Qantas confirms launch dates for new Chicago and San Fran routes

Launch fares from $999 and $1,299 respectively, on sale now

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Qantas will launch flagged new non-stop services from Brisbane to San Francisco and from Brisbane to Chicago on 9 February and 20 April respectively. The announcement follows final approval for Qantas’ joint business arrangement with American Airlines which was approved by the US Department of Transportation last week.

Both routes will be operated by Qantas’ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

The BNE-SFO route will operate thrice-weekly, complementing the Australian carrier’s existing flights from Sydney and Melbourne.

Qantas’ BNE-ORD route will operate four times per week, trimming more than six hours off a return trip to the ‘Windy City’ compared with current options available. At 14,326kms, the flight will be the fourth-longest in the world, and the second-longest flight on Qantas’ network, and take approximately 16 hours and 20 minutes (depending on winds).

“The service also opens up a new Qantas gateway for Australians into North America, with access to onward destinations across American Airlines’ extensive network including to Canada and the North Eastern United States,” Qantas said.

The flight number QF85/86 pays homage to the 1985 Chicago Bears football team, winners of the 1986 Superbowl and widely regarded as one of the best teams in history. It follows the QF49 flight number given to airline’s Melbourne-San Francisco service as a nod to that city’s football team.

“This is the first time Australians will have a direct link to Chicago, the third-largest US city. We expect the flights will be popular with corporate travellers looking to do business there, but also with tourists wanting to experience some of the culture and history that Chicago is famous for,” said Qantas International Acting CEO Naren Kumar.

San Francisco skyline Photo by Lili Popper on Unsplash
San Francisco skyline | Image credit: Lili Popper on Unsplash

“The new route from Brisbane will cater for both leisure travellers and the growing number of Australian entrepreneurs wanting to connect with Silicon Valley and San Francisco’s world-leading technology companies.”

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the new flights from Chicago and San Francisco would pump more than $150 million into the Queensland economy over the next three years.

“These flights represent a great opportunity for Queensland, one that is forecast to support more than 1,700 jobs over the next three years.”

Launch fares ex-Brisbane, on sale from today, are priced from $1,299 to Chicago and $999 to San Francisco.

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 10 to 13 per week during the peak season from 2 January to 8 February 2020.

Flight schedules, subject to regulatory approvals, are as follows:

Flight no.  Route  Depart  Arrive  Days  Aircraft  Flight time 
QF85  Brisbane-Chicago  1530  1640  Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat  787-9  16h20 
QF86  Chicago-Brisbane  2150  0610+2  Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat  787-9  17h20 
QF59  Brisbane-San Francisco  2035  1515  Tue, Thu, Sun  787-9  12h40 
QF60  San Francisco-Brisbane  2215  0600+2  Tue, Thu, Sun  787-9  13h45 

Lead image: Chicago skyline | Image credit: Choose Chicago

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