Qantas Boeing 737s to get more economy seats, WiFi entertainment

Qantas Boeing 737s to get more economy seats, WiFi entertainment

Qantas will upgrade its entire fleet of Boeing 737-800 aircraft to add more economy class seats, and in many cases beam movies, TV shows and music via WiFi to passenger's own iPads and other devices.

The first of the refurbished Boeings, which are the backbone of Qantas' domestic operations, will take to the skies by the end of this month.

Like those which follow it will be fitted with an extra row of economy seats, although Qantas pledges there will be no reduction in legroom, with the extra space created by reconfiguring the galley areas and installing 'slimline' lavatories.

During the works, each Boeing 737's cabin will also receive a refresh.

Qantas’ current configuration makes room for 12 business class and 156 economy passengers in its 737s for a total of 168 seats. The extra row will increase that count by 3% to 174 seats.

(In comparison, Virgin Australia has eight business class and 168 economy class seats on its Boeing 737s for a slightly higher total of 176 seats.)

29 of Qantas’ Boeing 737s feature personal screens with a 'video on demand' system.

38 of the airline's older Boeing 737s, which currently pump out entertainment via overhead screens and radio channels, will have the Q Streaming WiFi entertainment system installed so that passengers can beam 400 hours of content onto their own devices such as laptops, tablets and even smartphones.

Around half of Qantas’ 67 Boeing 737 aircraft will receive their make-over at the airline's Brisbane maintenance facility, while the rest will go under the knife in Sydney.

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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.
 

52 comments

  • Travelnut

    Travelnut

    14 Aug, 2015 09:00 am

    Interesting...I wonder if the 7 or 8 x 737-800 from the NZ Jetconnect fleet will also be upgraded? They should be if QF want to offer a seamless experience in 737s...so the affected area would be for the poor crew whose galley space will be reduced even more!!! Will they still leave the Y/C with the already minimal 2 toilets or reduce them down to 1??? Also by allowing the Wifi function to be turned on, won't that contridict QFs "please ensure your Flight Mode function is switched on during the flight' policy?

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  • Gian

    Gian

    14 Aug, 2015 09:07 am

    WiFi can be used while the device is in flight mode, as it is on many other airlines including VA. 

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  • moa999

    moa999

    14 Aug, 2015 09:39 am

    Number of toilets aren't being changed

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  • Enobar

    Enobar

    14 Aug, 2015 10:04 am

    I believe all the Jetconnect A/C are NG aircraft anyway with seatback entertainment already installed. Most also have the BSI interior (but not all).  I imagine that in time Qantas will be keen to get the extra row of seats in though so would guess that they too will come in for a (smaller scale) overhaul sooner or later.

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  • AJW

    AJW

    14 Aug, 2015 10:12 am

     Correct. The first few were the first to have seat back IFE, no BSI and the others the first to have BSI.

     

     Whilst in NZ they do have in-order VH registrations 'reserved' so seems they could be moved at the will of Qantas as demand etc changes. For that reason I reckon they will get the same referesh as the other 'newer' aircaft.

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  • jimmylikesitwet

    jimmylikesitwet

    14 Aug, 2015 02:52 pm

    Incorrect. None of the NZ registered aircraft are BSI. The first BSI aircraft is VH-VZT which was delivered in October 2011 two months after ZH-ZQH which is the last of the NZ birds.

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  • Jack

    jackthomas

    14 Aug, 2015 07:18 pm

    "A Qantas spokesperson told Australian Aviation the eight New Zealand-registered 737s operated by subsidiary Jetconnect were not part of the reconfiguration program, with the cabin layout remaining at 12 business and 156 economy seats. The ZK-registered fleet, which is flown on trans-Tasman services, had the latest Boeing Sky Interior cabins and seat-back inflight entertainment, the spokesperson said on Friday."

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  • jimmylikesitwet

    jimmylikesitwet

    14 Aug, 2015 08:07 pm

    The Qantas spokesman is wrong. 

