Entrance to the new Qantas First Lounge – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter
Recently, Qantas opened a new lounge in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Â The Qantas First Lounge serves first class passengersÂ from Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Japan Airlines, along with oneworld Emerald and Qantas’ own top-tier elites.Â As such, it is a good-sized lounge.
Beautiful bar in the Qantas First Lounge – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter
I had a long layover in Los Angeles as part of my trip to Santiago with LAN AirlinesÂ to check out business class on their 787-8 Dreamliner, so we were able to arrange with Qantas to visit their new lounge and experience what it had to offer. Â It didn’t disappoint.
LAN 787-8 Dreamliner at takeoff – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
Recently, LAN Airlines invited me down to their headquarters in Santiago de Chile, Chile, to check out their new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. While LAN was the first carrier in the Americas to operate the 787-8, the new stretched 787-9 offers an all-new Premium Business hard product.Â Unfortunately, at the last minute, the special event was called off due to “operational issues.”
Dreamliner signature entryway on LAN’s 787-8 – Photo: Blaine Nickeson | AirlineReporter
Since flights to Santiago had already been arranged I decided to still make the trip, which would give me a chance to experience LAN’s 787-8 Premium Business class, check out Santiago briefly, and also take a look at the airport experience on both ends. All-in, I’d only be gone from home in Denver for 55 hours – not too shabby for 13,000 miles of travel.
Qantas’ Boeing 767-338ER, a common sight in Australian skies over the past 30 years – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
The 27th of December marked the end of an era in Australian aviation. QantasÂ retired the Boeing 767 fleet from passenger service.
Let’s take a brief look at the history of this true workhorse and Australian icon that has been part of the Qantas fleet for almost 30 years. Qantas took delivery of its first 767, a -200 series extended range aircraft, in 1985. The type was first introduced on the carrier’s services to southeast Asia as well as on trans-Tasman and Pacific routes.
In 1987, the carrier placed an order for the larger -300ER series. The -300ER not only had a larger capacity but also an increased range and more powerful General Electric CF6-80 engines. The 767-300ER was delivered to Qantas in a two-class configuration. There were two variants of this configuration, one for international service which had 25 business class and 204 economy class seats, and the domestic configuration, which had 30 business class seats and 224 economy class seats.
A unique configuration, 1-2-2 on the international version of the Qantas Boeing 767-338ER – Photo: Jacob Pfleger | AirlineReporter
The internationally-configured 767s were unique in that business class was configured in a 1-2-2 layout, and the 767s wereÂ the first Australian aircraft to offer in-seat IFE in business class. The economy cabin was also unique in that there was a “pod” at the front of the cabin for crew rest, as well as two rows of seats at the rear portioned off for additional crew rest.
Following the deregulation of the Australian domestic market in 1990, Qantas was permitted to once again operate domestic flight routes. With the introduction of the 767 into the fleet, and the domestic deregulation which allowed for increased passenger demand, Qantas usedÂ the 767 on domestic Australian flights. The domestic market is where the aircraft really became a true Australian icon. It was deployed on pretty much every major domestic route within the country; the most popular routes were the transcontinentals to Perth, as well as the main east coast triangle routes connecting Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
If you are a fan of the Boeing 767, this video might make you a bit sad.
Qantas AirwaysÂ is in the process of retiring their final 767-300ERs and the TV show 60 Minutes produced a story following VH-OGG from Australia over to Victorville Airport (VCV), home ofÂ probably the most famous airliner graveyard. Many times the main-stream media drops the ball when it comes to stories like this, but I have to admit that they did a pretty darn good job!
VH-OGG first flew at Paine Field on November 27, 1990. It was delivered to Qantas on December 12th of the same year and served with the airline for its entire life — up until now. The aircraft even sported a special Planes livery from Disney on the fuselage for a while.