The massive hype around the launch of the new Qantas Dreamliner 787/9 has caused many to say, “There’s already plenty of Dreamliner’s – what makes Qantas’ so special?”
FACT: There are currently 615 Boeing Dreamliner 787’s flying around the world commercially right now, including the 787/8/9 and soon to be ’10’ iterations across a number of airlines.
Jetstar already has eleven Dreamliner 787/8’s, which essentially means that the Qantas Group now owns twelve Dreamliner 787’s, with a further seven Qantas 787/9’s on order to arrive before the end of 2018 which will take them to a total combined fleet of eighteen aircraft.
So what does make the Qantas Dreamliner 787/9 a stand out amongst the others? After flying it ourselves on the inaugural flight, here’s our 6 reasons to ponder.
1. Less seats = more space and comfort
The first important fact to know is that the Qantas Dreamliner 787/9 only has 236 seats.
Most other airlines carry 300+ passengers on their Dreamliner 787/9’s, so that means more space and comfort for everyone on this aircraft.
Good news when you consider that Qantas is about to start flying direct from Perth to London – a seventeen and a half hour sector.
2. Groundbreaking new cabins to drool over
Australian Industrial Designer David Caon has exclusively designed each cabin, in collaboration with iconic Aussie designer Marc Newson who also famously designed the A380 interiors and seats.
Every last detail has been thought out and carefully considered including the crockery, the lighting and even the toilet layouts. The result is an enhanced inflight experience that like all great design – not everyone will notice, but they will certainly benefit from.
Qantas Group Executive Brand Marketing & Corporate Affairs Olivia Wirth said the 787 Dreamliner had given Qantas the opportunity to re-design the entire travel experience.
“We have considered everything from cabin lighting, revolutionary new seats and scientific studies to reduce jetlag. We’re now pleased to be bringing together our expert in food and wine with our expert in design to modernise the in-flight dining experience and make it even more special,” she said.
3. Expanded Economy Class
There are 166 seats in economy in a 3-3-3 configuration, all with a generous 32” seat pitch and 17.2” seat width, which is a good inch or so larger than the average seat.
The 6” recline is also better than most and should help people actually lean back without any angst from their fellow passengers. I tried it with two fellow male guinea pigs and it was surprisingly comfortable. No knee or elbow knocking from any of us. It did feel roomy.
The seat also has a very clever (and exclusive to Qantas) ‘footnet’, which is essentially a netted ‘cradle’ you slip your feet into that then holds your feet off the floor, literally taking the ‘weight’ off your feet.
Despite being so simple in its design, it makes a huge difference as during sleep, the ‘footnet’ further enhances the ergonomics of long-haul travel and your overall comfort on board.
It’s also the only economy seat in the business to feature mood lighting integrated into each seat back, as well as a nifty ‘tech deck’ to park your devices (think watching your own movies on your IPad or playing games) and more storage for all of your stuff you need to keep to hand.
A 12” HD interactive touch screen, USB and laptop charging completes the seat, which really does feel much more spacious than other Dreamliner 787/9’s I’ve flown on.
All up, economy is an extremely impressive offering, which will I think be a hit for anyone large or small, especially on that long direct flight from Perth to London.
4. Truly Premium Economy
This may well be the best Premium Economy Product on the market yet as the seat is again exclusive to Qantas and bursting with unique features.
There are only 28 seats in the premium cabin in a 2-3-2 configuration, with a substantial 38” seat pitch and backside soothing 20.5” seat width. The seat also reclines by 9”, which is 3” more than economy.
The ultra comfy seat really sells itself off the back of ‘cradling’ you with the addition of an even better ‘footnet’ and footrest than economy which is the next best thing to a flat bed.
There’s also a newly designed personal electronic device shelf and high-powered USB charger, as well as an ergonomic pillow and an individual night-light to subtly illuminate your space.
Premium Economy travellers also get priority check-in and boarding access, additional luggage allowance, a welcome champers when you board and an amenity kit.
I personally think that Qantas Dreamliner 787/9 Premium Economy is a game changer and will be a key seller for value and comfort.
Already, many have asked, “Is this Business Class?”. Compared to many older Business Class products – It’s actually infinitely better.
5. The sweetest Business Suites
This revolutionary Business Class Suite feels more like a First Class product than a “J’ class one in many ways. It’s already in service on the A330 routes and aside from a minor tweak on the divider between the seats; the design is the same.
With all aisle access in a 1-2-1 configuration, the cabin layout is spacious and private. Each seat has a 46” pitch and reclines fully down to a lie flat bed that stretches out to 80” long and 25” wide.
Any of you who read my reviews often will know that at 196cms I am one of the toughest critics of any seats that don’t meet my height needs. But this seat is fantastic.
Flying on the inaugural flight from Honolulu to Sydney, I slept like a log for 7 hours. On many other airlines I’ll often roll around a lot to stay comfy – but not in here.
The extra mattress adds another layer of contentment; the ergonomic pillow is like sleeping on a cloud and overall the cabin is much quieter on the Dreamliner, which leads to a less interrupted sleep.
There’s plenty of space to stow all your bits and pieces, as well as a conveniently placed USB and power charger and a gorgeous 16” HD touch screen.
Add in the refined and distinctly Australian Rockpool food and wine and well being service created by Neil Perry and his team, an Oroton amenities kit, lounge access and all of the other goodies that come with the Dreamliner Business offering (including the Limited Edition Martin Grant pyjama’s!) and you have another game changing product.
6. It’s the one and only direct flight from Australia to London
Whilst you’ll be able to experience the Dreamliner 787/9 from Melbourne to L.A from this November, March 2018 is when the aircraft really comes into its own as Qantas begins the trailblazing Perth – London direct route.
The first ever 14,498 kilometres, 17-hour long haul flight will become the first of many Qantas long-range flights, with other destinations to be announced in the coming months.
Brisbane will also be home to four of the new Dreamliner 787/9’s with new destinations to be announced by the end of this year.
Matt flew on the inaugural flight as a guest of Qantas.
What do think about the new Qantas Dreamliner? Sound like your kind of plane? Or have you seen better?
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