I’d argue the single coolest route within North America is Cathay Pacific’s flight between New York and Vancouver. It’s hands down the most comfortable way to fly coast-to-coast, despite the horrible flight times (it’s a redeye in both directions).
Another awesome fifth freedom route was Qantas’ flight between San Francisco and Vancouver, which unfortunately was discontinued a few years back. They used to fly from Sydney to San Francisco (which has since been discontinued as well), and then at least seasonally had a tag flight from San Francisco to Vancouver, which you could book by itself.
That’s all only mildly related to the main news — in January, Qantas will be launching service between Sydney and Vancouver six times. Nope, not six times per week, but rather six times total. That’s all.
The services will operate from 3 to 22 January 2015, departing Sydney on Saturdays and Wednesdays (with same day connections available from the major Australian capital cities), and from Vancouver on Sundays and Thursdays, operated by a three-cabin B747 aircraft, reconfigured with lie-flat beds in Business Class and the award-winning international Economy seat.
The flight will operate with the following schedule:
QF75 Sydney to Vancouver departing 2:50PM arriving 9:45AM
QF76 Vancouver to Sydney departing 11:45PM arriving 10:00AM (+2 days)
Now, due to Qantas’ financial situation, they have been making a lot of changes to optimize their schedule by tightening turn times and discontinuing less profitable flights.
I do find it really interesting that:
- They have a “spare” 747 during absolute peak season with which to operate this flight
- This is the best utilization they can get out of an aircraft, given there are no “economies of scale” here — I assume there are quite a few logistics involved in operating only a total of six flights, and I have to imagine it’s difficult to maximize revenue on them when opening them up for bookings only a few months out
I also find it interesting that the flight leaves out of Vancouver so late. If the plane will be sitting in Vancouver all day, why not have it leave at 8:45PM and get to Sydney at 7AM, for example? I guess maybe they don’t have an immediate use for it on the other end, but that still seems interesting.
I’ve checked award space on the route, and unfortunately as of now it doesn’t look like Qantas has any award space between Sydney and Vancouver.
This is probably not the most useful information in the world, though if you actually want to fly the route at least now you know it exists… for a very short time.
(Tip of the hat to David)