Qantas begins Boeing 787 flights to Hong Kong

Qantas begins Boeing 787 flights to Hong Kong

Qantas will fly its Boeing 787 Hong Kong from December 2018, marking the Dreamliner’s first Asian destination – although it’s unlikely to be the last.

Travellers from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane will all have the choice of flying on the Boeing 787 – which boasts Qantas’ latest business class, premium economy and economy seats – as an alternative to the scheduled Airbus A380 and A330 services. 

Melbourne-Hong Kong Boeing 787 flights will begin on 13 December 2018 as QF29/QF30 running five days per week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday for QF29; Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday for QF30) with an Airbus A330 on the other two days.

From 28 January to 29 March 2019 the Dreamliner will be flying the Melbourne-Hong Kong route for six days each week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for QF29; Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for QF30).

Brisbane-Hong Kong Boeing 787 flights will start from 19 December 2018 as QF97/QF98, initially at one day per week (Wednesday for QF97, Tuesday for QF98) and then increasing to two days per week from 30 January 2019 (Wednesday and Friday for QF97; Tuesday and Friday for QF98), with an Airbus A330 on all other days. 

Sydney-Hong Kong Boeing 787 flights will commence on 30 March 2019 as QF117/QF118, with the Dreamliner rostered for six days per week (except for Tuesday on QF128 and Wednesday on QF127).

Australian Business Traveller reviews the Qantas Boeing 787 business class seat

Australian Business Traveller rates Qantas’ Boeing 787 business class seat as a five-star effort, although we’re less enamoured of premium economy: the thoughtful design is handicapped by having too little legroom, although this will be less of an issue on the daytime flights to Hong Kong than the overnight return legs.

However, on routes where the Boeing 787 replaces the Airbus A330, this will provide travellers with the option to book into the premium economy cabin compared to the two-class (business and economy) A330.

Australian Business Traveller reviews the Qantas Boeing 787 premium economy seat

Hong Kong is intended to be Qantas’ final Dreamliner destination for its initial eight-strong fleet, ahead of six more red-tailed Boeing 787s arriving from late 2019 to the end of 2020.

That second tranche of Dreamliners will let Qantas cherry-pick new and existing routes to Europe (where Paris and Frankfurt are tipped to join London as non-stop routes from Perth), the Americas (Qantas has name-checked Chicago and Seattle as possible Dreamliner destinations) and Asia.

Those jets will also see the retirement of Qantas’ ageing Boeing 747 fleet which currently flies to Hong Kong, Tokyo, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, Johannesburg and Santiago. 

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.
 

50 comments

  • downdata

    downdata

    24 Jul, 2018 11:49 am

    Hmmm 4 classes selling on 3 different types...
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  • mviy

    mviy

    24 Jul, 2018 11:54 am

    QF can overbook Business on SYD-HKG but if travellers are willing to pay extra for F they can make more revenue by selling F seats.
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  • mviy

    mviy

    24 Jul, 2018 11:52 am

    With QF planning to phase out the 747 aggressively I expect we'll see a lot more 787 flights to Asia.

    Some flights to the America such as SYD-SFO will eventually get replaced with the 787 one would think.

    Once Project Sunrise takes over QF9/QF10 it'll be interesting to see if the 787 currently used for that shift over to flying to Asia year round.
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  • Angus  Coventry

    Covo95

    24 Jul, 2018 12:04 pm

    I think we will see the dreamliner taking over Qf25/26 from late next year/early 2020, when the next 6 dreamliners begin to arrive
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    24 Jul, 2018 02:33 pm

    The QF Japan flights are often booked out with groups. Replacing the HND 747 with a 787 is a large reduction in seats.
    If the HND route is the next to lose a 747, I'd expect to see the return of regular QF21/22 SYD-NRT flights to supplement the QF25/56 to HND.
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    DavidChan

  • Angus  Coventry

    Covo95

    25 Jul, 2018 11:21 am

    The 747 is retiring, so maybe instead it could be bumped to the A380.
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    25 Jul, 2018 11:35 am

    A380s at HND are problematic. Their use there is hightly restrcited.
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  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    25 Jul, 2018 04:57 pm

    Himeno, is that because that airport is extremely busy and the A380 with its wake and separartion requirements means delays or loss of slots, or are many of the taxiways or hardstands/aerobridges unsuitable?
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    25 Jul, 2018 05:35 pm

    All of the above.
    HND limits A380s in which runway/taxiways can be used and they can only be present at the airport during the night hours. While the slots QF has for HND are night slots, they keep the aircraft parked there all day. They wouldn't be able to park an A380 at HND during the day.
    I don't think any of the HND gates have 3 airbridges, so A380 boarding would have to be via 2 (which would slow down boarding and increase turn around times).

    As far as I know, only 2 A380s have been to HND. An Airbus test flight and when EK first started their DXB-HND flight.

