I Unexpectedly Flew QANTAS' 787 Dreamliner: Just Hype Or A Dream Come True?

Last night after a few days of R&R with the family in Melbourne I flew back to Sydney. To my surprise QANTAS had its brand spanking new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner servicing the route. 

If you’ve been living under a rock you may not know that QANTAS recently took delivery of the new bird and it’s soon to be the aircraft of choice between Melbourne and LA. It’s also due to service domestic routes within Australia with the new aircraft likely to replace the now older and outdated Boeing 747-400. 

Whilst many of us are sad to see the 747 go, the Dreamliner is a massive step up and a welcome change.

So what did I think?

Having flown the Dreamliner to San Francisco recently with United and Cape Town with Qatar Airways, the ‘Oh My Freaking God’ had worn off a touch, but I was still keen to see David Caon’s work on the new premium economy seats and business class. 

Let’s start with premium economy (because it’s where I was seated)

I found myself in 20A in the bulkhead. The seat is nice and wide and feels like the normal business class seat on QANTAS 737 which often services domestic routes in Australia. 

The seat has been finished in charcoal fabric and the tray tables are beech finished. The cabin is nice and small too. There are only 35 seats in the premium economy section and this would arguably make it a nicer and quieter place for a long haul flight. The new LCD TV screens are easier to get in and out, but the tray table however took a little more effort. Charging my devices from the seat was no issues too, with USB charing nearby as well as headphone storage. 

On the all important recline, the chair is not electric like the business class lie-flat beds, rather it’s the old school push and slide. Legroom was ample, again much like the business class in the QANTAS 737. 

The entertainment system menu has had an upgrade too. It’s now more intuitive and there was no shortage of Family Guy to keep me occupied for the hour long flight. 

The service was much the same as any other QANTAS flight, however you get the feeling the staff are quite excited about the new plane. The customer service manager even came over to say hello and offer me a large portable leg rest…sadly my legs were too long. It was perfect for the petit gentlelady next to me though.

The other bits

  • I didn’t get a chance to sit in the economy seats but I can tell you the 3-3-3 formation will unfortunately suck if you’re stuck in the middle.
  • Overhead storage was much the same as the A330. If you’re in the economy cabin it always pays to get on early so you’re not the dumb schmuck asking for some place to put your bag when the overhead bins are full. 
  • The business class was surprisingly half empty and to be honest it’s much the same as the QANTAS A330 Business Suite 1-2-1 format. It does feel like QANTAS have upped the privacy for each seat which is a welcome addition. 
  • The much larger windows make the window seat all the more important to grab and improved cabin pressure ensures you feel more refreshed after the flight – yes, even after one hour. 

With all the hoopla surrounding the new 787, it’s hard to say whether it’s a better experience or just hype. I’m happy to say I think it’s a better experience; there’s more room and there’s nothing quite like new plane smell.

See below for a few snaps which I took with my iPhone X.

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