Qantas to begin non-stop Chicago flights on April 20, 2020

By Chris Chamberlin, July 24 2019

Qantas will launch direct flights between Australia and Chicago on April 20, 2020, with the near-17 hour, 14,326km journey becoming the world’s fourth longest passenger flight.

Tickets are expected to go on sale around 10am today, with the inaugural service taking off from Brisbane at 3.30pm on Monday April 20.

The Brisbane-Chicago flights will feature Qantas’ long range Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and initially run four days a week, although Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says “we’ll want to get to daily flights as fast as we can.”

Qantas flight QF85 will depart Brisbane at 3.30pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, reaching Chicago's O'Hare International Airport at 4.40pm the same day.

The QF86 return leg will be wheels up from Chicago at 9.50pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, landing at Brisbane at 6.10am two days later.

Sweet home, Chicago

As the first and only non-stop flight between Australia and The Windy City, this will be a valuable ‘monopoly route' for Qantas.

Chicago-bound passengers will save more than six hours of travel time on a return trip compared to flying via Los Angeles, with Brisbane-Chicago being the first and only non-stop flight to Chicago from Australia.

Buckle up for the world's fourth longest flight, but Chicago is well worth the journey
Buckle up for the world's fourth longest flight, but Chicago is well worth the journey

In addition to being the USA's third-largest city and an attractive destination in its own right, Chicago also serves as a gateway to the mid-West and a hub for American Airlines, with over 500 daily departures including a high-frequency shuttle service to New York. 

"These new services will connect both Australian business travellers and holidaymakers with key centres of commerce, industry and culture in the United States," Joyce says.

As with its Perth-London Boeing 787 flights, Qantas will encourage travellers from other Australian cities to make a domestic hop to Brisbane and then embark on the long trans-Pacific leg.

How will passengers spend those 17 hours above the clouds? Travellers at the pointy end of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner enjoying 42 well-appointed Business Suites – each with direct aisle access – which transform into a fully-flat bed.

Qantas' Boeing 787-9 business class offers plenty of comfort to and from Chicago
Qantas' Boeing 787-9 business class offers plenty of comfort to and from Chicago

AusBT review: Qantas Boeing 787 business class, Melbourne-San Francisco

Further back are 28 premium economy seats arranged 2-3-2 in a cosy four-row cabin – although as Executive Traveller has previously noted, these excellent seats are hampered by a lack of legroom

Qantas Boeing 787-9 premium economy class is a great seat, the legroom not so much...
Qantas Boeing 787-9 premium economy class is a great seat, the legroom not so much...

AusBT review: Qantas Boeing 787 premium economy, Melbourne to Los Angeles

At the tail end are 166 economy seats.

The Brisbane-Chicago flight will launch alongside another new route, between Brisbane and San Francisco, as first fruit of a joint venture between Qantas and American Airlines.

Booking your Chicago trip with Qantas Points

Qantas’ new non-stop flights to Chicago can also be booked using frequent flyer points, and as with any newly-announced route there’s a better chance of snaring that points-based reward seat compared to a long-established route.

Expect to pay 224,000 Qantas Points for a return business class flight between Sydney or Brisbane and Chicago  – Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth fall into the next zone of Qantas' rewards table, so you’ll be up for 256,000 Qantas Points.

Flying Qantas’ Boeing 787 premium economy from Sydney or Brisbane to Chicago and back requires 168,000 points (192,000 points from Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth), with economy return at 102,400 points (110,400 points from Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth).

Chicago can also be used as a stop-over in an around the world trip booked using Qantas Points, with flights spread across several other Oneworld airlines including American Airlines, British Airways, Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific.

Read more: Using Qantas Points to plan and book a round-the-world trip

Original story by Chris Chamberlin; updates by David Flynn 

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

11 Sep 2015

Total posts 8

BNE-MIA would be AWESOME!!