    HND was the busiest airport in Asia, even when it was just domestic/short haul international, before PEK over took it a few years ago.
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  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    6 Feb, 2019 04:40 pm

    Himeno, I know someone who travels regularly to Japan and he says that school groups continue to be big business. He was referring to Japanese schoolkids but some Australian private and Catholic schools have exchange programs with Japanese schools I believe.
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  • jrfsp

    jrfsp

    24 Jul, 2018 12:04 pm

    As an economy flyer to Asia, I'd much rather A330s (or A380s)
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  • reeves35

    reeves35

    24 Jul, 2018 12:15 pm

    For the J flyer, the 787 is pretty much a match for the A330 but an improvement over 747 or A380; for the W class, the 747 or A380 are probably still the better product even though it is nearly a decade older and for the Y flyer, the 787 is a step backwards from the A380, A330 and 747.

    I assume these new flights as well as MEL-SFO basically use up the capacity of the next 4 789s meaning PER-CDG etc is on-hold for the time being. I'm not too sure where the released A330s will go but given the booming MEL-SYD-BNE triangle, the capacity will probably be used up there
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    TomSanderson

  • Thomas Sanderson

    TomSanderson

    24 Jul, 2018 01:08 pm

    Despite the issues with the 787 W class seat, I think the overall seat is superior to the A380 or particularly the B747 in terms of the IFE Cabin Comfort and Pressurisation Altitude
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  • Steve987

    Steve987

    24 Jul, 2018 04:49 pm

    Why is Economy seen as inferior on the 787 v the airbus options?

    I recently flew in Y to LA on the A380 and back on the 787 and the 787 was far better in my opinion. I also have flown Y on the A330 to Perth many times and, again, would take the 787 any day.
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    johnhyde

  • russh7

    russh7

    25 Jul, 2018 02:50 pm

    It depends how big you are. 17" seat width caters for about the median Aussie, no more. But if you fit, then the 32" pitch is nice.

    This is still inferior to the CX A350 which has the same 32" pitch and better width.
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  • CBR boy

    CBR boy

    25 Jul, 2018 03:59 pm

    Adding to russh7's observation about seat width, the other disadvantage of the 787 versus A330 is the 3-3-3 economy seating layout versus 2-4-2 on A330. Less need to be stumbled over by, or have to stumble over, other passengers for aisle access on the A330.
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  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    24 Jul, 2018 01:25 pm

    So... in other words, there IS a market for Premium Economy flights to at least some cities in Asia.

    Sounds like Qantas will be expanding PE availability in the longer term I think.
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    Simon852

  • mviy

    mviy

    24 Jul, 2018 01:34 pm

    I do think it's highly likely that whatever replaces the A330 for international routes will get PE.
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  • moa999

    moa999

    24 Jul, 2018 03:53 pm

    There has always been a market, it's just whether the aircraft is big enough to fit it all.

    Put J and PE in the 330 and not much room left for Y. I'm sure PE was considered for the 333s and newly refurbed Longhaul 332s
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  • aturnbull

    aturnbull

    24 Jul, 2018 07:21 pm

    Well you could reconfigure a 333 with 30j/21w and 220ish y. However I suspect that they need more J to HKG, just not sure what the sweet spot would be. Ive often thought the next 6 789s might be configured less premium heavy to provide more Y capacity (30j/21w/220y) which might suit routes like syd-yvr,scl and jnb allowing extra frequencies and new routes like syd-cpt. Heck that config could be better suited to bnelaxjfk as well if it continues at 10pw. Keep the premium heavy, low J for ULH and newer routes like melsfo. Will be interesting to see how this develops
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  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    6 Feb, 2019 04:44 pm

    In practice, having different configurations creates difficulties when an aircraft fails, as the replacement may have fewer seats overall or fewer in a particular class. Result can be unhappy passengers off loaded at busier times.
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  • Cyphar

    Cyphar

    24 Jul, 2018 04:03 pm

    I have flown 5 flights MEL <> SIN since the A380 has taken over. All in PE and each time the PE Cabin has been full.

    It's certainly fair to say there is a demand.
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  • Cyphar

    Cyphar

    24 Jul, 2018 04:15 pm

    Actually I've just realized that most of those could possibly be because of the LHR connection.
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  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    25 Jul, 2018 05:03 pm

    Cyphar, one thing I don't like about PE (W class) on almost all airlines with it is the fixed armrests between each seat.

    In Y, if there are spare seats, one can often stretch out over three (or nirvana: four) seats as armrests often fold up between the seatbacks, but with PE this doesn't occur.

