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Qantas 787 setting new benchmark for customer satisfaction

written by australianaviation.com.au | March 23, 2018
Qantas has so far taken delivery of four of eight 787-9s on order. (Seth Jaworski)

A day ahead of the launch of nonstop flights between Perth and London with the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, Qantas’s head of customer product says the aircraft is setting a new benchmark for customer satisfaction.

Qantas has so far taken delivery of four 787-9s, with the aircraft operating a daily service between Melbourne and Los Angeles since December, as well as flying domestic trunk route services – predominantly Melbourne-Perth and Melbourne-Sydney – while pilots and cabin crew build experience in operating the type.

“We’re extremely happy with the way customers are responding to the aircraft,” Philip Capps, head of customer product and service development, told Australian Aviation on Friday.

“Particular elements from the cabin environment, the seating and the comfort [levels] but also the inflight entertainment are resonating very strongly with customers,” he said.

“When we compare the experience of customers who are flying so far on Melbourne-Los Angeles – and soon to be Perth-London – there is a material increase, it is effectively a new benchmark of customer advocacy and satisfaction [levels].”

Qantas is configuring its 787-9s in a ‘premium-heavy’ configuration seating 236 passengers, with 42 seats in business class in a 1-2-1 configuration offering direct aisle access for every passenger, 28 in premium economy laid out 2-3-2 across and 166 in economy in a 3-3-3 layout with 32in seat pitch.

Such a configuration reflects both the business-heavy nature of the routes the airline will operate the aircraft on, but it is also optimised to provide the payload-range performance necessary for ultra long-haul routes like Perth-London, which will the longest route yet operated by the 787.

YouTuber Paul Stewart reviews the business class service on the first Qantas 787 Melbourne-Los Angeles flight last December.

Capps said the 787 interior and passenger experience had seat a new benchmark for the airline.

“We’ve recently announced the reconfiguration of the A380, there will be many elements of that which will be aligned with the Dreamliner so it means that we know that we’ve done things that are working well with customers and now we are going to continue to roll those our across the rest of the international fleet.”

Premium economy on the Qantas 787.

Early experience with the 787 has also validated Qantas’s approach of collaborating with industry partners in designing and delivering its 787 passenger experience.

“I think what works for us is the collaboration of the best minds in the business. We like to use our own experience but then work with Neil Perry who knows food, beverage and service like no other. Like Sofitel who also knows service like no other, with the [University of Sydney] Charles Perkins centre,” he said.

“Our job then is to continue to pull all those threads together and weave them into an experience. The more you can collaborate with the best in the field, the better the experience will be. So that’s really the biggest lesson we’ve learned.”

Part of that experience is the new Qantas transit lounge at Perth Airport, which was previewed to media on Friday.

The new Qantas Perth transit lounge’s ‘outdoor terrace’.

“The introduction of Perth-London services is quite a game-changer, for Qantas, for Qantas customers, for our people and also for the networks that we serve,” he said. 

“In that context then being able to introduce a new aircraft type with a bespoke cabin interior and a very unique lounge and terminal experience is fundamental, It means the experience for customers travelling from Melbourne through Perth to London and back will be very different to any other way of getting to Europe.”

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Comments (14)

  • Archie


    Hopefully Neil Perry’s food tricks you into thinking your seat is wider.

  • Flyer


    One particular issue that isnt get much coverage is no overhead bins in the last 5 rows in Y due to the crew rest, plus cabin crew use the window binns for thier own storage. With full loads, passengers have thier bags in bins far away from them, or losing the space under the seat wont be recieved well.

  • Christopher Campbell


    The 787 PE is not up to scratch. A great seat overall however shared AC power points and the lack of seat pitch is not good enough! It’s definitely a squeeze when the seat in front of you is in recline. An extra 2-3 inches of pitch would solve this.

  • TimC69


    I have flown the Perth route now twice on the 787-9 and to be honest I prefer the A330-200. I felt cramped in-last trip the middle seat was vacant- and the only aspect I enjoyed was the entertainment which is a marked improvement .!

  • Paul


    The 9 abreast Economy seating, and seat pitch will make it a long flight for those in Economy!
    But its non stop, and saves people an Asian or Middle East stopover, which will no doubt appeal to some people!

  • Rod Pickin


    Mr. Capps’ description of this new service only enhances my own “experience” (overused); – The published meal schedule for these ultra long haul flights shows you will only get a Lunch and a Refreshment, all classes. To me this is a meal and a half catering and it begs the question, can this aircraft do a double meal uplift all classes or not?- Since all pax are going to have a BBQ pre departure that only enhances my thoughts, it cant and , is this aircraft having to lo opt with a regulated ZFW in order to meet flight plan needs in which case, if that is so, then this is not the aircraft for that planned sector. Time will tell as they say but the publicity QF has/is enjoying, WOW. Anyone know the tech/cabin crew compliment and makeup?

  • Ken Hull


    It amazes me that people do not complain about some of the cheapest fares in 25 yrs, but are happy to stick it up the business class pax, who pay premium dollars 6-8 times their bargain basement fares and the have the gall to complain about the narrow seating and discomfort. I worked in the industry for nearly 30 yrs, fares are cheaper today, especially the Kangaroo route than they were nearly 20 yrs ago…… at the end of the day you get what you pay for, I thought that applied to everything… if you have a beer budget, but champagne tastes, I guess that’s not the Airlines problem !!

  • Mick


    Really not that amazing…

  • Ashley


    @TimC69- I think history will be very kind to the A330. To my mind the A300/310/330/340 have the best economy layout for long haul and ultra long haul flying.
    50% of the passengers have direct isle access. Of the remaining 50% without direct isle access, they only have to ask one person to move in order to go for a walk, and half of them have a window.
    I’m no expert in aviation economics or business strategy, but as an economy traveler I’m an expert when it comes to preferring to climb over one person as opposed to two.
    It’s a shame in some ways that Airbus didn’t stick to their original A350 concept and keep the original A330 cross section.

  • James


    @ Ken Hull
    Truer words were never spoken. Well said. It’s amazing how many people are negative when their fingers hit a keyboard. Absolutely terrible.
    @ Mick
    You may not think so, but if knew anything about aviation you’d realise this is a great achievement by Qantas and all those involved. The first ever, scheduled, direct airline service from London to the Australian continent.
    Great stuff QF.

  • Ben


    I’m not sure who they are talking to? For the mission Qantas have in mind for the jet it’s not configured right. They really should have charged a bit more and done a config with less J, more PE and an 8 across Y. People will pay extra to hub bust, but not tolerate ultra long haul with a regular medium-long haul hard product.

  • Mick


    LOL @ James. 20 years in the tube big boy.

  • Sam


    I agree with Ben. I think QF missed a trick by not having a more sparsely configured economy. Alternatively, drop the economy section altogether – since economy isn’t that profitable, they can potentially have more space for high yielding pax.

  • k lane


    Will this pay long term when novelty worn off – lets hope so – Heathrow has hugely cost prohibitive fees and charges and I suspect with limitations on this flight – it will need to maximize yields daily or why take the A380 service off MELB to Heathrow?

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