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).