Qantas launches Boeing 787 flights for Melbourne-Los Angeles

Qantas launches Boeing 787 flights for Melbourne-Los Angeles

Qantas' first Boeing 787-9 will make its international debut flying between Melbourne and Los Angeles from 15 December 2017, ahead of the start of non-stop Perth-London flights in March 2018.

The Dreamliner flights will operate six days a week as QF95/QF96, taking over from a Boeing 747 and running alongside Qantas' daily Airbus A380 service.

QF95 will depart now Melbourne at 2.25pm every day except Wednesday, to reach Los Angeles at 9.45am.

After spending the day lazing at LAX the red-tailed Dreamliner will be wheels up at 11.35pm every evening bar Tuesday, for a 10.10am arrival into Melbourne.

Tickets for the Boeing 787 flight go on sale December 25, 2016 with travellers will be able to book into 42 business class, 28 premium economy and 166 economy class seats on the advanced jet, which provides a smoother ride and vastly reduces the effects of jetlag due to lower effective cabin altitude and higher humidity levels.

The business class seats (above) are based on Qantas' Airbus A330 Business Suite, but with a sliding panel between the paired middle seats which passengers can pull up for privacy or push down for sociability.

Qantas expects to take delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 in mid-October 2017, with a second slated for early December.

Domestic Boeing 787 flights in November 

But you won't need to fly all the way to LA to experience the Dreamliner, with the factory-fresh jet also being scheduled on a series of domestic runs from November, prior to beginning its international duty.

The east coast 'triangle' routes between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are likely to see the Boeing 787, along with the longer transcontinental trek between these cities and Perth.

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.
 

66 comments

  • Angus  Coventry

    Covo95

    13 Dec, 2016 12:05 pm

    on the website qantas says the flight will run 6 times a week, i guess qantas will have 2 787's by the time they start doing it as its impossible to fly 6 times a week with just one airplane on a route like that. 
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  • David Flynn

    David

    13 Dec, 2016 12:08 pm

    As the article notes, Qantas expects to have two 787s in the hangar by the start of December.
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    13 Dec, 2016 12:09 pm

    This isn't so much as a "replacement" of the 747 MEL-LAX flights as a resumption.
    The current twice weekly QF95/96 is being dropped soon to use the aircraft for MEL-HKG.
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  • RealKid

    RealKid

    13 Dec, 2016 12:14 pm

    I'd be interested to see whether they're going to reveal their "revolutionary" premium economy product before these tickets go on sale.  How much would one be able to divine from the seat map, if and when that goes live along with the ticket sales?
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  • David Flynn

    David

    13 Dec, 2016 12:17 pm

    Not much, the seatmap will likely show only what we already know, which is that it's 28 seats in four rows of 2-3-2... that said, if the seats show any type of angle or staggering, that'll be a hint as to what makes them so 'revolutionary'. :)
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  • Angus  Coventry

    Covo95

    13 Dec, 2016 12:30 pm

    it would be pretty interesting if the premium economy suits are revealed to be angle lie-flat beds
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    13 Dec, 2016 12:54 pm

    On QF's upcoming 789, it would be financially suicidal if the new PY is a 'suite' style product and/or have angle lie-flat seat design.

    Although a dream design for most pax/readers here @ PY fare level, such a product would instantly remove a large chunk of demand for J and as a result, QF's justifications to invest heavily in J suite product across fleet.
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    superflyer

  • Dave

    Grannular

    13 Dec, 2016 01:37 pm

    I tend to disagree. A 2-3-2 angle flat would be a true incentive to pay more from economy on such long flights. However would be a true downgrade from a 1-2-1 lie flat suite.  
    There is also the "revolutionary" tag that AJ keeps touting. Anything that is still a recliner couldn't be claimed as revolutionary 
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  • QFcrew

    QFcrew

    13 Dec, 2016 06:03 pm

    Launch will be Feb/March 17
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  • Serg