    I can confirm that this link has the correct information, they are AVOD but not BSI. I'm on them reasonably regularly. The delivery dates alone give it away  

    http://www.theqantassource.com/b737-800.html

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  • moa999

    moa999

    15 Aug, 2015 12:37 pm

    Don't even know their own aircraft!. Latest IFE yes, but no BSI.. Probably makes sense that these aircraft need more galley space anyway given longer flight segments mostly

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  • AJW

    AJW

    14 Aug, 2015 09:05 am

     Don't see why they wouldn't make the NK rego a/c the same, afterall they are part of the Qantas fleet.

     

     As for the ensure your phone is in flight mode thing, you can have flight mode with WiFi turned on so no issue what so ever. They already offer BYO streaming in the East cost 717's and rolling it out to the A330's now. And also of course we had the 767's that used iPads that used Wifi, though not BYO in their case.

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  • AJW

    AJW

    14 Aug, 2015 09:06 am

    Make that ZK rego.

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  • Robin Ryan

    RobJ

    14 Aug, 2015 11:00 am

    AJW - how did you manage a correction to your post 1 minute before the actual post? If you're a time traveller, perhaps you could go back to ancient times when QF economy wasn't so miserable.

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  • AJW

    AJW

    14 Aug, 2015 01:36 pm

    Wish I knew how that happened.

    As for this time travel, any suggestions on how far back I should travel to find economy comfortable? Cannot think of a time myself.

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  • AJW

    AJW

    14 Aug, 2015 01:36 pm

    Wish I knew how that happened.

    As for this time travel, any suggestions on how far back I should travel to find economy comfortable? Cannot think of a time myself.

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  • Brett

    bm7500

    14 Aug, 2015 09:12 am

    Does the upgrade include a retrofit of the Boeing Sky Interior or simply the 777esque style overhead bins and passenger service units? No mention of the additional legroom that is currently in Row 4, being preserved. I wonder if this has been sacrificed?

    I also note a lack of curtain between the J and Y cabin's, just to remind you what you are missing out on, when you are seated down the back.

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  • AJW

    AJW

    14 Aug, 2015 09:17 am

    No BSI, and pretty certain not new bins either. There was a test aircraft with new bins, but believe it is not going any further.

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  • Enobar

    Enobar

    14 Aug, 2015 10:05 am

    The bins will be interesting - the test aircraft weren't popular because they hung down too low & the crew & cleaners dont like them.  Since then, Boeing themselves have offered a the bins as a retrofit rather than having the aftermarket ones they trialed, so they could be back on the table as an option.

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  • AJW

    AJW

    14 Aug, 2015 01:37 pm

    There was only a test aircraft, and as mentioned don't think you will see it, or any Boeing alterative as part of this refit.

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  • wilsoni

    wilsoni
    Banned

    14 Aug, 2015 10:10 am

    Number of toilets not changed, but size reduced. Bring a shoe horn. 

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  • elchriss0

    elchriss0

    14 Aug, 2015 10:47 am

    lol you mean arse horn

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  • Gerry Gannon

    Gerry Gannon

    14 Aug, 2015 11:21 am

    Meanwhile, QF treating WA based FFs with contempt by using these short-haul 737s on PER-SYD and MEL routes. Taking off A330s off these long routes for the considerably shorter eastern seaboard routes.

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  • Fonga

    Fonga

    14 Aug, 2015 11:31 am

    Nonsense Gerry. We Perth customers do alright. A couple of 737 services in amongst a predominantly A330 offering is fine. You have plenty of choice. And there is always Virgin, another great airline, if you're still not happy.

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  • Gerry Gannon

    Gerry Gannon

    14 Aug, 2015 11:35 am

    I'm committed to QF, but sometimes feel they take loyalty for granted. 

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  • Fonga

    Fonga

    14 Aug, 2015 11:32 am

    Nonsense Gerry. We Perth customers do alright. A couple of 737 services in amongst a predominantly A330 offering is fine. You have plenty of choice. And there is always Virgin, another great airline, if you're still not happy.

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  • elchriss0

    elchriss0

    14 Aug, 2015 12:01 pm

    all they need to do now is convert all their flights to Jetstar and you'll be set

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  • Gerry Gannon

    Gerry Gannon

    14 Aug, 2015 12:03 pm

    I'll only fly Jetstar at the point of a gun!

