Australia's flag carrier Qantas formally announced Monday its plan to launch nonstop flights to Brisbane (BNE) from both Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) and San Francisco (SFO), aiming to launch the new service by April 2020.
Brisbane is Australia's third-largest city, behind Melbourne and Sydney. And these upcoming flights are a critical piece of a joint venture between Qantas and American Airlines, which won tentative approval from federal regulators earlier this month. That joint venture will make it easier for U.S. passengers nationwide to connect on domestic flights and make it to Australia.
The exact timing of each flight isn't yet certain, though Qantas will fly between Chicago and Brisbane four times weekly, and just three times a week to San Francisco. The airline will use a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner for the long flights, which have great features to help travelers combat jetlag but are a tight squeeze in economy.
It will be the first nonstop flight between Chicago and Australia, although Air New Zealand flies there nonstop from Auckland (AKL). And at 8,901 miles and more than 16 hours, it will be the fourth-longest flight in the world.
Qantas already flies to San Francisco from Sydney (SYD) and Melbourne (MEL), and United offers a nonstop to Sydney (SYD).
“This is fantastic news for Queensland. It demonstrates the confidence that we have in the local tourism industry and our commitment to the Sunshine State,” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said in a statement. “This will give Qantas and American Airlines customers unprecedented access. These flights will make it one stop from Chicago to Hamilton Island or San Francisco to Townsville.”
Pricing for the new routes isn't yet clear, but you should be able to book these flights with American AAdvantage miles once they open for sale. An economy ticket will start at 40,000 AAdvantage miles each way, while business class would run 80,000 miles.
Qantas and American still need final approval of their joint venture, but it appears that's a formality at this point. Unless something goes awry, look for these flights to go on sale in the coming weeks.
Lead photo courtesy of Mertie via Flickr