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Recline During Take-off, Tinted Windows & More on Qantas’ New Dreamliner

“This is another historic moment for us in the Qantas family.”

This past weekend, Qantas invited several frequent fliers and new product enthusiasts to the Qantas hanger at LAX to introduce Great Southern Land, their newest Boeing 787-900*. I had an opportunity to climb aboard before it took its maiden flight from Los Angeles back to Melbourne later that evening, and this is what we saw:


Martin Peat Walking Us Through Photo: FlyerTalk

You Can Recline From Take-Off Through Landing

“No longer do we have that case where you have to sit bolted upright at 11 pm at night when you’re trying to fall asleep. You can actually recline the seat and start to get a bit of a rest before we head off,” says Martin Peat, the Qantas Marketing representative showing us all around the plane.

This new update is available in the 42 seats in Business Economy (split between two cabins) and comes thanks to a sash seatbelt that keeps everyone in place and within regulation whether they’re upright or reclining.

In fact, most of the upgrades in the business suites seem designed to help you catch more z’s. The beds (modeled off of Qantas’ a330 and current 747 suites and 31-inches long each) feature all new bedding that can be turned down (they’ll make up the bed, put the mattress on and set the pillow) by flight attendants when you head off to change for bed.

Each seat also comes with a do not disturb function (the light on the side of the cabin turns red when it’s on) so you won’t be bothered for food or beverage service when you’re trying to sleep. And the tea service and probiotic juice shot on offer are “all been designed by the Charles Perkins center with the University of Sydney to help you get a restful night’s sleep for making the long journey to and from the U.S. and Australia.”


Ergonomic Reclining in Premium Economy

While there’s no lying flat in the 28 seats in premium economy, there is “articulated reclining.” That means that the back doesn’t just recline (9.5 inches, 38″ pitch) but the seat also shifts forward ergonomically. There’s also a calf and a leg rest (extended via a button under the screen) underneath the seat in front of you.

The seats, said Peat, are designed to “stop any pressure points from building up on your body so you don’t end up with that soreness on the back of your knees or the back of your calves. It’s unique to Qantas. The feedback we’ve had has been excellent.”
And, while we didn’t have the opportunity to test it out during the journey from Los Angeles to Melbourne when you spend a few minutes in it, it does feel like you’re getting more recline when the seat goes back and the seat pushes forward.

The Meals in Economy Are 30% Larger

Not that there’s any chance of going hungry on a Qantas flight (in addition to meals, Qantas flights offer intermittent snack service and a self-service bar) but Qantas tried to add a few perks in economy on a plane that seemed to concentrate its upgrades in other service classes.
Still, the 166 seats in this class, even if they don’t lie flat or articulate, do recline 6 inches (32″ seat pitch).

And with new ovens on board that have and steam settings (“we can serve dishes onboard that they haven’t been able to create”) and a menu designed by Master Chef Neil Perry, the food on this flight is something to look forward to.

Other Little Things

Overall, there are a lot of new perks in this product: a tray to hold your iPad or phone underneath your screen (plus USB and standard outlets), cotton pillows that attach to your seat (at least in Premium Economy), direct-dial access on the seats, windows that tint to block out the sun without a shade and even a bassinet designed to allow infants to lie-flat during takeoff and landing as well.

Bassinett and Pillows that attach to the headrest in Premium Economy

More Things to Come

These aircrafts — Great Southern Land, Waltzing Matilda and two more aircraft coming in late January/February whose names will remain a secret until they arrive — will go “from Los Angeles where they will be maintained on to Melbourne, across to Perth, then from Perth to London in a massive ‘u’ shape across the globe.” A Melbourne to San Francisco Route will also be coming at the end of next year.

Qantas is also planning a retrofit to their A380s coming “in 2019” which will put Premium Economy and business upstairs and economy and first class downstairs to double the number of seats on the plane.


What do you think of the new 787-900? Let us know in the comments.

*OK, technically their second-newest. The first Boeing 787-900, Waltzing Matilda, arrived in Sydney roughly 48 hours earlier.


Comments are Closed.
markis10 December 19, 2017

Huh Qantas is also planning a retrofit to their A380s coming “in 2019” which will put Premium Economy and business upstairs and economy and first class downstairs to double the number of seats on the plane Double seats, don’t think so. And what is “Direct dial access on the seats”

steverobbins December 19, 2017

When an individual starts a new pursuit, he/she does not have all the answers, nor all the questions to make them proficient. If the person to whom you pose a question, whether basic or advanced, chooses to belittle the the person who asked the question, the insult only feeds the twisted ego of the responder and discourages the other individual from future learning and growth. All of us share a certain degree of knowledge. This knowledge was acquired, not inbred. Ignore the bully for he/she has missed an excellent opportunity to shut up.

December 19, 2017

'Lie flat' for take off? I SERIOUSLY doubt this is correct. One of the requirements for take off and landing is that you can adopt the brace position. This can not be done if you are fully reclined - sash belt or not. I think the reality is you can be in a SLIGHTLY reclined position for take off and landing. But nowhere near flat or even angled flat. Steam ovens? Have been on aircraft for almost ten years now. The 380 and dreamliner have had then since their inception.