There is an antidote (for extra $$$) to the cramped economy seating on the soon to arrive Qantas 787-9 Dreamliners, and it was unveiled in Sydney this morning as a wide and versatile premium economy seat.
The new Premium Economy seat is based on a prototype by Thompson Aero Seating and heavily customised by leading Australian industrial designer David Caon.
“Developing a new seat comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities. Working with Thompson and Qantas, I think we’ve created a new standard for Premium Economy,” Mr Caon said.
“We’ve made sure this seat offers genuine comfort through design elements not seen before on aircraft. There are a number of new bespoke design elements that we hope will really set the benchmark for this class.”
The seat pitch is 38 inches or 96.5 cms, but the key to its comfort appears to be in its width and the mechanisms which facilitate a roomy recline. In standard nine across economy in the new 787-9s the seat pitch is 32 inches or 81.3 cms and the width is so constrained that hips bones will crush into each other, not something to look forward to on a 17 hour non-stop flight from Perth to London or even a 14 hour nonstop from Melbourne to Los Angeles.
Qantas introduced Premium Economy with its A380 aircraft in 2008 and later rolled it out onto the Boeing 747. Qantas will assess updating existing Premium Economy cabins in-line with its fleet planning and product cycles.
The Qantas Dreamliner will seat 236 passengers across Business, Premium Economy and Economy – a seat density that is significantly lower than many of its competitors.
The first of eight Dreamliners will be delivered in October this year with Qantas’ first international 787 services will take flight in December between Melbourne and Los Angeles. Flights between Perth and London, which will directly link Australia and Europe for the first time, begin in March 2018.