    Serg

    13 Dec, 2016 12:17 pm

    My bet that there will be no award seats in J class on 787. Even one year ahead. Business as usual.
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  • log0008

    log0008

    13 Dec, 2016 12:19 pm

    Will this continue to operate when PER-LHR begins? When are the the 3 and 4th dreamlines due to be delivered? 
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  • log0008

    log0008

    13 Dec, 2016 12:41 pm

    To answer my own Question, Yes according to Qantas facebook team 
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  • hutch

    hutch

    13 Dec, 2016 01:04 pm

    I'd be surprised if the QF facebook team is correct. QF has reduced and I believe is removing the extra B747 services from MEL to LAX except for seasonal peak services. Given VA's impending return to MEL-LAX, there may be too much capacity for QF to operate an additional (albeit 787) service on a year round basis without impacting yields. Any extra year round flights to the US from Melbourne will surely have to go to DFW.
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  • mviy

    mviy

    13 Dec, 2016 02:48 pm

    The 787 has less capacity than the 747 albeit QANTAS is proposing more 787 services than there have been 747 ones. If the demand isn't there all year round then some 787 services could be seasonal I guess.
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  • hutch

    hutch

    13 Dec, 2016 03:06 pm

    Yep, well as log0008 has reported, QF has definitely said this will be year round (so the facebook team isn't incorrect... my bad). But I would remain surprised if QF didn't use the chance to open up a MEL-DFW route.... even if it was 3 x MEL-LAX and 3-4 MEL-DFW.

    Then again QF needs to desperately retire the 2 non-refurbished 747's. So BNE-LAX or SYD-SFO should be replaced with a 787.  

    My back of the paper calculations think it's possible for MEL-PER-LHR-PER-MEL-LAX-MEL routing with a little over 4 birds. Which should leave enough 787's out of the first order to retire some 747's (well hopefully at least 2).
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  • clarkysdonga

    clarkysdonga

    14 Dec, 2016 03:13 pm

    I flew SYD to JNB on the old 747. It def needs to go. Maybe they can replace this route with 787 or kick on to Cape Town.
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  • Chris_PER

    Chris_PER

    13 Dec, 2016 12:25 pm

    Really looking forward to trying this out on the trans-con services!
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    13 Dec, 2016 12:27 pm

    The first 2 QF 787s (line numbers 614 and 641) are currently having parts shipped to Everett for construction.
    They are due for delivery on 12 Oct and 1 Dec 2017.

    There are 128 787-9s with production slots assigned where the airline is not currently publicly known.
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  • jimmylikesitwet

    jimmylikesitwet

    14 Dec, 2016 03:46 pm

    They are no-where near the point of getting parts shipped. Final assembly at Everett will only begin 2-3 months before the delivery date.
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  • Fonga

    Fonga

    13 Dec, 2016 12:57 pm

    Again I'm a bit surprised they didn't use the opportunity to shift some traffic via Dallas and provide Melbourne customers with more choice of destination. 
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  • log0008

    log0008

    13 Dec, 2016 01:01 pm

    I wouldn't be surprised if this became MEL-DFW down the line
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    13 Dec, 2016 02:31 pm

    @log0008:
    "I wouldn't be surprised if this became MEL-DFW down the line"
    Partially agree.  MEL-DFW will eventually be launched by QF now that AA+QF JV is history.  And the only econ-logical machine in QF fleet to launch that route will be 789.

    However, I don't think MEL-LAX by 789 will end to enable MEL-DFW by 789 to launch as what U've implied.  It'll be in addition to MEL-LAX.

    MEL-LAX is @ least a seasonal 744 route and QF fleet plan is to replace all 744s(Not 744ERs which will remain critical for JNB & SCL ops until CASA embrace ETOPS330+) with 789.  And the most urgent current QF routes to swap out 744s are those high fuel consumption long Trans-Pcf routes.  As a result, I predict after MEL-LAX, QF will continue to deploy 789 on current 744 Trans-Pcf routes(i.e. SYD-SFO, BNE-LAX, SYD-YVR) before QF start to use 789 on new QF routes such as PER-LHR(Confirmed), MEL-DFW(May be), etc.
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  • hutch

    hutch

    13 Dec, 2016 03:20 pm

    747ER's are not required to fly to SCL/JNB. JNB regularly see 23 year old QF's 747's.

    QF planned to be down to 9 747's by now. They also planned to finish A330 refurbishments by end of 2016. QF's plans change... alot! 

    I would suggest that the MEL-LAX QF 787 may be in response to the QF/AA JV not being approved. Making it less attractive for AA to launch to MEL. I'd be very surprised if it remains 6 x weekly year round in the long term.

    No doubt we will see more 787's take over some US routes, to enable some 747 retirements and redeployments to slot constrained ports like HKG.


