Qantas Tips the Balance of Luxury and Economy
Qantas airlines has revealed its next generation of Premium Economy seats. The airline first introduced Premium Economy with its A380 aircraft in 2008. With other airlines soon following suit. Qantas later rolled Premium Economy out onto their Boeing 747s, and are now looking at updating existing Premium Economy cabins.
Firmly Seated at the Top
The new seats are set to debut on the airline’s fleet of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners from October 2017. The seats are wider, with more functional space. And when you recline, several sections shift to support your body as you move into a more relaxing position. They are different from anything else in its class, offering comfort through design elements not seen before on aircraft.
Based on a prototype by Thompson Aero Seating, the seat has also been heavily customised by David Caon. David is a leading Australian industrial designer who has worked on the interiors of Qantas’s Airbus A380s. He was also responsible for refurbishment of the airline’s fleet of Boeing 717s and Boeing 737s. Additionally, he has designed some of Qantas’s International lounges including Hong Kong and Singapore.
The Qantas 787 Dreamliner will seat 236 passengers across three classes. The 787s will have a 1-2-1 layout with 42 seats in the business class cabin and 166 in economy. The airline points out this is a less cramped configuration than many other airlines use for the aircraft. With a more typical Dreamliner 787-9 carrying more than 300 passengers.
The first of eight Dreamliners will be delivered in October this year. And the airlines first international 787 services will take flight in December. The flights will be between Melbourne and Los Angeles. Then in March of 2018, flights between Perth and London will begin. This will be the first time in aviation history that Australia will directly link with Europe.
What Dreams Are Made of
Qantas truly believes the new Premium Economy seat will not disappoint. However, there are a number of other new customised design elements the airline hopes will set the benchmark for economy class:
- Improved aisle access for middle seat passengers
- Seats that are 10% wider than Qantas’s existing Premium Economy (and as wide as Business Class on other airlines)
- Increased seat recline
- An ergonomically designed headrest that can also be fitted with a specially designed pillow
- A re-engineered footrest that significantly increases comfort when reclining
- 30% increase in meal table surface area—with a dedicated cocktail table
- 25% larger, high-definition Panasonic inflight entertainment seatback screens
- Five individual storage compartments
- Two USB charging points per seat as well as shared AC power
- A personal LED light designed to minimise disturbance of other passengers
The airline has focused on making each cabin the most comfortable in its class. The Business Suite has even been dubbed ‘mini First Class’ by some Frequent Flyers. While the Economy seat for the Dreamliner has features that other airlines reserve for Premium Economy. Boasting larger seats, more legroom and better food than standard economy, Premium Economy is still a popular choice. Especially for passengers on long haul flights who don’t wish to spend the money for a high-priced business class seat.