Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission that helps contribute to the running of the site – I’m very grateful to anyone who uses these links but their use is entirely optional. The compensation does not impact how and where products appear on this site and does not impact reviews that are published. For more details please see the advertising disclosure found at the bottom of every page.
I was fortunate to be in Sydney shortly after Qantas had taken delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and, as Qantas was using its Sydney – Melbourne route to get its crews acquainted with the new aircraft, I burned some Avios and took a ride in the Dreamliner’s Business Class cabin.
It’s been 18 months since I took my first Qantas Dreamliner flight and since then the aircraft has been scheduled, almost exclusively, to operate some of the longest routes Qantas flys…up until now.
A recent schedule update shows that Qantas has filed for government and regulatory approval to operate a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner between Sydney and Auckland for a period of almost 4 months.
The Qantas Dreamliner is set to take over one of Qantas’ 5 daily non-stop services between Sydney and Auckland (replacing a Boeing 737) between 4 December 2019 and 28 March 2020.
Here’s the currently posted schedule for the Dreamliner’s flights:
QF141 SYD 07:40 – 12:50 AKL (Daily)
QF144 AKL 14:10 – 15:45 SYD (Daily)
[HT: Routes Online]
If you head over to the Qantas website, you’ll see the Dreamliner listed in the schedule alongside a warning that the flight is still subject to government and regulatory approval…which should be little more than a rubber stamping exercise.
Searching For Awards
American Airlines has the best award search facility for Qantas awards because it makes it easy to see a month’s worth of award availability in one go.
Make sure you choose to view just the non-stop flights when searching for award availability in calendar view on aa.com to give yourself the best chance of finding a date where QF141/QF144 are showing awards as being available.
It will take a bit of trial and error to find a date where the Dreamliner has Business Class awards available but, having performed the search myself, I can confirm that availability is definitely there.
AA.com is also showing that the flight is subject to government approval, but this won’t stop the site allowing you to price up and book the award.
Here’s the cost for Sydney – Auckland…
…and if you do the journey in the other direction you can save a little on the taxes & fees:
25,000 miles is considerably more than I paid for my flight between Melbourne and Sydney…but then this flight is scheduled to take over twice as long.
Interestingly, at the time of writing the British Airways website isn’t showing any award availability for QF141 or QF144…even on dates where the American Airlines website clearly shows the Dreamliner as being available.
This could be because British Airways doesn’t show availability for flights that are still pending regulatory approval or it could just be a glitch.
Nevertheless, it still possible to price up a Business Class award for travel between Sydney and Auckland (on other flights) so we can see that the cost comes out to 22,000 Avios and £68.40 in taxes and fees.
I have no idea why ba.com is showing me the taxes in GBP but they’re essentially exactly the same as the taxes you’ll pay when you book through American Airlines.
Note: Clearly you can book these Business Class awards with Qantas Points too but at 36,000 points for one-way travel I can’t see the point (no pun intended).
The Qantas Dreamliner Business Class Cabin
The Business Class cabin on the Qantas Dreamliner offers 42 seats in a 1-2-1 layout (it’s an all aisle access cabin) and is a very nice place spend a flight.
As with all Business Class cabins which share this cabin layout and these types of seats, some of the Dreamliner’s Business Class seats are preferable to others.
The seats on either side of the aircraft alternate between being open to the aisle and being close to the window and, as you should be able to see from the images below, the seats closest to the windows are considerably more private.
In the case of the center seats, one seat is always more open to the aisle than the other – in the image below the seat on the left has less privacy than the seat on the right as there is very little between it and the aisle.
This is even clearer when the aisle-side seat is viewed from behind…
…and when you take a closer look at the seat on the right where there’s a ledge and storage between the seat and the aisle.
Don’t misunderstand me, all the seats in the Qantas 787-9 Dreamliner’s Business Class cabin will be comfortable – just some will be more comfortable than others.
As I always say when I find awards available for long-haul Business Class cabins on short-haul routes, I don’t think 22,000 Avios/25,000 Miles is a fantastic deal…but it isn’t a terrible deal either.
I should point out that Qantas also operates its A330-200 aircraft on the Sydney – Auckland route which offers a very similar Business Class cabin to the Dreamliner….but you can fly the Qantas A330’s on short-haul routes most days of the week while finding the Dreamliner on such a route is rare.
Qantas isn’t going to roll out the full international red carpet treatment for these Dreamliner flights but you’ll still be booking a great Business Class cabin and, considering one-way Business Class fares between Sydney and Auckland (for December – March) go for around $400, the value proposition isn’t bad (~1.36 cents/Avios).
If I needed to fly between Sydney and Auckland while the Dreamliner was operating the route I’d probably consider booking one of these awards. How about you?