Qantas LAX schedule change to impact thousands of flyers

The airline is shifting from morning to late-afternoon departures for some superjumbo flights.

By David Flynn, December 22 2023
Qantas LAX schedule change to impact thousands of flyers

Qantas is switching up its A380 schedule on flagship route Sydney to Los Angeles, and the move will result in some challenging connections within the US while almost ruling out same-day onward flights to eastern hubs such as New York and Chicago. 

Instead of the daily QF11 superjumbo making its leisurely mid-morning jaunt from Sydney to arrive into LAX around 7am, Qantas’ timetable from 31 March 2024 shows QF11 departing at 5.15pm, resulting in a 1pm landing at Los Angeles.

While that’s certainly a better time for checking into your LA hotel, the revised schedule is not as friendly for passengers with onward flights to many other US destinations.

New York is a case in point: flying from west to east means you already lose three hours in timezone-hopping alone, while the actual flight takes between five and six hours, so even if you scrambled for a 3pm flight from LAX to JFK you wouldn’t reach New York until almost midnight.

Of course, anyone flying with Qantas from Sydney to New York would be better off on the Sydney-Auckland-New York service.

So let’s say you are bound for Chicago: it’s a similar story to NY, with American’s 5.40pm from LAX touching down in The Windy City around midnight.

You’d be better off staying at LA for the night, enjoying some shopping and a nice dinner, resetting youir bodyclock to US time and then darting east to Chicago the following day.

Seattle is another popular add-on leg for QF11, but after a four-hour layover at LAX the next flight from Oneworld partner Alaska Airlines reaches Seattle at almost 8pm.

If QF11’s late afternoon departure just doesn’t work for you, consider shifting to the daily Sydney-Los Angeles flight of American Airlines, which leaves Sydney at 9.20am and is a Qantas codeshare as QF4111.

Qantas’ schedule also shows a Friday QF17 Boeing 787 service departing at 10.20am and arriving at LAX around 6am.

There’s no real change to the QF12 return flight, so Qantas’ move to a late afternoon departure of QF11 will reduce the time these superjumbos spend sitting around at LAX.

And if your eye is on the south-eastern cruise hub of Miami, Qantas woud probably steer you towards its Sydney-Dallas flight.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Aug 2017

Total posts 13

No doubt aimed at forcing people to pay a premium for the non-stop AKL-JFK service. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Mar 2017

Total posts 16

There’s other carriers that offer morning departures/arrivals. 

AA Codeshare QF4111 10:20/06:10.

No one is forcing you to do anything. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Nov 2016

Total posts 47

No, it is more related to the A380 operating JNB-SYD, which arrives SYD at 13:25. That aircraft is turned around and then operates SYD-LAX 

For 20 years we've been arriving into LAX from SYD at 0700 am ... it was a great flight, we drive 3 hours from LAX inland as many other people do plus plenty of people have time to get connecting domestic flights.  Now what?, if the flight is delayed and arrives at a much later time most pax's will have to camp in the terminal overnight.  

Once again Qantas making thoughtless (selfish) decisions  .....  the most unfriendly, inconvenient airline scheduling ... YES????  

I so wish we had more competition with airlines in Australia.  

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1251

You know... There are other airlines that Qantas? Personally, if I was hanging around the LA area, the new timing works better for me... Only have to stay up for a few hours, rather than that whole day.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Mar 2017

Total posts 16

So you arrive at your destination around 6 or 7pm. Just in time for dinner & some shut-eye. I wouldn’t call that inconvenient. I’d imagine it would be better to combat jet lag. 

There’s plenty of competition for this route. There’s no less than 5 Carriers. There’s American, Delta & United & Virgin that fly direct to LAX. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Sep 2019

Total posts 3

We depart BNE 9:20pm arrive LAX 6pm.  Sleep too long on the plane, can't sleep at destination. Makes sleeping for a few days a little difficult.

