Qantas has really been hyping their new 787s, which I guess I can’t blame them before, given that up until now they’ve only been able to operate ultra longhaul flights with A380s and 747s. In that sense, 787s open up a whole new world for them. While the most exciting route that Qantas will fly with the 787 is Perth to London as of March 2018, their first longhaul 787 route is Melbourne to Los Angeles, and that kicks off tomorrow, December 15, 2017 (which is today in Australia).
In celebration of Qantas launching their first longhaul 787 route, the airline has just announced another new route. Qantas plans to offer 787 flights between Melbourne and San Francisco as of late 2018. While the exact frequency and schedule details haven’t yet been shared, the plan is for tickets to go on sale in early 2018.
Given Qantas’ small longaul fleet, this new route will come at the expense of some existing capacity. As Qantas describes it in their press release:
Capacity between Melbourne and the US will be rebalanced to match demand for the two Californian cities, meaning that the Dreamliner will fly to Los Angeles some days of the week and San Francisco other days.
As it stands, Qantas operates 13x weekly flights between Melbourne and Los Angeles, so my guess is that Qantas will maybe shift 3-4x weekly flights in the market to San Francisco.
Qantas already offers 6-7x weekly flights between Sydney and San Francisco using a 747, so they’ll have quite an impressive presence in San Francisco. While San Francisco isn’t a huge city for Qantas’ oneworld partner American, it is a hub for Alaska/Virgin America, which they also partner with, so I imagine they’ll get a fair bit of feed there.
While San Francisco is United’s hub, they only offer flights from there to Sydney, and not to Melbourne.
In terms of the experience you can expect on the 787-9, Qantas has these planes in a pretty premium heavy configuration, with a total of 236 seats. This includes 42 business class seats, 28 premium economy seats, and 166 economy class seats. The business class seats are based on the Vantage XL seat, meaning there will be direct aisle access and quite a bit of privacy.
Qantas 787 business class
What do you make of Qantas’ new Melbourne to San Francisco route?