Qantas has wasted no time launching the world’s fourth longest route after receiving approval last week to form its long-awaited joint venture with American Airlines.
The non-stop 14,326km-flight from Brisbane to Chicago will begin operating from February 9, 2020, under the flight numbers QF85/86.
Qantas chose the flight numbers to pay homage to the 1985 Chicago Bears football team, which won the 1986 Superbowl and is regarded as one of the best teams in history.
Depending on winds, it’s expected to take about 16 hours 20 minutes heading from Brisbane to Chicago and roughly an hour longer coming back.
However, it still plays second fiddle to the airline’s longest route: Perth-London. This is the world’s third-longest airline route after Auckland-Doha and Singapore-Newark.
The Brisbane-Chicago non-stop offers a savings of more than three hours on the Brisbane-Los Angeles-Chicago flight that topped the airline’s search results when AirlinesRatings queried the Qantas website.
However, the journey can take much longer and Los Angeles has been known to be a difficult transit point.
Non-stops can be more expensive than indirect routes but Qantas is also currently offering a USA Sale with return economy fares between Brisbane and Chicago starting from $A1299.
There is expected to be keen interest in the route to the Midwest financial centre from business travelers and return fares start at $A8080.
Qantas will also on February 9 launch three times weekly Brisbane-San Francisco flights complementing its existing services from Melbourne and Sydney. Return economy fares on that routes start at $A999.
Qantas international chief executive Naren Kumar said there had been widespread interest in Brisbane flight since they were announced last month.
“This is the first time Australians will have a direct link to Chicago, the third-largest US city,’’ he said.
“We expect the flights will be popular with corporate travelers looking to do business there, but also with tourists wanting to experience some of the culture and history that Chicago is famous for.
“The new route from Brisbane will cater for both leisure travelers and the growing number of Australian entrepreneurs wanting to connect with Silicon Valley and San Francisco’s world-leading technology companies.”
The flights will be operated by the airline’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft which also fly the airline’s longest route between Perth and London.
The new routes will see a total of 14 weekly services year-round between Brisbane and the US, including the daily 787 Brisbane to Los Angeles service that continues to New York.
In addition to the new routes, Qantas will increase flights between Brisbane and Los Angeles from ten to thirteen per week during the peak season from 2 January to 8 February 2020.