22 Feb 2019

Total posts 6

There is probably not enough demand from business travellers to justify a direct ULH flight to Miami with it being a predominantly leisure market and hence more price sensitive but according to Great Circle Mapper, the distance might not be a problem being around 240km further then the current Perth to London flight. It would possibly be load restricted coming back to Australia at the Dallas-Sydney flight sometimes is due to headwinds.

BNE-ORD 14,326km

PER-LHR 14,499km

BNE-MIA 14,738km

15 Feb 2018

Total posts 2

Yes , but Syd./Rio non stop would be evev better.
Direct flights to Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago & Dallas from Brisbane would be awesome.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

06 Apr 2012

Total posts 89

Newscorp reporting SanFran as the second destination.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 388

Could they announce an order for more 787s today as well for further expansion in 2021/22?

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 421

I don’t think they will order more 787s today but rather wait until early next year at mid year results time when the deliveries of the current six are well under way, and see if there is space in their capital expenditure for 2020/21 year for another few. They may think 78-10s into that mix for high capacity Asian routes.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 940

I don't think they'll get any 787-10s, unless Boeing starts making them in Seattle as well.

Qantas apparently doesn't want any 787s made in Charleston.

Qantas has 9 options and 30 rights remaining under the original order. I could see them firming up those 9 options and converting some of the rights to options, but not until the next batch of 6 start arriving.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 293

What does Charleston have to do with not getting 787-10? Shouldn't the plane come out in the same condition, no matter which factory?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

30 Aug 2018

Total posts 2

I think Himeno is thinking of Qatar Airways - search "Qatar Charleston 787" - the CEO was annoyed enough with quality issues to go on video with their frustrations.


Charleston is the newer plant with a less experienced (in Aviation) workforce. 787-10s can only be made there as the longer fuselage sections do not fit in the "Dreamlifters"

21 Jan 2018

Total posts 4

Curious to know why they don’t want 787’s from there?

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 940

Multiple quality, manufacturing and safety issues with aircraft coming out of the Charleston 787 line which haven't happened with the Everatt 787 line.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jun 2015

Total posts 5

I hope they make the economy seats more comfortable than the 171/2 hour Perth to London. They definitely need more padding for that length of time. Won’t do again

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2017

Total posts 84

It’s the same aircraft so it won’t be any different.

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 137

This is great news, I wouldn't mind connecting via Brisbane to Chicago.

I'm excited to for the 1PM announcement.

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 220

Would sure beat going through LA - of course, a SYD/MEL direct to Chicago would be even better, but for now - 100% would connect in BNE vs LAX

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Mar 2017

Total posts 13

Seattle would be great.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

17 Jun 2019

Total posts 2

Whatever happened to plans for Perth to Paris, Rome, Berlin. See article, David Flynn 27 April 2017.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 388

They’ve got to sort out the Perth landing fee and terminal dispute first. And I believe it’s now Frankfurt not Berlin now.

04 Dec 2013

Total posts 124

It was never going to be Berlin. Berlin can't even get its new terminal open and sustain its own hub carrier, let alone support ULH flights... Aside from a few bearded hipsters working for startups, there is zero business demand.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 940

They were looking at BER as an option, had Air Berlin still be a member of oneworld and the new airport opened on time. The flight would have been to connect to the AB hub.

Though AB is dead and BER still isn't open... @[email protected] :/

04 Dec 2013

Total posts 124

Even then - and it's all moot now - why hub through BER (with zero O&D business traffic) when they've got LHR as a European hub and Frankfurt with massive O&D business demand and connections with LH to anywhere you can imagine?

I used to be a regular on QF5/6 to FRA and it was invariably loaded to the gunnels in business, with both local and a wide mix of connecting traffic.

QFF

19 Sep 2013

Total posts 151

Agree. Not unusual to have a small checkin crowd at FRA but full aircraft, with all the Brits coming across from UK.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 327

Perth airport happened.
AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 264

Any further expansion of the QF network from Australia is a good news story.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 340

I thought QF has already confirmed the second city is SFO? Although it would be nice to be another US city that QF hasn’t covered.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 940

QF hasn't confirmed anything yet. They have heavily suggested ORD with SEA, SFO and DFW as next likely contenders.