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  • elchriss0

    elchriss0

    14 Aug, 2015 12:07 pm

    lol i'd rather just be shot...the excruciation would be less

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  • AJW

    AJW

    14 Aug, 2015 01:34 pm

    Here is a tip. Never ever travel outside of Australia. If so you may be shocked to find that A320/737 sized aircraft are the norm on routes of 4 hours, even going up to 6+ hours. And shock horror many have old fashioned sit-up business seats and very limited IFE systems.

    They are not long by any stretch of the imgination.

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  • moa999

    moa999

    15 Aug, 2015 12:39 pm

    And in Europe you would be shocked as to what counts as business in a 320/737...

    And here in Oz we complained about the workbench on the A330

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  • patrickk

    patrickk

    17 Aug, 2015 10:33 am

    Gerry,

    If you fly a QF flight number to India it is on a Jet Ariways 737 for close on six hours. Icelandair has only 757s soon to be replaced by 737s, all for up to six hour sectors. Widebodies are not about comfort (that is to do tih the seat) they are about capacity and scale

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  • Finn

    Finn

    14 Aug, 2015 11:24 am

    We flew the red eye to Auckland last week on a 737-800. The space between the seats was about 2 cm. The 'food' we were given at 12.30am was one packet of sugar-laden Matteses, two small sugar-laden muesli bars and a bottle of water. The offer at the end of the flight was sugar-laden orange juice. My wife asked for something healthy. She was offered a piece of cheese and a broken water cracker, which apparently the pilot didn't want. 

    We are now looking to fly Air NZ and Virgin so that we can avoid paying for inedible food on Australia's national carrier. 

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  • Hugo

    Hugo

    14 Aug, 2015 11:51 am

    "Upgrade"

    "More seats"

    Pick one. 

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  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    14 Aug, 2015 01:40 pm

    That's not entirely fair. A product can be improved and capacity can be increased at the same time.

    Example: Qantas Business Suite is actually denser than Skybed mk2. Thompson's LOPA claims that they could fit about 80 Business Suites into the same area on the A380 that currently is occupied by only 64 Skybed mk2's, however the Business Suite provides more privacy, more seat/bed width, more comfort, AND direct aisle access for all passengers. Its clearly an upgrade and it has more seats.

    Sure, the prospect of a "slimline lavatory" doesn't exactly sound particularly enticing. But most passengers don't spend much time in the lavatory on most flights, and we don't know precisely how much the actual "passenger envelope" for such a slimline lavatory would be.

    If they can fit an extra row of seats in without reducing legroom through doing this, I think its a no-brainer. At worst, the only impact to PaxEx will be a less-comfy toilet, which is a limited impact relative to reducing legroom.

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  • toddkaust

    toddkaust

    14 Aug, 2015 11:56 am

    What about providing any sort of entertainment on the 717s in WA?? There is not even music you can listen to. Perth to Broome is 2.5hrs of absolutely nothing when you get a 717 flight, not even any music. Despite QF advertising you get food and entertainment on every flight.

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  • elchriss0

    elchriss0

    14 Aug, 2015 12:00 pm

    lol every Qantas mainline flight...not QF link

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  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    14 Aug, 2015 12:28 pm

    Most people flying these short haul 737s don't need to use lavatories at all, as majority will be in the golden triangle flights lasting about 1hr. I never used lavatories on those flights. Of course, if any major delays then it's a different story

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  • Matthew T

    Matthew T

    14 Aug, 2015 12:40 pm

    Not sure if anyone noticed. While QF is doing all their work in BNE and SYD (Australia), VA is sending their A330s overseas for the refit.

    If QF does their engineering work overseas as well, wouldn't it be cheaper and faster for them?

    If QF has to keep their work in Oz, why not VA. As much as VA would like to claim themselves as the 'Australian Airline', what they have done doesn't seems to match up. Not to mention they are majorly owned by foreign carriers...

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  • AJW

    AJW

    14 Aug, 2015 01:43 pm

    Qantas doesn't have to do anything. They choose for what ever reason to use their BNE facility to do the refit.

    You raise an interesting point though, Qantas gets 'hammered' in the media for offshore mainteance, when the reality is the A330's and 737's, which form the bulk of their fleet are done in Australia, with only overflow and painting work heading O/S.