    So for me it's either Y or J: no middle way, as I perceive the latter a waste of money.
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  • Simon  Fuller

    Simon852

    24 Jul, 2018 08:23 pm

    I’m surprised that QF haven’t, expanded PE into the 330 to asia earlier. CX have it across most of their 330s
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    25 Jul, 2018 11:49 am

    They should have put PE on the A330s during the refurb. Just 2 rows, 12-14 seats, would have been enough.
    They could have sold them with the extra leg room and/or blocked for status for domestic flights.
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  • Julian Chenoweth

    JulianC

    24 Jul, 2018 11:16 pm

    I take CX in PE between Australia and Asia roughly every 2-3 weeks. Loads are generally very strong. IMO if the product is good then it is worth paying for on a 7-9 hour sector..
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  • johnnypc67

    johnnypc67

    24 Jul, 2018 02:03 pm

    Where do the a330 get deployed to?
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  • Cyphar

    Cyphar

    24 Jul, 2018 04:04 pm

    This is great. Now if we can just get rid of the 747's flying to NRT/HND, that would be superb.
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  • Austin Taylor

    Austin

    25 Jul, 2018 02:57 pm

    Agreed. They are very old.
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    26 Jul, 2018 03:37 pm

    How are they very old?
    The 744ERs are younger then the 717s.
    737s VH-VXA through VH-VXO are older then the 744ERs.
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    Austin

  • Austin Taylor

    Austin

    26 Jul, 2018 11:22 pm

    The 74's that QF put on QF25/26, as much as the Bride and I just adore them, they pale in comparison to a newer fleet... Just Saying...
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  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    6 Feb, 2019 04:46 pm

    One of the Boeing 744s, OJS, has its final flight in under two weeks and a further one is going to the scrapyard or similar on 4 April 2019.
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  • Jeremy

    merp1811

    24 Jul, 2018 04:26 pm

    Great opportunity to redeem points for newly released PE seats for those who have reward seat availability an issue over the busy mid-Dec/Jan period!
    No member give thanks

  • log0008

    log0008

    24 Jul, 2018 04:39 pm

    This is a result of the 737 crewing issues - they are freeing up the A330's to cover domestic flights
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  • patrickk

    patrickk

    24 Jul, 2018 05:37 pm

    Interesting they do not seem to be confident of an AA tie up anytime soon so are committing the extra 787s to Asia and not Chicago. The six new ones will be certainly to Paris but more to the US beyond 747 replacements dependent on the approval of the AA tie up. The long term A330 replacement will be the 787-10 with 300+ seats and I am sure with PE.
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  • Scepticalflyer

    Scepticalflyer

    25 Jul, 2018 02:49 pm

    JAL would benefit significantly if QF fly the 787s to HND or NRT. JAL 2-4-2 vs QF 3-3-3 in Y is a no brainer.
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    25 Jul, 2018 05:40 pm

    Maybe. The competition on SYD-HND is ANA, which also has 3-3-3 787 on the route. The NH and QF HND flight times are similar while the JL flight from NRT only matches the QF/NH SYD times southbound.
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  • Steve

    drivatruk

    25 Jul, 2018 03:01 pm

    787 to Asia. Bit late to the party.
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  • AJW

    AJW

    25 Jul, 2018 08:09 pm

    What 787 party is that?

    The 787’s is still very much in the minority on flight between Aus and Asia.

    The A330 followed by 777 and A380 dominate flights from Aus to Asia. With the A350 numbers increasing but still slightly behind the 7late7.
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  • Steve

    drivatruk

    26 Jul, 2018 02:34 am

    Scoot, Jetstar, JAL, Air India, Royal Bunei.
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  • AJW

    AJW

    26 Jul, 2018 06:08 am

    My point exactly. What a party? SQ is at it too now.

    Compared to how many fly A330’s (even though they have 787’s in their fleet) how many fly 777’s etc.
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  • Mark

    Mightyreds

    25 Jul, 2018 03:25 pm

    What happened to starting new destinations in America?
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  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    25 Jul, 2018 05:00 pm

    With BNE to Seattle, the market is so small - allegedly at present only 10 - 20 seats per typical day sold each way - that one suspects the airline's brains trust decided it ws uneconomic, even with the induced traffic that a nonstop would attract.
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  • Himeno

    Himeno

    25 Jul, 2018 05:44 pm

    Waiting for US DOT approval for a JV with AA.
    No joint venutre approval, no new flights.
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  • Roger Hooper

    infrequently

    25 Jul, 2018 04:09 pm

    What happened to basing the next 4 787's in Brisbane?
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  • patrickk

    patrickk

    25 Jul, 2018 05:36 pm

    Infrequently they can still be based in Brisbane it is just they may drop in elsewhere.
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  • Henry  Private

    longwayaway

    26 Jul, 2018 05:27 am

    There is no better time than the current Cathay overnight schedule with a flat bed (ex MEL anyway). Given that you can involve a Cathay reservation person 7/24 at no Qantas type cost. They answer straight away vs. the typical Qantas 1 hour on hold. You can pay in any currency at the spot exchange rate. Great.
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  • Graham BLAMEX

    BLAMEX

    6 Feb, 2019 03:32 pm

    Was booked on the 787 in J class HKG MEL. They have changed it to a huff IOU’s outdated 747 for the next 10 days. This is why I find QF international so frustrating. I canceled and book one way with SQ. I would rather fly via SIN than travel on such an out dated product. Come on Qantas what are you doing!
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  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    6 Feb, 2019 04:36 pm

    Very true comment and my sympathy but other blogs suggest that Qantas has had a Boeing 787-900 out of service for quite a few days after a truck collided with it. Apparently it's complex to repair these new aircraft whereas older ones (like the B744!) were easier. Not sure why the new materials are harder to fix.
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24 May, 2019 01:28 pm

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