Qantas Will Begin Flying 787 Between Brisbane & New York (Via Los Angeles)

Qantas is in the process of refreshing their longhaul fleet, as the airline takes delivery of eight new Boeing 787-9 aircraft. The airline already has three of them in their fleet, and by the end of 2018 will have a total of eight 787-9s. The rest of their widebody fleet consists of 747s, A330s, and A380s, though they plan on retiring the 747s in the coming years.


Qantas A380

Qantas has already scheduled a few longhaul 787 routes:

Qantas has now formally announced their next longhaul 787 route, which they’ve hinted at before. Specifically, as of September 1, 2018, Qantas will operate daily Boeing 787 flights from Brisbane to Los Angeles to New York. This is a route that was previously operated by a 747, so the aircraft change represents a significant capacity reduction, though at least in business class, a big improvement in terms of the onboard product.

Qantas’ Los Angeles to New York route is interesting. While you can’t fly Qantas exclusively between Los Angeles and New York, you can connect from any of their services from Australia to this flight.

The 787 flight will operate with the following schedule:

QF15 Brisbane to Los Angeles departing 10:20AM arriving 6:00AM
QF11 Los Angeles to New York departing 8:20AM arriving 4:40PM

QF12 New York to Los Angeles departing 6:10PM arriving 9:00PM
QF16 Los Angeles to Brisbane departing 11:25PM arriving 6:10AM (+2 days)

Then as of December 1, 2018, there will be an additional 4x weekly flight between Los Angeles and Brisbane that’s operated by a 787-9, as follows:

QF55 Brisbane to Los Angeles departing 5:50PM arriving 1:30PM

QF56 Los Angeles to Brisbane departing 9:05PM arriving 5:00AM (+2 days)

In terms of the experience you can expect on the 787-9, Qantas has these planes in a pretty premium heavy configuration, with a total of 236 seats. This includes 42 business class seats, 28 premium economy seats, and 166 economy class seats. The business class seats are based on the Vantage XL seat, meaning there’s direct aisle access from every seat.

qantas-787-business-class-2
Qantas 787 business class

As a point of comparison, the 747 features 364 seats, so on a per plane basis we’re looking at a pretty significant capacity reduction.

Since this change represents an overall capacity reduction, unfortunately I’m not really seeing any premium cabin award space, which is a shame. So this is more interesting in terms of knowing the onboard product you can expect than anything else.

Comments

  1. Does this mean the better 9-abreast economy service between Brisbane and Los Angeles will hands down be Virgin Australia on the 777?

  2. Lucky. Do you think this means any hopes of Qantas to Seattle are gone? Is this new route the new US based route that was teased a few months ago and that people speculated would be Seattle?

  3. On a more positive note though, the 90 min turn at JFK of a much smaller plane will likely improve the delays of the famously always-late JFK-LAX service (formerly QF108, or as we like to call it, QF 1-oh-late, thanks to the 55 min turn.).

  4. I am not a big fan of the new QF J seat. Too much of your body goes under the arm rest in front. The current long haul J seat has lots of space between seats so no really much of your feet/legs under the seat in front.

    I don’t see a issue with non-direct aisle on the current J seat – as it is easy to just step over the aisle passenger. When recline to lie flat mode, the seat goes low to the floor – so easy to step over.

  5. @ Randy – A little restriction in foot space (which I didn’t detect at all) is worth not having to spend 15 hours in a seat that’s no more private than domestic first class.

  6. Sad to see the queen retire. I often see QF 12 flying over my house on its way to LAX from JFK. The very identifiable com trail of the massive queen easy to spot.

  7. This is exciting. I can’t wait to try this J seat, since you can recline and sleep from take-off all the way to landing!! I’m surprised Lucky hasn’t talked about that feature that much.

  8. So happy I jumped on the recent SFO-MEL J award space that opened up. Australia/Fiji here I come. Fiji AIrways in J return for $1250 allowed for a bargain premium class round trip.

  9. Hey Lucy, couple of tweaks to your article:
    • on Sept 1 when the route changes to a 787, QF will be flying a 747 3x a week as QF55/56 to maintain capacity. On Dec 1, QF will switch those flights to the 787 with 1 additional service again maintaining capacity.
    •When MEL-SFO begins, MEL-LAX service reduces from 6 weekly services on the 787, not 9

    Worth noting that on Dec 1, QFs 747 fleet will solely be scheduled on services from SYD until they are retired.

