Qantas drops San Francisco service and adds Dallas/Ft. Worth service

Starting May 14, Qantas will discontinue their San Francisco to Sydney service, and instead add four times weekly service between Dallas/Ft. Worth and Sydney as of May 16. The flight from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Sydney will stop in Brisbane, while the return flight from Sydney to Dallas/Ft. Worth will be nonstop.

The flights will operate with the following schedule:

Qantas 8 Dallas/Ft. Worth to Brisbane departing at 10:00PM and arriving at 5:00AM (+2 days) [16hrs]
Qantas 8 Brisbane to Sydney departing at 6:30AM and arriving at 8:05AM [1hr35min]

Qantas 7 Sydney to Dallas/Ft. Worth departing at 1:25PM and arriving at 1:50PM [15hr25min]

On one hand this decision makes perfectly sense, since Dallas is a huge American hub, giving Qantas plenty of feeder traffic. San Francisco isn’t a hub of American’s, so connection opportunities on Qantas were somewhat limited, at least as far as nonstop destinations out of San Francisco went. At the same time, I assume there were a fair number of people originating in San Francisco, not to mention a ton of cargo.

The question is, is the new flight really any more convenient for those that are connecting? Assume you live in a city that requires a double connection to get to San Francisco on American, like Kansas City. Previously you had to fly from Kansas City to Dallas/Ft. Worth to San Francisco to Sydney, and now you have to fly from Kansas City to Dallas/Ft. Worth to Brisbane to Sydney. Is that really any more convenient? Yes, the return would now be a one-stop itinerary, though the outbound is still two stops. I assume this is largely a marketing tactic, since the Dallas/Ft. Worth to Sydney flight is considered a “direct” flight, so psychologically maybe many won’t think about the stop in Brisbane.

Furthermore, from Qantas’ perspective, the outbound segment from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Brisbane is blocked at 1hr20min longer than the San Francisco to Sydney flight, and the Sydney to Dallas/Ft. Worth is blocked at 2hr longer than the Sydney to San Francisco flight. I assume the extra fuel will come at the expense of some cargo, since Sydney flights are often weight restricted to begin with, no? Not that I’m suggesting airlines do this, but there’s a reason that several cargo airlines have a base in Anchorage — it’s expensive to carry extra fuel!

Most interesting (to me at least), is that the return flight now seems to be the world’s third longest flight in terms of distance. Sydney to Dallas/Ft. Worth clocks in at 8,578 miles, exceeded only by Singapore’s nonstop Los Angeles to Singapore and Newark to Singapore flights, as far as I know.

Then there’s also an implication here for United flyers. Expect upgrades to get just a bit tougher on the San Francisco to Sydney route, as undoubtedly some Bay Area locals will start flying United (for the convenience of the nonstop). Who knows, maybe United will add a second frequency out of San Francisco.

Anyway, I’m sure Qantas thought this one through, since it wasn’t a decision they made overnight. Apparently they’ve been considering Dallas service for about a decade now. I’m just not sure I see all that many benefits to consumers at large (I suppose with the exception of those living in Dallas/Ft. Worth) and also to Qantas… but I suppose it’s all about the marketing.

Comments

  1. > Then there’s also an implication here for United flyers. Expect upgrades to get just a bit tougher on the San Francisco to Sydney route, as undoubtedly some Bay Area locals will start flying United (for the convenience of the nonstop).

    And expect airfares to go up.

    Kudos to UA for hanging in there when more competition to Australia routes. UA wins this round.

  2. Don’t forget QF operates ERs to/from the US – which means no cargo restrictions (at least limited restrictions to LAX), unlike UA’s 744 classics.

  3. From Dallas Morning News…”Qantas said it will run a premium coach product and a business class on the 747, which seats about 416 passengers.” I guess Qantas will be flying the two class longreach 747 with no first class. Not ideal but as a Dallas based Aadvantage flyer, the new route is great news.

  4. I was surprised to see them completely drop San Francisco, basically giving that local market to United. Wonder if V-Australia will consider SFO entry?

  5. Remember, Brisbane is also a big domestic hub for Qantas, serving a number of cities that SYD does not serve. If QF was seeing a lot of double connections on their end, this will make life easier for some. Imagine having to fly xxx-DFW-SFO-SYD-BNE-xxx. Now its just xxx-DFW-BNE-xxx. Sure SFO-SYD is probably a popular market, but QF knows best where their traffic is originating and terminating and I’m sure this makes sense.

    The international *departure* from Sydney makes a lot of sense – that’s where their best lounges and best international facilities are, and thats when they want to have customers using them. Upon returning into BNE, the facilities are adequate enough for arrivals lounge type use.

  6. QF is the only carrier operating the 747-400ER, which has upgraded engine thrust, fuel capacity, and of course increased max takeoff weight.

    QF will fly full cargo and pax loads to and from DFW. Also allows many to connect in DFW vs LAX which is a much nicer pax experience.

    @Mike,

    I don’t see this as an A380 route as much as it would be a perfect 787 route, maybe even a few times daily with a 787. QF can’t fly the A380 currently LAX-SYD with a full payload so how would they make it from DFW?

  7. That’s pretty cool news for me. Only $938 return trip from 1st of May till 8th of June, it’s a bargain!!

  8. Unlike direct flights with a stop in USA which often involve a change of aircraft and risk of misconnecting, the transit in BNE on DFW-SYD will be same aircraft.

    All the Qantas 747-400ER a/c currently have first class seats, so oneworld emerald passengers flying business can get a nice seat … at least until first class is removed from the a/c (due later this year).

  9. Be careful before booking Qantas. After making sure I had a mileage earning flight for AA points (some Qantas flights earn nothing), Qantas gave AA a different code after the flight! Despite that I have an invoice with a miles earning code, AA won’t change it without Qantas directly giving them info and it’s impossible to get Qantas on the phone unless you are in their FF program.

    For anyone considering flying Qantas, I suggest you also consider that you may get no miles and no customer service on the ground.

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