The best premium economy seats on the Qantas Boeing 787

The best premium economy seats on the Qantas Boeing 787

Nestled between business class and economy, the Qantas Boeing 787 boasts a cosy premium economy zone of just 28 travellers seated across four rows (numbered 20 through 23):

The cabin comes in a 2-3-2 layout, with the paired window seats listed as A/B and J/K and the centre trio as D/E/F.

Passengers in 'A' and 'K' seats are by the windows; those in 'B', 'D', 'F' and 'J' seats are by the aisles; while guests in 'E' seats are, sadly, stuck in the middle.

Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner premium economy: best seats

For maximum legroom and space – row 20: Located at the front of the cabin, these seats prove the roomiest thanks to the generous gap between them and the bulkhead wall in front.

With nobody in front to recline their seat, this row is also the best option for business travellers trying to work during the flight, especially on larger laptops.

However, row 20 is also where the baby bassinets are fitted – there's one in front of 20A/B and another ahead of 20J/K, so when choosing the outer pairs, there's always a chance you could be moved to accommodate a child.

For couples and duos – the A+B and J+K pairs: When travelling with a partner or friend, there's no reason to have a seatmate in the centre group when you can instead sit together by the windows!

For sleeping – row 23: With a bulkhead wall behind and nobody to bump your seat, plant yourself in row 23 and enjoy remaining reclined and asleep, even if those around you are eating.

Solo travellers will also prefer the window seats here to avoid being awoken during the flight when their seatmate needs to hop up.

However, baby bassinets for economy passengers are found directly behind 23A/B and 23J/K, too... but with bassinets also at the front of premium economy, choosing a different row won't provide much difference.

For families – it varies: Couples travelling with lap infants will appreciate those baby bassinet facilities available at row 20A/B and 20J/K, as the bassinet frees your hands during the flight.

(Bassinets are indicated by an orange dot on the seat map above.)

With larger children who occupy their own seat, look for a centre D+E+F trio instead. Parents may wish to enjoy the aisle seats themselves while assigning their child to the middle seat.

For everybody else, there's no reason to choose yourself a centre ('E') seat when every other seat in the cabin is by a window or aisle.

Also read:

Connect with other business travellers in our Qantas discussion group

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin (ChrisCh)

[email protected] / @ChamberlinChris

Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!


  • RealKid


    22 Dec, 2016 04:42 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Where have you sourced these seatmaps which are used in the article?  Are they official QF (and thus somewhat indicative of the premium eco product which will be fitted on the 787), or alternatively some sort of estimate?

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  • Chris Chamberlin


    22 Dec, 2016 04:56 pm

    Hi RealKid,

    Our diagrams are taken from the official Qantas Boeing 787 LOPA (Layout of Passenger Accommodations) - an internal Qantas document which was shared with us exclusively.
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  • undertheradar


    23 Dec, 2016 09:43 am

    the 787 seatmap is also on in the seatmaps section :)
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  • Chris Chamberlin


    23 Dec, 2016 10:20 am

    Groovy! When we published yesterday it hadn't been uploaded yet. :)
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  • Angus  Coventry


    23 Dec, 2016 12:38 pm

    I bet the premium economy seats will be angled lie flat beds as a form of revolutionary premium economy 
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  • Andrew


    30 Dec, 2016 05:16 pm

    Is it unusual that they have started selling these seats despite not revealing what they look like/what you'll actually get for your money?
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  • David Flynn


    30 Dec, 2016 06:47 pm

    Yes, it's very very unusual... even for a brand new aircraft and seat type, there's typically photos and details and plenty of other information about the seat by the time it goes on sale.
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  • johnnypc67


    1 Jan, 2017 04:45 pm

    What if they turn out to be fixed shell?
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  • Angus  Coventry


    1 Jan, 2017 06:53 pm

    Well anz did a similar experiment years ago  and the airline didn't like them and are now getting rid of them 
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  • Rav


    18 Aug, 2017 11:19 pm

    And they were brilliant in ANZ, so much room and so comfy and pair that with ANZ service and it is a top experience, 
    I believe that ANZ is downgrading it's PE because it s too good and it wants to no long lead the pack but just be an also ran.
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24 Jun, 2018 12:11 am

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