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 152

Frankly I’d rather do immigration at LAX than at O’Hare.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 940

How bad is ORD T5 compared to LAX TBIT?

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 940

For the 14 weekly AU-SFO (10 currently) and 14 weekly BNE-US (10 currently) mentioned in the QF press release, they'll need to drop BNE-LAX from 10 to 7, then have 4 to SFO and 3 to ORD.

21 Jan 2018

Total posts 4

Looking forward to the new ORD service and connecting in BNE seems fairly easy.

02 Nov 2017

Total posts 35

Not to mention that I'd much rather take a QF service from my home port to Brisbane than fly to LAX and spend 3 hours on AA to Chicago!

15 Feb 2018

Total posts 2

What about Syd/Bris/Rio or Syd/Bris/Lima ?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Apr 2017

Total posts 115

Can’t see Lima being done, Rio (most likely), Buenos Aires and I think São Paulo were mentioned as candidate cities for Project Sunrise.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

06 Apr 2012

Total posts 89

As a question, would Qantas’s 787 have range to do ORD-SYD nonstop ?

07 Jan 2016

Total posts 19

In short, no. To quote Alan Joyce from another AusBT article, "Brisbane has an advantage: it’s closer to a lot more (US) destinations than Sydney or Melbourne, so that gives us the ability to do things like Dallas, or to do other cities in the States that we can’t do from any other state in Australia”. Presumably Chicago is one of these cities he refers to which is beyond the range of a SYD/MEL flight for the 787-9.

05 May 2016

Total posts 526

After LHR and JFK, ORD would be one of the candidates for the next Project Sunrise route one would think, but that’ll be years away.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Apr 2017

Total posts 115

Sweet.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2013

Total posts 457

Great news from my perspective given my work now has me needing to get to the rust belt of North America a few times a year.

It will be interesting to see what lounge Qantas uses at ORD - the AA Flagship lounge is pretty impressive - hopefully that will be what we get to use.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Nov 2016

Total posts 90

Great news. One internal change in Aus makes the trip to Chicago easy. Looking forward to doing this flight once it comes on line.

30 May 2016

Total posts 4

Just wondering about the schedule, I read that the SF flight will be replacing the 8.50pm QF55 which departs at , and it was mentioned it will be running Monday-Wednesday-Saturday.

Would it stand that the Chicago flight would be 8.30pm Tuesday-Thursday-Friday-Sunday?

Considering this, leaving at 8.30pm, with a 17hr journey would have an arrival into Chicago at 10pm, which makes me thinks a evening departure unlikely.

I really like an evening departure on a Friday so you can get on your way after the work week, rather than waiting til Saturday. It'd be great to hear what others think about the likley schedule.

QantasFF Platinum

16 Feb 2012

Total posts 153

Hopefully the ORD-BNE flights will arrive BNE early morning (like DFW/LAX back to SYD / MEL etc) So hopefully a quick turn-around and departure from BNE-ORD will be departing late-morning to Midday, to allow for connecting flights from ADL/MEL/SYD etc and arrive into Chicago around midday/early afternoon, to facilitate connections within the Mid-west.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 287

Love Chicago!! One of my favourite cities in the US. Just wonder if they will ever build it up to daily at some point??

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 388

Indeed they do but they need to order more 787s first

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Aug 2014

Total posts 76

Joyce get your hands on a few A350/1000 (Fantastic birds)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Aug 2016

Total posts 55

I'll pass on BNE/ORD thanks very much. Wouldn't want to be flying there in the US-winter as I'd be on first name terms with the alternate airport staff (presumably MKE, IND, STL or CVG).

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

07 Dec 2015

Total posts 39

Great news and Chicago is a great city, even in deep winter. BNE is also an easy transit point despite the terminal change via SkyTrain or bus.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 737

Very true. Nice to get some exercise and fresh air doing the transfer.

