The inaugural QF10 service from London to Perth takes off
The inaugural QF10 service from London to Perth takes off

AFF moderator JessicaTam did a LOT of flying over the weekend! After flying from Melbourne to London on Qantas’ final A380 service via Dubai, she then flew straight back to Melbourne after just 24 hours in the UK. But this wasn’t just any flight back to Australia; it was the inaugural non-stop Qantas Dreamliner service from London to Perth!

With Business class sold out on this flight, she endured the 17-hour flight from London to Perth in Economy. Initial Qantas Dreamliner reviews have been mixed. So how was JessicaTam‘s Economy class experience on board Qantas flight QF10?

In a word: Terrible.

There were some positives about the flight. The in-flight entertainment is great, and there are some handy storage areas around the seat. The crew were also excellent.

The staff were terrific. I received a WP welcome, which was as genuine as I have received. They were particularly interested (and impressed) that I was doing the double.

Sadly, that’s where the positive feedback ends. The meals are described as “very plain”, and it seems there weren’t enough meals either. (At least there is a snack bar on board the Dreamliner.)

There are some benefits to flying the Dreamliner. As well as the improved cabin humidity, it’s a very quiet plane. So quiet, in fact, that passengers seated near the toilets can hear them every time they are flushed. Noise-cancelling headphones would be a good thing to bring on board.

The major criticism is the Economy seat. The seats are simply not wide enough for an average-sized adult to sit comfortably for 17 hours.

The seat is too narrow. Whilst I am tall, I am not particularly large. I was sitting next to someone who was also not ‘oversized’. We could not sit flat against the seat back side by side as our shoulders wanted to fill the same space. I spent the entire flight sitting at a slight angle so I wasn’t leaning into the aisle. Speaking of the aisle, I was bumped continuously during the flight, even though I was within the confines of my seat.

With 32 inches of seat pitch, the Qantas Dreamliner Economy seats do have more legroom than most Economy seats. But they’re also narrower than most Economy seats at just 17 inches wide. It’s true that most operators of the Dreamliner have opted for the same configuration with 9 seats per row instead of 8. (Japan Airlines is a notable exception.) But most airlines are not using these planes to fly non-stop from Australia to Europe.

Qantas 787-9 Economy Seats
Qantas 787-9 Economy Seats

Most of the passengers on QF10 left in Perth, but the flight does continue to Melbourne after a 90-minute layover. JessicaTam was one of just 36 passengers continuing to Melbourne and was able to check out the brand new Perth international transit lounge. Here she also bumped into comedian Adam Hills, who was on the same flight from London to Perth (but not in Economy). After enduring 17 hours in a narrow Economy seat, our member enquired about a points upgrade on the final leg to Melbourne. The answer was “no”…

When I asked in LHR about upgrading the second leg they said you have to do that in Perth. When I asked in Perth I was told it was too late and I should have done it in London. Grr.

Having flown Economy on the A380 to London and the Boeing 787 back to Melbourne, JessicaTam‘s verdict is clear:

I am sorry Qantas, but the seat on the 787 is too narrow. You have made a mistake going 9 across. You would have been better off having them wider (8 across) so losing a column of 20 seats but closer together (pitch) and gaining a row of 8. So a net loss of 12 seats for a much better ride.

I flew the A380 the day before with greater width and smaller pitch. It was much more comfortable.

I won’t be flying QF longhaul Y in a 787 again. I am actually not looking forward to my MEL-PER flight next month. (But I do have the F lounge to help!) And I wouldn’t recommend anyone else does, either.

Ouch.

Read JessicaTam‘s trip report and join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Madness: Last QF9 A380, First QF10 B787

Qantas Boeing 787-9 Economy Class
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Summary

The Qantas Boeing 787-9 Economy seats are too narrow for such a long flight. If you’re thinking about travelling on QF10 from London to Perth or Melbourne, you’d be better off flying in Premium Economy or Business… or on a different airline.

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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]