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  • aggie57

    aggie57

    13 Dec, 2016 10:41 pm

    Putting aside operational considerations, from a customer perspective if you flew MEL-DFW the LAX-JFK flight would not be needed anymore.  DFW is a great AA hub, and despite the problem Qantas and American have had recently they're still part of OneWorld. 
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  • mviy

    mviy

    14 Dec, 2016 07:45 am

    I'd be surprised if QF stopped flying their own metal to JFK.
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    13 Dec, 2016 01:51 pm

    I'm totally not surprised that QF's 789 debut plan has not much to do with providing MEL(nor any other AU mkt) customers with more destination choices.  Later yes(e.g. PER-LHR) but not initially for the 1st batch of 789.

    I believe it's has much more to do with getting rid of 744s as quickly as possible particularly on very long QF routes.  That's where the largest fuel burn savings per seat(even bigger diff if on per trip basis... I suspect trip fuel cost for 744 x1 is slightly more than for 789 x2) can be realized by swapping 744 with 789.  After all, 789 x8 to replace the oldest 744 x5 is exactly the official QF  789 deployment plan and I believe, the deployment priority.
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  • log0008

    log0008

    13 Dec, 2016 02:27 pm

    The B744 freed up for this is going onto MEL-HKG daily, so they don't seem to be pushing to retire them. 
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  • mviy

    mviy

    13 Dec, 2016 02:52 pm

    They may need a lot more 787s before they retire some 747s. It does depend what they want to do.
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    13 Dec, 2016 01:32 pm

    For me, the most intriguing aspects are these:
    1) Why QF picked MEL-LAX to debut its 789 longhaul service?  Pre-empt potential move on the same route by AA which will no longer be a JV partner?
    2) A yr fm now, both operators(i.e. QF and UA) will be using the same type on the same route.  QF really like the operating #s UA has been achieving fm 789 on this route? 
    3) If debut 789 longhaul on a AU-Asia route instead, QF would only need 1 frame to maintain a daily rotation.  Too little demand for PY on such routes and therefore 330 cabin layout suffice for now?

    I'm surprised that the article itself and no commentators hv mentioned nor discussed these aspects so far. 
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  • mangoface

    mangoface

    13 Dec, 2016 02:48 pm

    Jetstar (and their 787's) are based in Melb, so makes sense for Qantas to base 787's in Melb (at least initially) too. As for why LAX, there are probably a few reasons such as freeing up 747's for higher capacity Asia routes, maintaining best hard product on the USA routes and better fuel economy for these long hauls.
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  • David Flynn

    David

    13 Dec, 2016 06:09 pm

    We didn't delve into why Qantas chose Melbourne or why it didn't choose Asia because that's not our role. We're not an aviation website dealing in industry analysis and backstory; we're a business travel website reporting on what's relevant to our core readership.
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    BevanMcBevan

  • BevanMcBevan

    BevanMcBevan

    14 Dec, 2016 03:29 pm

    Absolutely! ...and don't change a thing David & Chris.
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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    13 Dec, 2016 01:32 pm

    Will it still be a NZ crew operating this flight? Or are the AKL based crew going to be phased out?
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  • markpk

    markpk

    13 Dec, 2016 03:11 pm

    The AKL crews operate across a wide range of mainline intl services. I sat next to a FA on SYD-AKL and she was dead-heading home after doing a SYD-JNB trip.

    They're a pretty good bunch of folks...
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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    13 Dec, 2016 06:06 pm

    Absolutely, AKL-based and London-based crew are fantastic! SYD-based old timers I find interesting...
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  • John Glynn

    johnglynn86

    13 Dec, 2016 02:13 pm

    When will Brisbane get some more routes from Qantas? Considering the airline began in QLD it would be nice to get more from Qantas. Maybe to Dallas or Chicago or even San Francisco.
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    13 Dec, 2016 02:37 pm

    I'm betting QF will deploy 789 on a CURRENT route fm BNE(Most likely BNE-LAX) well before QF will launch any new Trans-Pcf routes from BNE such as DFW, ORD or even SFO.....
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  • Alex

    tm_smile

    13 Dec, 2016 03:02 pm

    BNE needs to be able to support decent yields first before they can introduce more services. QF aren't deliberately avoiding QLD, theres just clearly a better business case for somewhere else first.
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  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    13 Dec, 2016 07:50 pm

    Suspect you'll see a BNE-DFW in the not too distant future.
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  • Aubz11

