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Jan 26, 2016

Qantas 787-9s said to offer dreamy comfy 235 seat count

There are credible rumours that the seat count in the Qantas Boeing 787-9s due from the end of 2017 will be a low, and comfortable 235, and Melbourne-Dallas will be one of the route


A new graphic for the Qantas 787-9 is needed ASAP
A new graphic for the Qantas 787-9 is needed ASAP

There are credible rumours that the seat count in the Qantas Boeing 787-9s due from the end of 2017 will be a low, and comfortable 235, and Melbourne-Dallas will be one of the routes.

Another new route mentioned is Perth-London, presumably via Dubai, although with improved bad weather landing systems at the Perth end, non-stop flights eastbound mightn’t be out of the question.

These are among the details heard in informed gossip. The real announcement is believed to be made this April, at least at this stage, although there is another high visibility option for Qantas to provide details when it announces its anticipated record first half year profit result on 23 February.

According to information the configuration of the 787-9s will be 42 business class seats in a new product, apparently further improved compared to the new J class sleepers now being fitted in the Qantas A330 fleet.

There will be 28 premium economy seats, and 165 in normal economy. It wasn’t known if the economy seats will be the originally intended eight across totally ‘dreamy’ seats Boeing intended for its Dreamliners, or the horrid nine across bum crushers so enthusiastically endorsed by sadistic bean counters for many 787 configurations.

But on a 17 hour flight between Dallas and Melbourne, there is hope, as well as a need on humanitarian grounds, for the seats to as wide as those on the Qantas A380s that fly its Sydney-Dallas Fort Worth dailies.

If such a route was flown today it would be the longest in the world in current operation, just beating the Sydney-DFW route and the soon to begin Emirates 777-200LR Dubai to Panama City route.

However Singapore Airlines intends to reinstate its non-stop services between Singapore and Newark for NYC by late 2017 using the long range version of the Airbus A350-900, and regain by a significant margin the longest non-stop route on earth title.

Japan Airlines flies its long route 787-9s with only 195 seats, comprising 44 in business class, 35 in premium economy and 116 in normal economy, in the original concept eight across format one can only wish for in the Qantas jets.

Air New Zealand flies its three class 787-9s with 302 seats, divided between 18 in business class, 21 in premium economy and 263 in juvenile hobbit sized regular economy seating in the ghastly nine across layout.

However 14 rows of those seat have good seat pitch of 84 cms, which is five cms more than the rest of them and available for sale as Skycouches for couples or very close friends.

The seat pitch in Qantas economy in the Dreamliners will depend on what its comfort engineers can wrangle within their confines no matter how accurate or otherwise the current rumours are.

One thing however is fairly clear. The Qantas product in its 787-9s will be crafted to blow away the United and Air NZ versions of the same Dreamliner model which competes directly or indirectly with Qantas flights to the US and Canada (via connections).


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22 thoughts on “Qantas 787-9s said to offer dreamy comfy 235 seat count

  1. patrick kilby

    I can see them using this configuration for the first four of the 789s and using them as a tag on a Dallas-Melb-Perth-London, the latter non-stop (which is the same as Dallas non-stop) with Learmouth as the emergency alternative (with some investment). For me in Canberra it would be perfect a one stop to London, and avoiding EK 777s for Europe.

  2. Harry

    Ben, it’s difficult to see how Qantas could trade a mere 2 J and 7 Y+ seats for 49 extra Y seats (compared to JAL) without moving to 9-across seating in Y. They might be able to do a handful of improved Y rows, either with extra room or 8 across, but hard to see how they numbers would allow for 8 across for all rows with such a heavy premium load.

  3. Going Boeing

    Qantas will be looking at flying direct Perth to London.

  4. TDeeSyd

    According to GC Mapper, LHR-PER is 9009mi/14499km, quite a bit more than the range of a standard layout 789 (and not considering the deviations around contested airspace required at the mo). A seat reduction to 235 (down from 290 ish) would free up some extra K’s, but presumably the non-stop return leg would also be payload restricted? Anyone hazard a guess on the mechanics of this proposal, both ways.

  5. ghostwhowalksnz

    Even Qantas A380s sometimes fall short on Dallas Sydney, one the other week having a refueling in Brisbane plus a 747 400ER from Chile doing a refueling stop in Christchurch- but that was weather related delays in Sydney. But it seems that even with low fuel prices Qantas is still using minimum fuel loads and using a stop over when necessary due to weather or headwinds. Perth of course doesnt have as many choices for a quick stopover.

  6. patrick kilby

    Ghost I suspect they might have to invest is some minimum infrastructure in Learmouth to do it but for a 789 not so much as a for an A380 say. With Melb Dallas at 14473kms the Perth-London is only 25kms further, so if it does one it should do the other.

  7. Fred

    You’ll probably find that the aircraft is tankage limited on the Dallas/Santiago-Sydney routes – i.e. they can’t physically squeeze any more fuel in the tanks out of Dallas or Santiago. A tech stop becomes inevitable if the winds are stronger than usual or there are holding requirements in Sydney.

  8. chris turnbull

    I made comments some time ago speculating that Qantas would pack them in with a high seat count . Looks like I’m wrong on that front – but I do agree that 9 across down the back is all but inevitable. Better pitch than JQ but probably very similar (if not the exact same!) seats . 17 hours – no way – only if they provide free stasis for the whole flight !