DGP
DGP

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jan 2012

Total posts 173

Virgin haven’t flown for a few years now. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 462

Makes sense - it's ridiculous to have the aircraft sitting on the ground at LAX for 15 hours. Yes, they can do minor maintenance in that time, but it's still not an efficient use of the airframe.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

04 Aug 2017

Total posts 11

Spot on - having it sit idle means it's not earning $$ for QF. Whether that affects loads remains to be seen.

John. We’re talking about an A380 here, it’s not like these things are scheduled down to the hour. The truth is, the plane has no where else to be throughout the entire QF11/12 rotation, meaning it costs them nothing in terms of aircraft efficiency to do an AM departure. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Feb 2017

Total posts 15

@newyorkadviation - completely incorrect.   the A380s can now be rotated with the JNB schedule, so no longer will be sitting idle in LAX for 15 hours.   And "these things" are definitely scheduled down to the hour.

Saving a handful of dollars is worth the inconvenience to your customers.

07 Jan 2014

Total posts 42

Yawn. Air NZ’s transpacs have been arriving in LAX at this time for years. If an early arrival is so important to you - fly AA.

29 Mar 2017

Total posts 16

Flying into Dallas for east coast is not much better.  You arrive at DFW mid afternoon, rush through immigration to catch a connecting flight to the east coast that arrived after 10pm.  Further what happens if there is a delay with the Aust to US flights.  You need to catch the red eye to the east coast.  A step backward for Qantas scheduling.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2016

Total posts 163

I wonder if this would actually make immigration better? Would be interesting to know how many seats are arriving within a +1/-1 window for both times

30 May 2014

Total posts 12

They won't improve utilisation by this move. The ground time will only be transferred to Sydney.

There will be another reason for this change, especially as its not every day.

Let us not get started on the 12hrs it wastes on the ground in London each day. The current QF1/2 requires 3 frames to operate it, very poor utilisation.

A380 utilisation at Qantas is not efficient.. The only time the utilisation is good is when they are catching up from extensive delays. This is in complete contrast to the 330 and 787 fleets which push utilisation to what many would say,  unsustainable levels to maintain a decent schedule integrity.

Part of an airlines choice of schedule is connections. It is true that Dallas has filled the need for US connections however the timing on SYD-DFW is not the best for all connections either, the Sydney flight lands in Dallas too late.

With Johannesburg coming online for A380 next year that route will use an inbound QF2 or 12 aircraft to operate QF63 and the inbound QF64 will turn into the QF11 (with this new timing) or QF2.

This will improve A380 utilisation a little. 

My wife and I just flew syd-dfw-rdu and really enjoyed the flight schedule. Get on board and have 4-5hrs to relax/work before getting a really good sleep in. Landed in Raleigh at around 930pm which is lateish but doable with only a 2.5hr flight from dfw rather than the much longer flight from lax

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Nov 2011

Total posts 25

With Project Sunrise having doors at each seat, could Qantas refurbish the 787 business suite to have doors like Delta has on their Vantage seats?  They are essentially the same model right?  I realise this would add weight to the aircraft but would be such a nice option to have doors when sleeping on the long overnight flights ex USA/Canada etc.  I am surprised they didn't do this when refurbing the a380s.

Hilarious reading some of these replies. There are so many daily options to the USA you can mix and match as much as you like and even Qantas has more options out of the East Coast of Australia to the USA.  You'd think from some of the replies that Qantas had removed all access to the USA ... suggest some people on here need to update themselves instead of the ridiculous comments about Qantas. 

03 Oct 2019

Total posts 2

You are spot on @mitchsydney the way peoples are carrying on it is if everybody on the plane wants to connect to an onward flights LAX that day, I’m thinking it is a very small %. We just flew in on QF 15 and got in there at 6pm it was perfect dinner a few beers and a nice shower great night sleep and got a connecting flight at 10am the next day, it set us up for a wonderful holiday. 

Some people just love to bitch about everything!