    The A380's and 747's are done offshore, but that is beacuse fleet numbers don't justify a mainteance base in Australia. Even with the A330's it wasn't until the fleet passed a magic number that Qantas opened the BNE facility.

    But VA has used offshore maintenance as their mainstay since inception, yet neary a word about it.

    What it comes back to is union noise. They play Qantas because they can and it makes headlines to their advantage.

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  • GBRGB

    GBRGB

    14 Aug, 2015 02:12 pm

    To be fair to Virgin a large slice of their fleet has been repainted at the Townsville spray shop which is good to see. Currently the same shop is painting the new Jetstar QF400 for NZ, the first one rolled out the door yesterday, Townsville airport have posted some pics.

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  • AJW

    AJW

    14 Aug, 2015 03:12 pm

    Yeah that is true. Though before that the shop of choice was in NZ, but as mentioned the bulk of their fleet is maintained offshore. I am certain they have no heavy mainteance what so ever. Just basic line and overnight type maintenance.

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  • cdirnber

    cdirnber

    14 Aug, 2015 01:08 pm

    Getting yet another seat row into a 737 I would not necessarily call "upgrading" the cabin, more like "sardining", "squeezing" or "crushing" the cabin!  

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  • jimmylikesitwet

    jimmylikesitwet

    14 Aug, 2015 02:49 pm

    The seat pitch isn't changing so what's your problem?

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  • Satoshi Takayama

    Michael Kao

    14 Aug, 2015 03:07 pm

    My concern won't be the seat pitch but the available spaces for the overhead bin. Many people nowadays carry 2-3 oversized carry on baggage and squeeze them as much as possible in the overhead bin. They often get on board first and occupy the entire row of space without feeling sorry for others who board a bit later and only got one small bag. 

    Extra row of economy seat means 6 more people fighting for the same space. 

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  • AJW

    AJW

    14 Aug, 2015 03:30 pm

    Qantas has been cracking down on this recently.

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  • Robin Ryan

    RobJ

    15 Aug, 2015 11:35 am

    On the (fairly rare) occasions I've been in Business during peak business travel times, I've been astonished at the way business travellers on their way to the main cabin stuff their oversized bags in to business class lockers as they walk through.

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  • Doubleplatinum

    Doubleplatinum
    Banned

    16 Aug, 2015 06:29 am

    Yep seen it many times always some who will try to take the piss every time and not care about anyone else on board

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  • Wezza

    Wezza

    14 Aug, 2015 02:36 pm

    The old "upgrade" with more economy seats trick hey?

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  • afloskar

    afloskar

    14 Aug, 2015 03:14 pm

    Hopefully they will use them on flights to per from bne,syd and mel. South Pacific and New Zealand sound good too

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  • wilsoni

    wilsoni
    Banned

    14 Aug, 2015 03:27 pm

    162 pax and two toilets. 81 pax per toilet when full load. 60 mins of "air" time available on say SYD-MEL, SYD-BNE.  45 seconds per person to use toilet. Assume  Michael is right, say only 40% of pax want to "go" - under 2 minutes per person.  Raises the question, should the forward dunny currently available to 12 J pax and 2 flight crew be made available to all. Or is that cow too sacred still?

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  • Richard Foreman

    ptcruiser

    15 Aug, 2015 11:05 am

    To be honest, I think in the real world on those short trips not many people go to the loo so it's not really a problem and 6 extra pax won't make a difference, and on a longer flight you find that people tend to spread their visits out more anyway.

    I think it's an ingenious way of using the otherwise dead space on the plane. Airbus were the first to design this on their A320's.

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  • wilsoni

    wilsoni
    Banned

    17 Aug, 2015 07:34 am

    I'm not so sure. There often seems to be a queue for access to the toilet on SYD-MEL, SYD-BNE and similar, which suggests more pax than airlines will admit do in fact need to go - even on short-haul. Perhaps the "real world" isn't always at odds with the world of mathematics. 

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  • richieduck

    richieduck

    20 Nov, 2015 12:14 pm

    well overdue imho especially for the longer haul flights.  The screens on the seats are not without glitches though.

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20 May, 2019 02:58 pm

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