Qantas’ first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner has touched down in Sydney. VH-ZNA, named “Great Southern Land”, arrived last Friday after its delivery flight from Seattle with a stop in Honolulu.

The first Dreamliner will begin its flying career conducting domestic crew familiarisation flights. These flights are designed for crew training and to iron out any unforeseen problems with the aircraft before its long-haul debut on the Melbourne-Los Angeles route in mid-December. The aircraft will eventually also fly non-stop from Perth to London from March 2018.

The aircraft’s first commercial flight is currently scheduled as QF775 from Melbourne to Perth on 3 November. However, this is subject to change. Between 6 November and 14 December, the aircraft will mostly operate on the Melbourne-Perth and Melbourne-Sydney routes.

Initial reviews of the aircraft have been largely positive. The Qantas Dreamliner is fitted with 42 Business, 28 Premium Economy and 166 Economy seats. The Business seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration, are almost identical to those installed on Qantas’ refurbished Airbus A330 aircraft. The key difference is that the divider between the two middle seats can now be adjusted. The newly-designed Premium Economy seats, touted by Qantas as “revolutionary”, are in a 2-3-2 layout.

Our member pjm99au attended the 787 Open Day on Sunday and gave the new seats a test run. They found the Premium Economy seats to be very comfortable when reclined, although the leg room could be a little better. It seems that passengers in a middle or window seat will not be able to get out without disturbing the passenger on the aisle.

Great [Premium Economy] seats but the pitch isn’t great. Very comfortable in the recline position

The bulkhead seats in both Economy and Premium Economy have generous legroom.

Whether the Economy seats will be comfortable for a long-haul flight remains to be seen. Economy has a tight 3-3-3 layout. This means the Economy seats will have the same width as Jetstar, Qantas’ low-cost subsidiary which has already been flying the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner for four years. But the legroom is greater, and pjm99au did not seem to think this would be a problem…

Very comfortable and the seat pitch is good when the seat in front is not reclined. For reference I’ve shrunk to 5’10. The distance between middle of arm rest to middle of arm rest is 19”. Didn’t feel tight but the armrests are narrow

Some members are not convinced and have vowed to avoid flying on this aircraft, at least in Economy…

With the arrival of the first QF 789 into SYD yesterday, QF will soon be serving up their ‘luxury’ short haul 737 Y experience to their long haul 789 Y pax. The new 789 Y seat width is less than that offered on the current QF A330 and A380 medium/long haul fleet and the increased Y seat pitch now only equals competing airlines (SQ, VA 77W etc).

Share your opinion on the Dreamliner, and check out photos of the new aircraft HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]