Jetstar has today revealed its intention to upgrade its 11-strong Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet, to improve both comfort and choice for its passengers. A cabin reshuffle will unlock the 787s full range, with long-haul routes to new destinations including Sri Lanka, America, India and South Africa under review.
Brand new seats will be installed from nose to tail, with promised improvements to seat comfort. Jetstar’s business class offering will more than double in response to growing premium demand, increasing from 21 to 44 seats.
Australia’s lively budget carrier will even install WiFi, whilst also removing seatback screens and instead relying on streaming content to passenger’s own laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Thanks to the significant weight reduction through installing new slimline seats and removing IFE screens, Jetstar expects to operate the most fuel-efficient 787-8 fleet that exists. With that, the airline can reduce its fares even further.
Jetstar Group CEO, Stephanie Tully said the fleet upgrade will significantly enhance the medium to long-haul flying experience for customers.
“This multi-million-dollar fleet revamp will allow us to offer our customers more choice, comfort and amenities when flying longer distances internationally.”
“Our existing 787 business class offering is extremely popular, so we’re [more than] doubling the number of business class seats,” added Mrs Tully.
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Jetstar’s All-New 787 Seating
Jetstar will replace its 787 economy and business seats with next generation designs by Recaro. That’s the same manufacturer Qantas has chosen for its A220 and A320neo cabins, and for economy class on the A350.
While Jetstar says their new Dreamliner economy class will be quite similar to the Recaro BL3710 that’s fitted to its A321neo, the forthcoming seats will be designed with long-haul flying in mind. Most importantly, Jetstar will add six-way headrests for head and neck support, a key issue with current seat comfort. There’s also seatback smartphone and tablet holders, alongside power outlets to keep your devices charged. According to Jetstar, there will be no reduction in legroom, with seat pitch set to remain at the same 30-inches given by the current Collins Aerospace Pinnacle seats.
In business, Recaro will also equip the Jetstar Dreamliner, although the model is expected to be a premium economy variant, such as the PL3530. Like economy, business class will feature device holders, a power outlet and adjustable headrests.
The airline will also shuffle its layout, to more than double business seating from 21 to 44, while removing 33 economy seats for a new count of 281. Across the entire jet, only ten seats are lost, with a new capacity of 325.
The updated layout will see the removal of the divider between business and economy, with the new business cabin stretching all the way to the second set of doors. That’s great news for Jetstar business class passengers, who will turn left when boarding. No longer will they suffer having the cabin crowded by non-starclass adventurers.
Jetstar 787 Adds Inflight WiFi And Streaming
For the first time, Jetstar customers will be able to stay connected in the air. Inflight satellite WiFi will be fitted to the entire 787 fleet, giving passengers the option to purchase internet access to stay connected above the clouds.
While Jetstar is yet to share which satellite provider it will use, they are likely to follow Qantas and select ViaSat. Although, Jetstar did cheekily mention they expect to complete WiFi installations on their 787 fleet before Qantas finalises the installation on its international fleet.
The onboard connection will see the removal of seatback screens, with customers instead streaming content from Jetstar’s entertainment collection to their own devices. Naturally, people are going to complain about that, but at the end of the day, Jetstar is a budget airline. If you really need a seatback screen, pay the higher fare for Qantas. The removal of seatback screens will being Jetstar’s offering in line with Airbus A320 family aircraft that offer the same streaming options to passenger devices.
Jetstar To Deploy 787 On Long-Range Routes
With the recent introduction of A321neoLR and forthcoming A321XLR jets, Jetstar’s Dreamliners are able to be redeployed to other routes. Once a crew rest area is installed at the rear of the Dreamliner, Jetstar is legally able to have its crew operate longer flights. These beds will also make around eight seats, which are currently reserved for crew rest, available for customers to book.
If the rumours are to be believed, India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and even Las Vegas are being considered as new destinations. Although, we won’t truly know which routes Jetstar will announce until flights are on sale.
Tip: Tempted by cheap fares but don’t know what to expect from Jetstar? Check out our Complete Guide To Flying With Jetstar!
Jetstar’s New 787 Livery
As part of the changes, the 787 fleet will also receive updated Jetstar livery to match the latest A321neo jets. The new livery retains the iconic Jetstar-orange and branded underbelly, however, now sees the colour extend onto the aircraft’s tail. I’m happy to report that based on the renderings, Jetstar has changed the belly and tail star to white, instead of the easily washed-out silver on the A321neo.
Jetstar’s 787 Refresh Timeframe
The multi-million-dollar investment in each aircraft will progressively be completed during scheduled aircraft maintenance from late 2025. Similar to your car’s maintenance schedule, the 787 is due to be substantially overhauled and inspected for safety on its twelfth birthday. Therefore, it makes sense for Jetstar to plan their upgrades now and save hanger time by completing everything at once.
Jetstar claims detailed design work is currently underway, with further details provided in the coming months.