much less than Perth to LHR. Stretch,  hydrate and sleep. In J or PE it's fine and even Y if you know where to sit.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jan 2017

Total posts 15

Well said James Barker!

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

17 Feb 2016

Total posts 47

Spicy breakfasts? O good.


24 Apr 2017

Total posts 77

As usual, most of the initiatives are nothing to do with Qantas, and more to do with modern aircraft that have higher humidity levels, higher cabin pressures, quieter engines, which their competitors have been using for many years already.

Fake news spin by the Qantas PR team.

25 Jul 2011

Total posts 12

But I don't get jet lag on the way to Europe and I feel semi-human for the majority of the day after an early a.m. arrival. It is the trip back to OZ that gets to me with the night-day-night-day in 24 hour cycle experience. I am a zombie for the first week back at work. It would be great if QF could fix that with some smart snacks and mood lighting.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2015

Total posts 13

Money would be better spent on arrivals lounges at key hubs.

What a ridiculous idea. Instead of feeling better during the flight due to careful consideration of food, drink, meal timing, lighting etc you want Qantas to build an arrivals lounge at T3 which I presume you expect should be open for everybody, which will be used for just two flights a day, QF1 and QF9 which arrive around the same time, so will potentially see 700 passengers (A380+B787) come streaming into this lounge around the same time? And for what, a shower and a coffee and breakfast? I suppose you'll want 700 showers so that nobody has to wait for a shower, too?

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

12 Feb 2016

Total posts 22

Qantas still going on as if the 787 was a new Australian innovation when other airlines have been flying them since 2011.  Frankly the difference is minimal.  In my experience the cabin crew manipulate the cabin environment to minimise their work load, not for passenger comfort.  If QF is going to do better, great.  I always set my clock to destination time and try to use the flight to adapt, but that seems the opposite of airline practice which seems to be to stay on origin time until the last minute.   What is QF planning to impose on us?


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1450

QF already starts with food after went into bed with EK and not carrying any pork product on any flights that land in DXB.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 792

Those in the know who can only fly Y will most likely choose a different route or carrier. Those who don't know will fly this route once and then tell everyone how little room there was, how they had to queue for the WC, and how the reheated spicy breakfast option tasted after 15+ hours in a metal tube. 

It's no secret that Australians are increasing in height and girth - QF missed out on a major advantage by not having 2-4-2 Y and charging a little more for it. 


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1450

"by not having 2-4-2 Y and charging a little more for it."
It was tried before (I think by Delta, but could be wrong) and was total commercial disaster - herd wanna save a dollar and does not even give a damn about convenience. Last 20 years or so of aviation history passed under the only idea - how to fly cheaper. And we have what we have.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2016

Total posts 5

I wonder from a medical angle is DVT an issue? If I was in economy for 17+ hours middle seat it might be a problem?


20 May 2011

Total posts 13

I know all about DVT. Suffered a stroke after a flight from BKK to Australia back in 2011. Flying Y class in a Qantas B747-400.  Stuck in economy in a middle row. People either side of me had seats back, legs up etc. Seats in front of me were in my face. So, to get up meant having to wake a lot of people up. I didn't need a toilet break, so, put up with the discomfort. One week later, the hospital was prying my mouth open with a crow bar ( that's what it felt like,) I suffered memory loss, and could not walk. 118 days in hospital got me going again. Still have issues of course. Went overseas in February this year. Used my points and flew business.  A number of flights. Qantas A330,  ANA ( B787), Cathay ( A330 and A350) , Emirates A380.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

Just for reference, extra leg room is better than width for wellbeing so the media spin isn't entirely baseless. If you configure for long haul, you add legroom (I'm offering no commentary on whether it's enough) as priority over width. 

15 Jun 2013

Total posts 9

Think you might find that research shows width is a much more contributing factor to being able to sleep in economy. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

Not getting DVT > sleep

The best way to handle long flights is more space. For me i need leg space and the UNITED economy + 787 has excellent leg room at minimal cost. I would always prefer to fly UNITED to the US. If I get my flights right (which is hard) its even better to fly to London via SFO on UNITED. As for hydration, alcohol is the enemy of any long haul flyer so promoting that in this article seems unusual. So in summary - more leg room and for some traveller more width is the way to deal with a 17 hour trip.

16 Dec 2016

Total posts 46

What a bunch of complainers. Again Qantas can't do anything right with most of the posters here. New 787s with man less seats than competitors and partnering with an innovative university sounds like a good move to me. Even when Qantas are succeeding Australians have to have a go. I know it's not everyone but seriously they have done so bloody well to turn it around and still the whingers whinge. I wish them every bloody success as a privately owned, Australian, non-Government subsidised company. 


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Feb 2015

Total posts 27

Hear hear. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jun 2016

Total posts 44

well said Markspark!  I'm currently posted in Canada and deal with Cdn and US airlines. When you compare Qantas to them, I'd take QF any day of the week, thank you very much. No airline is perfect and one's appreciation of service levels and comfort is subjective at the best of times. There is so much worse out there compared to Qantas.