    Aubz11

    13 Dec, 2016 03:00 pm

    Is it possible that QF are using the 789 to LAX out of MEL to see how the aircraft goes flying across the pacific with DFW in mind & making sure the numbers add up to make it a viable option. If yes, then splitting the flights out of Melbourne to both LAX & DFW
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  • reeves35

    reeves35

    13 Dec, 2016 05:27 pm

    I think QF would already know the 789 is very capable of doing this given UA has been using the 789 on the same route for over a year in a tighter configuration that that planned by QF.
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  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    13 Dec, 2016 03:07 pm

    So the 787 is being used to replace a 747 in this case. Good. 

    I presume that freed-up 747s might end up being used as temporary A380 replacements for when the A380s get a product refresh.
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  • hutch

    hutch

    13 Dec, 2016 03:28 pm

    Noting that the current Q95/96 is a seasonal 747. If you check timetable for Feb for example it doesn't exist. So replacing this with a 787 is an additional service. Can't see it helping QF reduce 747's in the short term.
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    13 Dec, 2016 04:05 pm

    95/96 isn't seasonal.
    It was added at 3 weekly in Jan 2015 when all the transpac flights were tweeked (adding a 4th SCL flight, retiming 11, changing 107/108 to 17/18 and forming the JFK tag from BNE).
    It was reduced to 2 weekly at the start of this year to allow extra 73/74 flights.
    It is being withdrawn at the end of January to allow QF29/30 to become daily 747.
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    15 Dec, 2016 03:22 pm

    @hutch:
    "Noting that the current Q95/96 is a seasonal 747....so replacing this with a 787 is an additional service."
    789 on MEL-LAX is likely BOTH a replacement for seasonal frequencies by 744 AND an addition for providing new frequencies off-season.  This is pax perspective.

    Fm QF perspective, the beauty of this transition plan is that total annual seat capacity remains largely similar(i.e. not increasing overall seat supply by much so no downward pressure on fare in that mkt) while connectivity+schedule choices improve due to 2x daily yr-round.

    "Can't see it helping QF reduce 747's in the short term."
    The fact that 744s will disappear fm MEL-LAX seasonal alone  reduces 744 fleet overall utilization.

    Each MEL-LAX round trip means a 744 is utilized for @ least 32hrs fm pushback @ MEL to return @ MEL gate.  That's longer utilization than for say, 1.5 roundtrips on MEL-HKG.  Essentially, each 744 utilized for MEL-LAX roundtrip x2 can generate MEL-HKG roundtrip x3.  Moreover, you will find that 744 for MEL-HKG is almost always non-daily(Typically only 3x wkly) and/or seasonal.  Finally, 744 is already being used for MEL-HKG...it's not waiting until 789 start to displace 744 on MEL-LAX.  Clearly, actual 744 fleet wide utilization will be reduced @ least slightly when 789 enter QF fleet.
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  • Damien Harbert

    Damien00

    13 Dec, 2016 04:22 pm

    I wonder if they'll switch the LAX-JFK tag to use the 789 in place of the 744 from the BNE service?
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    13 Dec, 2016 04:34 pm

    While QF hasn't posted the flight times yet, using the 787 from this flight for JFK is unlikely as this will most likely be an afternoon flight, not the morning flight needed for the JFK tag.
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  • John Phelan

    John Phelan

    13 Dec, 2016 07:54 pm

    I'd suspect not. The 744 to and from JFK is often full or pretty close to it. A switch to the 787 would be a big drop in capacity.

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  • Damien Harbert

    Damien00

    13 Dec, 2016 08:08 pm

    Interesting, I didn't know. I thought that flight was better suited to the A330 (and hence the 789) that used to fly it and they only upgraded to the 744 because the a330 stopped making the trek over.
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  • johnnypc67

    johnnypc67

    13 Dec, 2016 05:31 pm

    MEL-LAX is only until March 2018 until PER-LHR starts
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    13 Dec, 2016 05:43 pm

    Hi Johnny, not sure what your source is to that claim, but the information we've received directly from Qantas doesn't suggest that Melbourne-LAX Boeing 787 flights will be replaced by Perth-London: they'll just use the same aircraft type, of which Qantas has multiple on order.
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    johnnypc67

  • johnnypc67

    johnnypc67

    13 Dec, 2016 06:01 pm

    Hey Chris,So they will have more than 2 by March 2018?
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    13 Dec, 2016 07:22 pm

    There are 12 787-9s being built at Everett (and 11 more at Charleston) with unknown airlines assigned, due to be delivered after the 2nd QF aircraft in Dec and March.