28 Sep 2016

Total posts 4

Is Qantas likely to ever offer a First service from Brisbane to any destination??
It's been many years since Qantas has offered first class out of Brisbane on its own metal. Only 'Qantas' option for Brisbane first class flyers is to book Qantas codeshare flights in Emirates first class, which are available from Brisbane to Singapore, and from Brisbane to Dubai (and vice versa), as well as onward legs like Dubai-London.

23 Jul 2017

Total posts 30

It's a nightmare enough flying from Brisbane to Los Angeles on a 787. All the way to Chicago? Never. Have any of Qantas's poohbahs even travelled at the back of the plane, e.g. in 53E? Only when they have will they realise what a nightmare it is to go so far without a stop.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 305

Couldn't agree more. The promise of something "revolutionary" certainly didn't apply to the majority of seats on Qantas' 787's.

09 Aug 2015

Total posts 17

Qantas AU to LAX it's definitely not "a nightmare" in Boeing 787 business class. Maybe you're talking about economy class? And if you say it's a nightmare "to go so far without a stop" then your solution is, what, that Qantas flights to the USA stop over in Hawaii??

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 271

QF have definitely allocated good times for departure on both flights out of Brisbane as these will not put extra pressure on the QF lounges whcih are always very busy in the morning peak.

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

23 May 2013

Total posts 40

I wonder what lounge they'll use... BA is the only oneworld option in T5 however their last flight to LHR leaves an hour earlier than the QF flight is scheduled to leave

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 940

RJ and QR use the AF lounge. The other oneworld members flying from ORD use T3 for departures (T5 for arrivals) and use the AA lounges in T3.

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 152

I was in ORD week before last, the flagship lounge in T3 was empty when we arrived (9:45am) but was overflowing by 11:30am. Maybe all the international departures using the lounge are the reason, either way it was surprising.

01 Feb 2012

Total posts 370

What's the benefit for someone in Sydney? If I'm going to Chicago, it'll be the same number as stops as if I flew via DFW. Other than for people living in Brisbane and Chicago, it doesn't seem to be any more efficient.
AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 517

Benefit is you don’t need to do an I get international to domestic transfer in the US which can be risky if you don’t allow enough time and you don’t need to fly domestic on a US airline like American.

But other than that not everything needs to be of benefit you Sydney. Over 3/4 of Australian’s population is not in Sydney.

09 Aug 2015

Total posts 17

Plenty of benefits if you are in Sydney. I live in Sydney, and I would much rather take this flight instead of going via Dallas.

* Consistent product and service, it's QF all the way instead of QF to DFW and then American with a very different seat and service to Chicago

* No US connection makes life so much easier! Those long security queues at US airports, waiting around in a sub-standard lounge, no thanks.

* Also, a US connection at say LAX or DFW means collecting and then rechecking your luggage, as this is your first point of entry into the USA. You don't have to do this when you fly straight to Chicago.

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 152

The reality is that if you’re going to Dallas or Chicago you’ll mostly be connecting to a domestic AA flight. Both are hubs, yes Chicago is a large city but a destination? Not really in my experience. I travel through O’Hare several times a year and have never left the airport.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Dec 2015

Total posts 11

You are missing one of the great US cities - friendly people, great architecture, clean air, wonderful food (especially steak!). Do yourself a favour and stop off for a weekend sometime.

Happy flying

Muzz

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 152

You are missing or ignoring my point. O’Hare is a transit port. Just look out the window next time you’re there and look at the number of regional flights coming and going. Most travelers go there on the way to somewhere else, just stating facts.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Jan 2017

Total posts 13

By passing LAX sounds terrific!! Down sides - Brisbane, no first lounge and no points upgrades to First!

