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Jetstar's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner touches down next Wednesday

By David Flynn     Filed under: Jetstar, Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Australia's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner will land in Melbourne on Wednesday, marking the beginning of a new chapter for Jetstar and its parent Qantas.

The Boeing 787-8 is due to depart from Seattle's Paine Field Airport, adjacent to Boeing's 787 facility, on Monday October 7th at 11am, US Pacific time (5am Tuesday, Sydney time).

On board will be Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, Jetstar CEO Jayne Hrdlicka and a select group of airline analysts and media (including Australian Business Traveller).

Carrying the special flight number of JQ7878 the Dreamliner will reach Honolulu at 1.40pm (10.40am Sydney), where crew and passengers will spend the night, including Qantas' delivery flight tradition of sunset cocktails and a 'surf'n'turf' dinner.

Honolulu will also be one of Jetstar's Boeing 787 destinations, although the airline has not yet confirmed the Dreamliner's launch routes.

Click here to track Jetstar's first Boeing 787 delivery flight on FlightAware (note that the flight will be identified as JST7878 but won't appear until the Dreamliner is in the air.)

At 5.30am Tuesday, Honolulu time (2.30am Sydney) JQ7878 will be wheels-up and winging its way towards Australia on the final leg of its 13,200km delivery flight.

The Dreamliner is due to touch down in Melbourne at 1.05pm on Wednesday to a traditional water cannon salute, followed by a welcome ceremony at Jetstar's Hangar 141 featuring Victorian State Premier Denis Napthine and hundreds of Jetstar staff.

Australians will get their first chance to fly the next-gen jetliner in November, when Jetstar will roster the Boeing 787 onto selected but as-yet-unrevealed domestic routes as part of a 'bedding down' phase before moving to the start of full international services in December.

Each of Jetstar's Boeing 787-8 aircraft will pack 335 travellers from tip to tail, with 21 business class seats and 314 in economy.

Arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration with a 38 inch pitch, the business class seats are generous recliners rather than angled flat-beds.

Each includes a 10.6 inch touchscreen display, AC power socket and USB port.

The slimline economy seats are ranked in a 3-3-3 layout with a 31-32 inch pitch. Each traveller gets their own 9 inch touchscreen and USB port, with an AC power outlet located between every two seats.

Read: First look – Jetstar's Boeing 787 Dreamliner business, economy seats

Jetstar has 14 of Boeing's first generation 787-8 Dreamliners on order to replace the low-cost carrier's international Airbus A330s, which will be handed down to Qantas so that the Flying Kangaroo can replace its ageing fleet of Boeing 767s.

By 2015 Jetstar will boast an 'all 787' long-range international fleet, while from 2016 Jetstar and Qantas will have the option to buy up to 50 of the 787-8 and stretched 787-9 Dreamliners.

Read: Qantas, Jetstar and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner – what you need to know

David Flynn will travel to Seattle and return on Jetstar's Boeing 787 delivery flight as a guest of Qantas and Boeing.


About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 4/10/13 by PLATY

For a virtual flutter, try Denpasar and Phuket as initial destinations...

2 on 4/10/13 by KG

Just out of curiousity, how many people will be onboard this delivery flight David? Will you be in Star Class or down the back? Looking forward to your report!

1 on 4/10/13 by 444desiro

According to the Itinerary, it's 'Starter Max' Fare, not Business! ;)

1 on 4/10/13 by KG

Hahaha, wonder if that is the actual itinerary of David!

1 on 4/10/13 by David

Yep, that's my itinerary in the picture!

1 on 4/10/13 by 444desiro

Hope you didn't have to pay to upgrade to the 'Max' fare David!

2 on 4/10/13 by David

KG: about a dozen media (including crews from ch 7, 9 and 10) plus a half-dozen analysts, I believe. So no way will we all fit into business class... I think we might have to take turns on each leg of the flight!

3 on 4/10/13 by GD

Is there any truth in the comments I heard recently that, due to the combination of the engines JQ selected and the number of seats they have crammed in (314 in Y), these jets won't actually make the jump to Honolulu fully booked?

1 on 4/10/13 by moa999

Don't think there was a 4-engine option :-)

Unliklely with a stated 8000nm range it is not much below the 747 which makes it across the Pacific.

Indeed suggestions have been that it should make PAE-MEL on low loads, but the stop in HNL is more for publicity and may reflect one of the routes to be announced.

1 on 8/10/13 by GD

Haha, thanks for the reply moa - I didnt see this option either!

I do realise how absurd my question sounds and I promise I did some reading before posting it.

As per Boeing's website, the 8000nm range is based on seating 210-250 pax. No doubt these numbers are somewhat understated, but I will be interested to see what happens to the range once JQ has squeezed in up to 100 more bodies (335 mentioned above) + luggage. We'll wait and see.

I completely agree that on low loads these (and other modern) jets are incredibly capable. I vaguely recall one of the new DJ 330s breaking some sort of record for its non-stop delivery flight from Toulouse last year... 

4 on 4/10/13 by Freqtraveller

From a business traveller perspective, I think Qantas has made a big mistake in giving its low cost airline subsidiary first ranking priority in its overall fleet renewal plan. The A330 and 747 planes that QF currently uses to service most of its Australia to Asia flights (with the exception of SYD-HKG on certain days) are certainly below par compared to its other competitors. I now find myself switching to CX and SQ for my Asian trips for a better experience at the same or cheaper price. JQ's "business class" seat on the new 787 looks like a complete joke. Even Air Asia X "business class" has lie-flat seats - so why can't JQ at least try to match its main rival in this region?

1 on 4/10/13 by AirRhodesia

I agree, Air Asia X's business class seats would definitely be more comfortable. I don't think Jetstar's new business class seats will win Skytrax's "World's Best Low-Cost Airline Premium Seat" sadly...

2 on 4/10/13 by AirRhodesia

It is better than Scoot's though

3 on 5/10/13 by moa999

All about pitch... with greater density Jetstar should be able to price its "business class" seats much lower.

On the day flights up to Asia I don't care about beds, on the (generally) overnight back however it does become more important.

As for the QF A330s - agree they are below par now, this will change with the new seats, albeit that rollout is still, for some unknown reason, 12 months away.

1 on 5/10/13 by watson374

I've said this before but I'll say it again. Yes, it sucks. But from the business point of view (as opposed to the Business point of view -see what I did there?) which airline needs to take advantage of the lower operating cost? JQ. Why? Because it's a low-fare carrier; you pay more to QF so they can afford a more expensive plane. The logic is a bit perverse, I admit, but it does make a bit of sense.

Personally I think this entire fiasco was well and truly avoidable if the signs had been seen, and a good chunk of A330s leased to arrive in about 2009 for eight-year terms (or so).

1 on 5/10/13 by watson374

With regard to the premium seating, it's worth pointing out that its other rival, Scoot, has made no attempt to introduce a lie-flat product. The long-haul LCC standard is still the old standard - 38" pitch, reclines, a bit wider. Sounds perfectly adequate for a day service out, but the return redeyes from DPS, SIN and the like will likely be brutal.

Oh well.

5 on 4/10/13 by Alvin

Is the 7878 of the code number just a numerical way of saying "787-8"?


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