    ORD is all but pretty much confirmed as the next destination for QF as they have quietly been recruiting for sales positions in Chicago 🙂

  10. Anyone know what happens to the existing QF11 / 12 out of Sydney? Still an A380 with new flight no. that connects to the 787?

  11. Curious to know how this is operationally or financially more viable than just using AA connector feeds to NY. Is it for presence of the Red ‘Roo in New York? Are there actual cost savings to be had by using QF metal all the way, despite having to stop at LAX but with no pick-up rights?

  12. @AdamR: Curious to know how this is operationally or financially more viable than just using AA connector feeds to NY. Is it for presence of the Red ‘Roo in New York? Are there actual cost savings to be had by using QF metal all the way, despite having to stop at LAX but with no pick-up rights?

    I have the same question. Plus assuming a significant proportion of the pax are LAX -bound, the plane couldn’t be going that full.

    Why not just have the flight link to the closest AA flagship service to JFK? Or is it too many passengers?

  13. @AdamR & @adi_T – One of the main factors is Aussies travel & are 99.9% more likely to fly an Aussie carrier compared to a US one, so QF is only listening to what the Australian market want.

  14. @PVM: That may be so, but the long-haul portion *would* be on Aussie metal. And that’s the part that’s inarguably the most important, especially since domestic Australian and American flights are pretty similar in terms of hard product. I just don’t see how this makes any financial sense. And I highly doubt QF are willing to lose money just so Australians can fly QF planes. If that were true, they’d never have attempted that JV with AA in the first place.

  15. Does this mean that QF passengers flying BNE-JFK do not need to collect their bags and go through security again as it is the same aircraft? So passengers just need to go through the transit lane back into the airport? If so then this would be a great solution!

  16. @ QAVAFlyer — Nope, you still have to go through immigration and collect bags, since passengers from multiple flights will be using the LAX-JFK tag.

  17. As a Brissy girl living on the west coast, happy to see this – especially the second flight that gets in early afternoon

  18. @AdamR
    American Airlines may be the world’s largest carrier, but they are insignificant in Australia and generally have a poor reputation here (though AA 777-300 J seat is lovely). Plus, I don’t think American Domestic is anywhere near Qantas domestic (ie we get lounge access in business here, don’t pay for baggage, get some kind of ‘food’)

    QF flies to New York, because its a network carrier and there is demand for them to do so. Back during after the GFC, they dropped the frequency of this tag and at also later swapped it for an A330. But, they have keep flying it. They are also keen to fly it non-stop from Australia in the future, so they must think it is important to keep.

    QF has a large percentage of Australian corporate accounts and I’d suggest there would be some demand for travel to NYC from them. And whilst they could pour them over to AA, why pass your customer onto another airline, when you can fly them yourself? And whilst QF may not fill a 747 between LAX and JFK, AA A321 may not have enough capacity to cover the QF passengers. The 787 should ‘right size’ the seats for QF on this route.

    Also, the majority of flights in Australia are timed to arrive in the early hours at LAX, to allow onward connections. Then, they normally don’t leave til late at night, to allow for connections from the rest of North American and to enable morning arrival into Australia. So, if the 787 didn’t fly onto JFK, it would sit on the ground all day at LA. Whilst QF is using this ground time ‘productively’ (they built a hanger at LA to conduct maintenance), they clearly think there is a buck to made flying to JFK… and then there is freight.

  19. Hi

    Pure curiosity on my part. Is the LAX to JFK segment seen as a domestic flight or international? If domestic, would that mean arriving passengers at LAX have to enter the US and go through immigration? Do arriving passengers have to disembark, clear immigration, clear customs and reboard again (like KLM arriving in Taipei and continuing on to Manila)

    Logically, I suppose it would make sense to treat it as an international flight because the plane will also still be parked at the same gate? US airports always confuse me whether terminals are split between domestic and international terminals like non-US airports.

  20. @wonkachocolat
    You have to go through customs & border protection at LAX (which applies to any pax arriving in the US). You then arrive at JFK as a domestic passenger, though you can’t take this flight as purely a domestic passenger as QF dont have rights (it needs to be part of an international ticket).

    You also need to consider, even without the customs part, that plane has been flying for 13 odd hours and generally the cabin is looking pretty horrible.

    It needs to be cleaned and re-catered as some passengers will get back on, AND new passengers, from the other Qantas flights and stop-overs will join the flight to JFK and probably don’t want to sit in other people’s mess.

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