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Qantas 787 Economy Review: A Very Smooth Ride

A journey of epic proportions, in a pretty decent seat.

Qantas 787 Economy Review: A Very Smooth Ride

Image Credit: Perth Now

On a recent trip home from Europe, I flew home on a Qantas Dreamliner in economy class. Here is a breakdown of my flight, and a review of my seat.

Route: Flight QF2 London to Darwin (and then on to Sydney).
Date: 19th/20th June, 2022.
Aircraft: Qantas is using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner jet, which is comfortably large given the long journey we are about to undertake.
Loyalty Scheme: Qantas Frequent Flyer, part of the OneWorld Alliance
Class: Economy. Seat 52 C
Duration: 16 1/2 hours from London to Darwin. A 2-hour stopover. Final 4 hour, 15 minute flight to Sydney.

Qantas International Check In

Checking in isn’t so bad. There’s a bit of a line in security, but this is to be expected. I get through to the gate with plenty of time. I go to the kiosk near the boarding gate and get a cold Peroni. Life is good. There’s a (muted) TV. I watch an interview between some news outlet and one of Russia’s leaders trying to justify their invasion of Ukraine. It’s surprisingly gripping. I almost want to wait in line longer so I can keep watching. Eventually, we are ushered onto the flight.

Qantas International Baggage Allowance

The usual – one big one for the hold, one small one for the cabin. Check Qantas’ website if you want exact weights.

Taking Off

I sit down, glad to be in an aisle seat (on my journey to Europe I was in a middle seat, trapped next to a guy with little regard for personal space, and who snored). On this flight I’m next to a mum and her son. He seems well behaved and she seems like the sort of person who has good arm rest etiquette. Awesome. I start listening to a podcast, studiously ignoring the safety demonstration and downloading a good supply of music before putting my phone on airplane mode.

Half an hour later, almost half way through my podcast, I look up, puzzled as to why we are yet to move. I shug, switch over to ‘2PAC – THE 5 BEST SONGS EVER’, and continue pretending I don’t exist (how good are noise-cancelling headphones). I get through about three of the songs, and then curiously lift one of the headphones off my ears. Apparently, something went wrong with the engine check so now we have to return to the terminal to check it again. Great. Another reasonably long wait later and we are told the engine is fine, but we have now missed our time slot to fly out.


We wait another half an hour or so, before being shuttled back to the terminal, going through security (with a passport check and everything) and then recollecting our luggage. By this time it’s gone midnight. We return to the check-in desk to await further instructions. We are told to get a taxi to a hotel in Brentford, which Qantas is putting us up in, and come back the next day at 11am (for a 2pm flight).

I do as I’m bid, wait another half an hour or so in line to get a cab, sleep in the hotel, and come back the next morning. I enjoy a free meal voucher courtesy of Qantas and eat some weird vegetarian chicken/tomato pastry things from Caffe Nero. I buy a couple of books and kill time.

Finally, it’s boarding time once again. Take two. This time everything goes smoothly and we take off (more or less) as scheduled. Having said that, due to the airport’s busy schedule, there is still a half an hour or so delay.

In The Air

I enjoy the headrest feature which negates the need for a neck pillow, although unfortunately (probably due to my stupid refusal to ever listen to flight attendant’s takeoff spiels) I don’t realise it’s there until well into the flight. I listen to a bunch of podcasts and a bunch of movies before checking out the in flight entertainment system.

Qantas In-Flight Entertainment System

I watch Notting Hill, and then start to watch Euphoria (I don’t have Binge at home so I figure this is my chance). I end up turning Euphoria off after the first episode because I feel bad the kid a couple of seats down might see it and become corrupted by all the drug and sex scenes. I switch to Succession. I manage to lose my in-flight headphones at some point and can’t be bothered to ask the flight attendants for a new pair. I continue to watch Succession with subtitles.

The Bathrooms

Despite my best efforts to dirty them (joking), they get kept reasonably clean during the flight. I’m not a fan of stuffing my fingers into the bins to make sure all the paper goes down, so I’m one of those selfish bastards who pokes most of it in, but leaves a bit sticking out for the next person. Despite this, the toilets are always pretty clean when I visit.

The Teeth Brushing Experience

I go to the bathroom, only to realise I have forgotten my bottle of water (and I don’t fancy rinsing my teeth in the sink). I then traipse back to my seat and then back to the bathroom, fielding off (as I imagine them) suspicious stares of other passengers who must be imagining I have explosive diarrhea or a restless leg.

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The Seat

The Qantas Dreamliner cabin feels less crowded than my Qatar Airways flight a few weeks prior (it is a 3-3-3 configuration in economy as opposed to Qatar’s 3-4-3 which I flew out on). In terms of seat comfort: it feels more or less the same (though I am very impressed with the built in head rest neck pillow as I am someone who always forgets my neck pillow).

The Sleepless Bit

I try really hard to sleep for a time, to no avail. This is pretty standard for me. I eventually get an hour or two’s kip in, but it’s not exactly REM sleep (more like a knock off H&M).

Hitting ‘The Wall’

You know how marathon runners hit a point in the race where they feel they can’t continue? I have a theory that most people hit this point in a flight. For me it tends to come after I wake up from what I think is a decent sleep, only to realise that there is half the flight (or more) still to go. This happens to me on this flight. But again: pretty standard, and I get the same thing on 14 hour flights to Dubai. So it’s not the end of the world. Back to the podcasts and music I go…

The Food

I always eat the food I’m given on a plane, because I’ve paid for it (and because it helps break up the boredom). I have a suspicion microwave meals don’t agree with my stomach though because it almost always gives me cramps (on basically all airlines). Other than that, the food was very nice; very Qantas.

I can’t remember exactly what I ate, but I think the London to Darwin flight was either chicken or beef with rice, and some lovely snacks. There was also some kind of meal with sausages (and another with polenta) in there too. There is also a handy button on the touch screen so you can remind yourself what the menu options are.


Everyone has to wear a mask.


The flight attendants are all very nice, and very friendly. They also coped very well with the cancelled flight, and put passenger’s minds at ease to the best they could.


I’m still very jetlagged, but I don’t consider that an airline’s responsibility, really.

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Pretty good. Shame about the cancellation though. I guess that can happen on any flight, on any carrier. And at least with Qantas they look after you when things go wrong (it’s not quite so easy when this situation unfolds on you with a budget carrier).

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