  9. ghostwhowalksnz

    I can guarantee there wont be a Perth London non stop , even if there was a plane that could divert to Adelaide. UK just isn’t a growth destination from Australia for Qantas, numbers are dropping and split among many carriers, plus the non stop ticket price would be eaten alive by those carriers offering one stop service even with todays fuel prices.
    Its Australia’s destiny to be served by one stop via ME or North Asia or North America on the way to Europe
    Even SIA will only carry 170 pax on its 350-ULR for its 16,000km to NY. Perth Londonwill never be a city pair like Singapore -NY!

  10. Going Boeing

    Why do you think the configuration is on the light side? To get the performance to do the distance. It can carry the fuel and go the distance Perth London. Watch this space!

  11. patrick kilby

    Ghost it will also provide a one stop to London from Adelaide and Canberra (it is not our destiny to be a two stop route), it is the same distance as DFW, and it can divert to Learmouth a couple of hours north of Perth, which needs little more investment; and it has been marked as on the QF radar for a 789. Europe connections through Heathrow in some cases are better than Dubai, and I use them quite a bit, depending on timing

  12. 777 Steve

    Patrick, as much as I am not a fan of DXB, please explain to me how ANY connection through LHR to Europe is better? Last time I looked QF use T3 or T4, and not T5, which generally means a terminal change if you are going to travel into the EU on the best network from LHR, i.e to T5 on BA. Yes from DXB you cant get everywhere yet, i.e Berlin, but in 99% of cases its a no brainer, and its why DXB is presently eating everyone elses’ lunch.

  13. patrick kilby

    Steve, if your connection is to a non-a380 flight like mine was to Dusseldorf last year a bus ride to the nether reaches of Dubai airport in a bus in 40C heat (each way) was not much fun. Terminal 3 to terminal 5 at Heathrow was surisingly more fun especially with a price advantage and a better connection time. The new Dubai airport (in ten years) will be better, but the current one is a matter of the luck of the draw.

  14. john grier

    stop quoting seat pitch !!!

    2 identical aircraft with same seat config, can have have different seat pitches due to different seat back thicknesses, which can be up to 5cm (or even more apparently) different in thickness.

  15. 777 Steve

    I guess its horses for courses Patrick, I too endured a bus ride in DXB in 44C heat, that said the bus ride was about 10 minutes long and the a/c was efficient. For me, I prefer the heat and humidity v the cold dankness of LHR and the underground tunnels. I also arrived in Geneva 5 hrs earlier than would have been possible via LHR.

  16. ghostwhowalksnz

    patrick you should check out actual distances including common routes through middle east and europe.
    From Perth via Dubai and then to Heathrow is 14500km as they track over Iran and Turkey and then Romania etc to get to London.

    I dont see its possible for a 789 to do the 14500 from London to Perth, the proposed United 789 from LAX to melbourne will be 12700km, which would pretty much a practical limit of 13,000km

    Doesnt sound like Melbourne Dallas is even possible in a 789 as its over 1400km and often flights track towards LA before heading to Australia rather then the more direct route across mexico. ( Making the distance to Sydney over 14000km for this track)

    So Im saying Perth- Heathrow and Melbourne- Dallas arent going to see Qantas 789s

  17. patrick kilby

    My point is Ghost is that they are both Mel-DFW and Perth-LHR) much the same distance and so if they can make it work (with 80 fewer passengers), which they say they can, then I am sure they will. Otherwise why keep spruiking it.

  18. ghostwhowalksnz

    Well the Mel-DFW is only ‘rumored’ by Ben here and other comments by Joyce about Perth are just fanciful ‘possibilities’ His flight ops people will be telling him a different story.
    Spruiking only occurs when you have tickets to sell on flights that will occur
    No one is doing a 789 over 14000km for a very good reason.

  19. Aaron Platt

    Give me a non-stop to LHR any day and cut the wasted time in DXB. Last time it was a 3 hour layover wandering around the cramped, busy terminals. Then 1hr on the aircraft before push back due to traffic. Let EK take the traffic to CDG, FRA, AMS, et al and QF do non-stops from all the ports to London.

    My dream…

  20. ggm

    Assuming a craft can do it, and be cross-certified to be legal to do it, the loss per flight could be met out of a PR budget. Its insane, but on one level, unseating Singapore on the ‘longest flight’ tab AND reclaiming Kangaroo route ownership, is chest beating. Chest beating is advertizing.

    you don’t need to fly Perth-London to try and make profit directly, if it makes profit indirectly by selling more generally seats on your aircraft. its not like the loss would be enormous, it would be about margins. if the business seats had enough profit, economy might be broadly irrelevant

  21. patrick kilby

    GGM it would not beat SQ or even EK on the longest flight. Perth LHR is much the same as Melb-DFW. It would end up being about the 4th or 5th longest. I travel of the the Syd-DFW flight (much the same distance give or take half an hour) by choice and think it is rather sensible for my needs rather than ‘insane’.

  22. ghostwhowalksnz

    Not so fast. It doesnt make sense to use a great circle route when thats not what you can fly and then theres the generally available tail winds which might vary for the direction you’re heading.
    Pert is not going to have a A380 going non stop to London, an 789 is about the only option considering the possible traffic and even then I think Perth Dubai London is the most likely choice, if ever


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