The Qantas 787 Dreamliner Will Fly Between Brisbane & LAX/JFK In 2018

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The first Qantas 787 Dreamliner will be landing in Sydney on Friday 20 October and, while the aircraft’s first scheduled long-haul route is the one between Melbourne and Los Angeles (from 15 December 2017), Qantas already has other plans for its newest aircraft.

The most ambitious plan Qantas currently has for its Dreamliner is the one where it connects Perth and London with a non-stop service for the first time (from 24 March 2018) but the airline has also confirmed that Brisbane will be getting Dreamliners too.

As Qantas takes delivery of more Dreamliners in 2018 four of them will be stationed in Brisbane and the airline has just let us know what it plans to do with them.

The Boeing 747s that currently operate the Brisbane – Los Angeles route will be replaced by the vastly more efficient 787-9 Dreamliners and the same Dreamliners will then carry on to from Los Angeles to New York JFK (again replacing the 747s that operate that add-on service).

The plan is for the Dreamliner to fly between Brisbane and LA route before flying on to New York after picking up passengers who have flown into LA from both Sydney and Melbourne.

a map with red lines and a map with a map and a plane

The Brisbane Dreamliners will be delivered between July and November 2018 so we’re definitely not going to see this service before the second half of next year.

Qantas Will Add A New Route To The US

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has confirmed that the airline is looking to use the Brisbane Dreamliners to start up a new route to the US.

The airline doesn’t appear to have decided upon a route just yet (if it has it isn’t saying) although the cities of Chicago, Seattle and Dallas were all mentioned.

Qantas already flys to Dallas from Sydney so a route between Brisbane and Dallas isn’t exactly all that exciting but if Seattle or Chicago were to be served that would be a different story.

Qantas 787 Dreamliner v 747

a plane flying in the sky

The 747 currently operating the Brisbane – LA route offers 364 seats set out across 3 cabins….

  • 58 Business Class seats
  • 36 Premium Economy seats
  • 270 Economy Class seats

…while the Qantas 787 Dreamliner will offer just 236 seats also split across 3 cabins:

  • 42 Business Class seats
  • 28 Premium Economy seats
  • 166 Economy Class seats

That’s a 27% drop in Business Class seating, a 22% drop in Premium Economy seating and a 38% drop in Economy Class seating.

Those are substantial drops and will make award seats even harder to find than they are now….and they’re already very hard to find!

The Qantas 787 Dreamliner will offer a significantly improved Business Class product as all seats will have access to the aisle (incredibly some Qantas 747s still have three seats in the centre of the Business Class cabin).

a close-up of a seatQantas 787 Dreamliner Business Class seats

The Dreamliner Business Class cabin will have a seating arrangement not dissimilar to the one on Etihad’s 777’s (for example) so some business Class seats will be preferable to others.

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As the seat map shows, the window seats in the odd-numbered rows are closer to the widows and further away from the aisle than the seats in the even-numbered rows so these are the seats I would always aim for first – they’ll be considerably more private.

The Premium Economy Seats on the Dreamliner will offer the same 38″ of seat pitch as the Premium Economy seats on the 747 but the Dreamliner seats will offer an additional 1.5″ in seat-width.

In Economy Class the Dreamliner will offer 32″ of seat pitch vs the 31″ found in the 747 but the Economy Class seat width in the Dreamliner will be marginally less than in the 747.

Bottom Line

The Negatives:

Less Business Class and Premium Economy seating is never a good thing at it just makes finding award seats all that more difficult.

Prices between the US and Australia are pretty high most of the time as it is and a decrease in capacity (which is what this is) isn’t going to help bring fares down.

The Positives:

The Business Class offering should be a lot better on the Dreamliner than it is on the 747 although I know a lot of travelers will miss the upper-deck experience that the 747 offers.

Premium Economy is seeing a nice improvement in seat width while Economy Class gets an inch more leg room and those are both moves to be welcomed.

I’ll be flying in the Qantas Dreamliner next month (on a short internal flight) as the airline gets its crews accustomed to the new member of the fleet so I’ll report back on the experience and with as many pictures as I can take when I get back from that trip.