06 Jun 2017

Total posts 1

This is a terrible PR reprint attempt. David F - you would be wise to take note, much more of this fluff misrepresented as news will only generate more unsubscribes amongst those who do fly often

One comment, while 3-3-3 on a 787 is not great, it is a lot better than the configuration from hell on the Emirates 777. When i travel i always check to make sure i don't end up on one of those aircraft. So in summary, QANTAS is not good when it comes to personal space, but its a lot better than a number of other airlines. I put it in the center of the pack, as long as you never end up on a code share emirates 777.

Always check "The seat Guru" before you fly.

16 Feb 2017

Total posts 24

What a ridiculous load of spin ! All the juices and special lighting in the world don't change the fact that it's the amount of sleep that you get on a long haul flight that makes the key difference as to whether you 'arrive in better shape'. And how do you best promote that ? Enough seat width to get comfortable ! So don't put 9 abreast seating into a plane that wasn't designed for it. Bizarre too that an airline that has long promoted itself as a leader in long hail flying has only just now discovered that there are things it can do to impact the customer experience ! 

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 194

So Qantas thinks they inventing the whole idea of flying with this overhyped dream liners,even Polish airline flying it for almost 8 years now,trying everything to sell seats on this  marathon flights

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2545

No more comments on Qantas' Boeing 787 economy config, please - it's already been done to death and is not relevant to this article. Off-topic comments may be deleted at our discretion in order to ensure that comments add value to the discussion. If you want to talk about Qantas' Boeing 787 economy seating, take it over to our Community area.


03 May 2013

Total posts 655

David, there are two issues which keep arising which I'm hoping you might be able to raise with Qantas which seem to be recurring topics.

1. 787 Econ config (as per your above post)
2. Business Class Lavs reduced to one as opposed to rest of the industry standard for two lavs(787, A330 and reduction on A380) - esp considering QF want to do ULH flights in them?

These are continuously raised I suspect as we've had no proper explanation as to either decision.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2545

Joe: we've already covered the passenger-to-loo ratio of Qantas' Boeing 787 business class cabin here (in fact we were the first to find this info out and report upon it), and discussions on Qantas Boeing 787 economy can be made here.

21 Apr 2017

Total posts 38

ULH flights such as this may appeal to people who fly so infrequently they quickly forget the pain. But myself and other FFs I know wouldn't touch this even if there was an F cabin. A stopover in Asia is far more preferable. Kudos to QF for trying to be innovative but frankly many would prefer a better Asian route network out of more ports in Australia. While I value this site as a source of news about new route and product developments, I agree with other posters here that this piece (and others like it) cross a line and may as well have been written by QF PR. If the site wants to be genuinely useful to FFs then it needs to apply a bit more analysis/editorial rigour.  

Many people would prefer an Asian stopover but Qantas can't do that under the terms of its Emirates alliance, and the whole point of this service is not to replicate a stopover service which Dubai already offers, nor to go back to "the good old days" of Singapore, it's to offer an alternative route which is non-stop.


03 May 2013

Total posts 655

Indeed to your last sentence Bernoulli. We know things are happening but never a proper explanation as to why. That's not ABT's fault per se as airlines such as QF may not release 'method to their madness'.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

05 Jun 2017

Total posts 29

As usual, grubby deception from Qantas.  Flying east to west is a soda for avoiding jet lag.  West to east is a different matter.  I fly EK from MEL to Africa and Europe every 3 month or so and it's always the return flight that hits me.  Let's see Qantas concentrate on getting passengers BACK HOME in a healthier condition, not delivering them.  As usual Qantas picks the low hanging fruit with a healthy dose of hype and misdirection.  Not fooling anyone.  I will never fly QF.  They are far too devious and the service is not up to scratch.  EK kills them in every area.  Hopefully one day Qantas might disappear.......unless the sad QF devotees continue to hang on and be abused!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 470

The whining negativity of a large proportion of the comments here really irritates me. Please understand:

1. no-one really cares that you think you need a super-wide seat; if that's so essential to you, fly in J or F.
2. no-one cares that you'd prefer a stopover in Asia. And please stop injecting that inane comment into EVERY story about QF. It's incredibly tedious.
3. most Y pax choose a flight based on cost. Period.
4. if you don't like QF, fly on another airline. Don't expect QF ro change to reflect your peculiar preferences.
5. QF needs to make choices that lead to it making money. That's the only way it will survive.
6. AusBT reports on what is occuring in the industry and the comments made by airlines. Its news stories are not a blog full of the author's personal opinions on everything.
7. David's name is"Flynn". It's hilarious that people criticise him for inaccuracy/bias/subversion/treason - but can't even get the simplest thing correct themselves. 

16 Feb 2017

Total posts 24

Hi John ! Actually - I think QF will be watching really carefully as to what customer reaction is to the seating on their 787's. They have a lot riding on a positive reaction to it. Personally - I don't regard myself as 'peculiar' - one chooses to fly economy class and one accepts the product. However when it comes to flying to Europe or Asia - I'll continue to choose one of the ME or Asian carriers with better product. Doesn't mean I don't like QF. And by and large I'm incredibly admiring of the job that QF management have done over the decades in managing themselves in a tough industry. 

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