    QF could be getting some of those, or none of those. Until there is an update as to which line numbers are going to which airline, all we know is that QF will have 4 aircraft by June 2018.
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  • FLX

    FLX1

    16 Dec, 2016 07:04 pm

    @Himeno:
    According to the latest updated 787 production plan, QF is scheduled to take delivery of 789 x3 before 1Jan2018.  1 on 12Oct17(Line# 615, the 1st ever 787 airframe for QF), 1 on 1Dec17(Airframe line# 641) and 1 on 31Dec17(Airframe  line# 655).  All 3 will be assembled @ the Everett line.

    Fyi, the next 787 airframe delivery is Line# 508 for AirEuropa scheduled to occur 3days from now.
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    20 Dec, 2016 07:42 pm

    It's one of the slots that was listed as "unknown" airline when I checked it.

    Possibly the 4th will be LN 666, 664 or 662 due late Jan-Mid Feb.
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  • johnnypc67

    johnnypc67

    13 Dec, 2016 05:46 pm

    I see the Cozy suite for PE with 19-20" width with a recline into a cradle position with a fixed shell, cocktail table etc
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  • colin

    gsx

    13 Dec, 2016 06:17 pm

    Think it time for a history lesson.

    Mel- Lax has been the launch route for the 1st 747ER then the first A380 route now it will the same for the next gen long haul aircraft the 787.

    but I agree a MEL - DFW would be nice too in the long run

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  • Packetman21

    Packetman21

    14 Dec, 2016 09:26 pm

    I really hope they do BNE-DXB with those free 747s and A380s, although unlikely since Emirates has a lot of there own seats there. Well just a wish a guess.
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  • Packetman21

    Packetman21

    14 Dec, 2016 09:27 pm

    Sorry, last sentence meant to say 'well just a wish I guess'
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  • patrickk

    patrickk

    22 Dec, 2016 02:00 pm

    For my crystal ball by early 2019 QF well have London (2), Paris (1), and Frankfurt (1) flying all through Perth with 787s. They may increase the order to have 12 787s by then so they can serve LA and Dallas as well, all out of Melbourne. The A380s will all be based in Sydney with a London flight probably through Dubai but possibly through Singapore, as well as Singapore and Hong Kong stand alones. They will then in 2019 or 2020 order some 787-10s for Asia and phase out the A333s 
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  • traveller99

    traveller99

    23 Dec, 2016 12:00 am

    The current Sky Bed on the 747 and A380 is horrific.  There's no personal space, the bed itself is uncomfortable and saggy, and you have to stow your screen for take off and landing.  Let's hope the Sky Bed goes away very soon and replaced with the new J class we see on the 787.
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  • colin

    gsx

    25 Dec, 2016 09:39 am

    Does anyone know what happened to the 787 launch bookings today ? 

    The online site does not go past Dec13 for timetables and bookings. I was hoping to see what fares were being offered

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  • colin

    gsx

    25 Dec, 2016 09:41 am

    also the 747 is still listed to fly mel-lax twice a week  till mid July 2017 in the online timetables.. then it disappears altogether.
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  • GregXL

    GregXL

    26 Dec, 2016 11:09 am

    Curious that QF news release said the 787 MEL-LAX fares would go on sales on 25/12 for 15/12 when this is earlier than the normal 353 days in advance. Maybe tomorrow.
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  • David Flynn

    David

    26 Dec, 2016 01:41 pm

    Yes, Qantas told us on Dec 22nd that it expected tickets on sale the following day but while these have in theory been loaded into the system, the airline's own sales system doesn't stretch a full 365 days in advance – today you can book MEL-LAX for Dec 14 2017, so it's likely that tomorrow (Dec 27th) you'll be able to book for Dec 15th 2017, which is the in augural MEL-LAX Boeing 787 flight.
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  • colin

    gsx

    27 Dec, 2016 08:40 am

    Yes sounds like Qantas Marketing in the rush to announce this first flight  didn't think this one through as you will only be able to book one-way as the return flights are also only 353 days ahead in the booking system..

    so much for official press releases. It would be nice to see an explanation from them on the press statement.

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