02 Nov 2017

Total posts 35

That is true. It may be worth mentioning that for Qantas Club members and Gold status holders, the Brisbane international business lounge is a big upgrade, arguably the best intl J lounge in the country.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 271

Agree, the best QF lounge in the country by far. (Obviously the first lounge is a step up again).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jul 2017

Total posts 20

Has anyone compared the 787 Business Class seats to the First Class seats on 380 and if so how do they compare?

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 152

380 seats are much better. Well, as a bed it’s the killer. Plus room, for larger folks the 787 business seats are a little cramped.

24 Jun 2017

Total posts 5

The return leg departing at 9.50pm....hmmmm...peak hour at ORD

Just departed ORD on British Airways A380, around 10pm and it took 55mins from pushback to takeoff. Flight was already delayed and watched 15 or so planes take off in front of us, then held for another runway. You could hear the pilots frustration.

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 152

Agreed, that’s pretty common at O’Hare throughout the day. I’ve been in lines of similar size more than once. Having said that the airlines know this and generally allow for it in scheduling. Plus ATC at O’Hare do a great job of moving traffic. Lots and lots of puddle jumpers amongst those larger aircraft.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 421

Even on a short flight like DFW to MHK they timetable one hour thirty for a one hour flight. Very often it comes in 20 mins early. They will do the same for Chicago.

11 Dec 2016

Total posts 13

These routes are easy money with the small 787. United is killing it with the 787 IAH-Syd. They're easy planes to fill up and flying direct (especially to the US, more so than from) is so much better. And don't forget the Toronto traffic which will take this flight. expect fares here to be quite high with businesses opting for direct every time and tourists left to route through cheaper LAX stopovers. I only wish the airlines would be more aggressive in adding direct routes all around the world...

11 Apr 2018

Total posts 10

Given the alliance with AA is driving this I assume the only way to get to NYC from Brisbane on Qantas Metal will be via LAX? Connections from ORD for example would be with AA?

01 Apr 2014

Total posts 53

Correct - ORD-JFK would be on AA. Whilst AA do have direct ORD-JFK on their own metal (usually B737), there are currently no QF codeshare flight numbers attached to those flights. If you want QF Codeshares on AA flights ORD-JFK, you have to add in 1 stop:

via Pittsburgh (but PIT-JFK is usually 1 class regional jet service)

via DFW which is a bit of a backtrack

via Toronto

AJW
AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 517

Presumably the with the JSA approved and Qantas starting flights to ORD one would start to see some codeshares on flights like this.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 421

I am sure a whole raft of codeshares ex Chicago will be announced in the next couple of months.

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 152

I’m wondering how long that Qantas flight to JFK will last now. I mean, they fly or will soon fly into three major AA hubs so.... Maybe others who understand the scheduling aspect of this (aircraft idle at LAX for the day etc.) can add to this.

01 Apr 2014

Total posts 53

The x2 A380's that spend the day at LAX are due in part to scheduling preference of overnight flights arriving in the early mornings both ends, but they also undergo scheduled line maintenance at the QF engineering facility at LAX that was upgraded 2 years ago at a cost of $30m. Also, LAX is the only other port in the network where A380's crossover to rotate back through SYD Jetbase.

The B787 schedules will move around a bit as new routes / aircraft come online, but the daily QF15/16 BNE-LAX aircraft continues on as the QF11/12 tag LAX-JFK-LAX, so no idle time for that aircraft stateside in current schedules. Once Project Sunrise gives direct flights SYD-JFK, load factors from connecting flights into LAX in the mornings will determine the ongoing viability of the LAX-JFK tag flight.

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 152

Thanks, makes sense.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Oct 2017

Total posts 76

Do Australians really wish for longer flights or faster planes??

I'm pretty sure if the United States was placed geographically where Australia is, supersonic travel would be common today.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jul 2016

Total posts 3

Maybe in my working years (8 to go) but in retirement definitely not! Will enjoy the stopovers.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jul 2016

Total posts 3

How does Perth feel now when this announcement could have been for PER to CDG (Paris) or other European desinations yet they continue to fight with Qantas?


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