Qantas will be taking delivery of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in October, and will be deploying it on the first ever non-stop “Kangaroo Route” between Perth (PER) and London (LHR). Qantas is excited about the aircraft, and even rolled out a new logo and new livery to celebrate it.
At the time, Qantas unveiled the Economy and Business Class seats that will be installed on the 787-9. However, they kept the Premium Economy seat under wraps, saying that it would be a revolutionary product that wouldn’t be unveiled until 2017.
The current Premium Economy seats are designed by Marc Newson and built by Recaro. They are not exactly groundbreaking, though do offer extra legroom, width, and recline compared to Economy. Premium Economy passengers on Qantas receive an elevated dining experience, with a menu inspired by Neil Perry, and feature tableware also designed by Marc Newson. Qantas also provides an amenity kit to Premium Economy passengesr, which include a dental kit, socks, and eyeshades.
Well, it looks like we finally get a glimpse as to how revolutionary these seats are. Qantas has unveiled their new Premium Economy product, which will debut on the Dreamliner starting December 2017. The 787-9 will feature a Premium Economy cabin with 28 seats, in a 2-3-2 configuration. Qantas will be flying that plane between Melbourne (MEL) and Los Angeles (LAX) in December 2017, and then between Perth (PER) and London (LHR) in March 2018.
The new seat is almost 10% wider than the current Premium Economy product, with even more recline. The headrest was specifically designed to accommodate a real pillow, which I think will greatly enhance sleep quality. On the technology front, each seat will have 2 USB charging ports, as well as an in-flight entertainment screen that is 25% larger than the current product. Unfortunately, passengers won’t get their own AC power outlet, and will instead have to share it with their seat mate.
To be honest, the seat doesn’t look all that exciting. Qantas has seriously hyped up the product leading up to its announcement, but it doesn’t really have a “wow factor” at first glance. That’s ironic, because that’s exactly how Qantas CEO Alan Joyce described the new seat:
This new Premium Economy seat has serious wow factor. You have to experience how well it supports you when you recline to realise it’s completely different from anything else in its class. When you combine these seats with the increased cabin humidity and turbulence reducing technology on the Dreamliner, it makes it an aircraft customers will really enjoy flying on.
But perhaps Joyce is right—there is much more than what the first glance may suggest. Unlike most other Premium Economy products, which are largely just wider seats with more legroom and more incline, these Qantas Premium Economy seats appear to recline a bit different. Specifically, not only is the seat back moving, but the seat cushion itself actually tilts up to cradle the passenger. This Z-position is significantly more comfortable for sleeping, because you wouldn’t constantly feel like you are about to slide off the seat; I can even see myself getting some quality snooze in it.
What do you think of Qantas’ new Premium Economy product?