Qantas has gone all-out to make its Dreamliner premium economy section feel more like scaled-down business class than scaled-down economy. Passengers sit in a separate 28-seat cabin laid out with two-three-two seats for easier access to the aisles, while the new seats are 10 percent wider than the cushions in the current premium economy design.
A new headrest complete with specially-designed pillow joins a redesigned footrest for better comfort when the seat is reclined, and passengers get to view new Panasonic seat-back entertainment screens that are 25 percent larger than before.
When it announced plans for a more spacious cabin in the Dreamliner 787-9, Qantas placed a real focus on personal storage. Rather than forcing people to keep the collection of water bottles, snack wrappers and chewed pieces of gum they accumulate over the course of a 16-hour international flight with their tablet, book or headphones in the seatback pocket, the new Premium Economy cabin has five separate storage compartments.
Each set also gets two USB charge points, a shared power plug and LED lamp designed to minimize disturbance to nearby passengers. The light could actually be the most significant upgrade – after all, there's nothing worse than trying to sleep while the person next to you goes at the in-flight magazine with a vengance.
"The Qantas Dreamliner will by flying some of the longest routes in the world, including non-stop from Perth to London, so we've focused on making each cabin the most comfortable in its class," says Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO. "This new Premium Economy seat has serious wow factor. You have to experience how well it supports you when you recline to realize it's completely different from anything else in its class."
The new Premium Economy cabin will feature on the Dreamliner 787-9, which enters service on Melbourne to LA flights this December.