Qantas has announced that it will fly Boeing 747 jumbo jets to Honolulu over the Australian summer period. The move sees the introduction of Premium Economy on the Sydney-Honolulu route, as well as a huge increase in the number of Business class seats available to Hawaii.
Qantas will fly Boeing 747s to Hawaii from 7 December 2018 until the end of April 2019. This covers the peak Christmas, summer holiday and Easter holiday periods where demand is high.
Qantas’ 5x weekly Sydney-Honolulu route is currently served by Airbus A330-300 aircraft with 28 Business class and 269 Economy seats. The upgrade to the Boeing 747 will see only one extra Economy seat made available per flight. But the number of Business class seats available will more than double to 58 seats.
The Boeing 747s to Hawaii also have 36 Premium Economy seats, opening more options for Qantas customers seeking to fly in a premium cabin. Premium Economy fares from Sydney to Honolulu are currently starting at $1,756 return. This is comparable to Jetstar’s Business class fares.
Qantas’ flights to Hawaii are typically very full – especially in Business class. So the upgrade to a larger aircraft with more premium seats is great news for frequent flyers hoping to score an upgrade using Qantas points. More premium cabin seating means more opportunities to upgrade. There is also a chance Qantas may start releasing Premium Economy or Business class award availability to Hawaii – something it currently doesn’t do.
The increase in the number of Business seats does come at a cost, unfortunately. The Boeing 747 Business class seats aren’t quite as good as the modern A330 Business suites, which offer direct aisle access to all Business class passengers.
It is widely anticipated that the A330s being withdrawn from the Sydney-Honolulu route will be redeployed on Qantas’ new Perth-Johannesburg route. The new flights to Johannesburg are set to start on 7 December 2018, but Qantas is yet to announce any details.
There are various other changes to Qantas’ North American routes coming in December. Qantas will upgrade Tuesday’s QF11/12 service between Sydney and Los Angeles to an Airbus A380 (currently a Boeing 747), and increase the service frequency between Sydney and San Francisco to daily. Meanwhile, Sydney-Dallas services will be reduced from daily to 6x weekly from February next year.
Qantas has also announced increases to services from Sydney to Manila and Osaka. At the same time, Qantas’ daily Sydney-Beijing flights will be cut back to 5x weekly from October.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: QF announce 744’s going from LAX, HNL to go all 744, other changes