Qantas Confirms New Non-Stop Flights To Chicago & San Francisco


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It was exactly two weeks ago today that the American Airlines/Qantas joint venture (JV) was given a tentative go-ahead by the US Department of Transportation (DoT) and, true to their word, it hasn’t taken Qantas long to announce two new US routes following the DoT’s announcement.

Qantas has said that it plans to grow its North America network by starting up two new routes between Australia and the US. Once the DoT gives the formal go-ahead for the American Airlines/Qantas JV (a rubber stamping exercise now that tentative agreement has been given), Qantas will launch non-stop service from Brisbane to Chicago and San Francisco.

Both routes will be operated by Qantas’ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, both are expected to launch by the end of April 2020 and both are expected to go on sale in the coming weeks.

New Route Facts

Brisbane – Chicago

  • The 8,902 mile/14,326km flight will take approximately 16 hours 20 minutes (slightly more or less depending on winds)
  • When it launches, it is expected to be the fourth-longest passenger flight in the world.
  • It will be the second longest flight on the Qantas network, closely behind Qantas’ Perth-London service (9,009 miles/14,499km).
  • The route will operate 4x/week (the specific schedule has not yet been announced).

Brisbane – San Francisco

  • The 7,063 mile/11,367km flight will take approximately 12 hours 40 minutes (slightly more or less depending on winds)
  • The route will operate 3x/week
  • The new route will increase the number of flights between Australia and San Francisco to 14 per week (Qantas already offers flights to San Francisco from Melbourne and Sydney).

Qantas 787-9 Dreamliner

The 787-9 Dreamliner is the newest aircraft to enter Qantas’ fleet and it was purchased with the airline’s longest routes in mind.

Qantas’ Dreamliner briefly held the record for the longest scheduled commercial flight in the world with its non-stop service between Perth and London (Singapore Airlines holds the record now) and the new route between Brisbane and Chicago is only around 100 miles shorter.

The Business Class cabin on the Qantas Dreamliner offers 42 seats in a 1-2-1 layout (it’s an all aisle access cabin) and is a very nice place to while away a flight…

Qantas 787 Business Class
Qantas 787 Business Class

…while the Premium Economy cabin offers seats in a 2-3-2 layout with 38″ of pitch (legroom) and a little over 20″ space between the armrests:

Qantas 787-9 Premium Economy

The bad news in the Qantas 787-9 is generally limited to the Economy Class cabin where, despite offering 32″ of seat pitch, the 17″ wide seats are very, very tight for flights as long as the ones the Dreamliners fly.

Qantas 787-9 Dreamliner Economy Class

I’ve flown LA – London (10 – 11 hours) in American’s 777 Economy Class which offers very similar seat dimensions and I have no idea how passengers put up with so little space on flights of 15+ hours in length.

Bottom Line

It’s no surprise to see Qantas launching these new routes as they’ve been mooted for some time and (I think) they were even part of the airline’s pitch to the DoT when the JV application was made.

Still, it’s nice to finally see these routes formally announced and, if nothing else, it may make it slightly easier to find Business Class award space for travel between the US and Australia…at least that’s what I’m hoping for! 🙂

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