03 Mar 2023

Total posts 14

Agree.  I much prefer a 6pm arrival when flying across the globe anywhere.  You can then just enjoy dinner and go to bed.  It makes a massive difference when combatting jetlag and getting into the new time zone.  Absolutely hated the early morning arrival into LA and having to try to stay up all day, not to mention being unable to check in to hotels etc.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Mar 2018

Total posts 26

If you're fed up with QF and want to get into JFK at a reasonable time, you could always try (as for 17-18 Oct):  

SQ228 MEL-SIN (A380 dep 16:40, 7h50) + SQ24 SIN-JFK (A350, 18h40, arr 18:50)
airtime: 26h30m, SIN layover 2h40, P2P 29h10

OR

SQ222 SYD-SIN (A380 dep 16:00, 8h20) + SQ24
airtime: 27h0, SIN layover 2h50, P2P 29h50

Longer point to point, it's true, but minus the LAX experience or DFW change, and minus suffering UA/AA on the lengthy domestic legs, and better service and food to boot.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Oct 2017

Total posts 92

Sorry David but LAX is notoriously slow in processing Non U.S. passport passengers and 2pm arrival with wheels up on AA at 4pm aint going to happen. Lax needs 3 hours turnaround minimum, and a slight delay out of Australia means profuse perspiration whilst boarding that connecting flight in all my experiences. 

emd
emd

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

17 Oct 2014

Total posts 12

Which is why you should avoid LAX as your connecting point.

The government should really work on having immigration clearance in the originating port in Australia as Ireland does.But recent decisions by the government in foreign affairs have hardly made our case easier.

And of course it would need to be reciprocal,and public service opposition would be considerable.

could it also be something to do with weight ? Presume an aircraft taking off at 5pm or later, can carry more people/luggage/freight, than same aircraft taking off at 11am. The BNE/LAX A332 departs at 10pm when cooler. Doubt if same aircraft could take off at 11am with same load. The A332 was never designed to fly for 13 hours.

29 Mar 2018

Total posts 20

Has nothing to do with weight. The BNE/LAX flight was operating double daily some days last year and one of them was a day flight. 

21 Jun 2022

Total posts 4

I don't know when the last time Travelwell you have gone through LAX customs, but I have twice now and both times in the past 6 months - you scan your passport - do a short check with one of the officers and then it is straight out.  It hasn't taken longer than 15 minutes to get out to baggage, and then to recheck your bags is very straight forward.    

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2018

Total posts 27

Yet another reason not to fly Qantas.   After my BNE-LAX imprisonment last June in an A330 - an aircraft NEVER designed to fly long haul, I determined to quit Qantas sub-standards altogether.   The sheer pleasure of travelling United BNE-SFO this year, AA domestic USA and looking forward to Star Alliance return the long way via Europe and Asia I have yet to reconsider the best travel decision I have made in decades.   Qantas lost the plot some time ago in the pursuit of profit at all costs and customer consideration is the very last in a very long line of business priorities ... and LasloyP you must be travelling on diplomatic papers or staff ID to clear LAX immigration in anything less than 2 hours, speaking from much painful experience.   Suggesting a 2-hour turnaround to make a 4pm NYC connection is just plain fantasy.

11 Apr 2018

Total posts 30

It’s always interesting to read different views on time to fly. I am flying QF11 next Feb (before change) “from” Brisbane via Sydney because A 330 has no PE and also arrives late in afternoon. And A 330 is a milk crate :) I don’t sleep really on long haul so prefer morning departure and also prefer it meal wise .  If you have a connecting flight it’s a pain staying in LA one night. You will never please everyone but we are all allowed to have a preference and choose flights based on that .

Great idea. Hate hanging around waiting for hotel check in time.  

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 148

Great for me. I can fly the A380 land at a decent time in LA, have dinner and sleep. Getting into LA at 6am is brutal on my sleep cycle, and too early for hotel check in. 

For me it’s a win.

Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 317

I know that it's not popular for all those with connecting flights, but QF11 departures in the morning were awful for trying to sleep.  Departing at 11am and arriving LAX at midnight Sydney time, yet it's 6am LA time.  Trying to get a good night's sleep starting mid-afternoon is impossible for most people, even in First or Business.

08 Feb 2018

Total posts 159

I don’t mind this but there is more than enough demand for 2x daily. QF keeps capacity low so prices are high, forces people to choose any number of other options. If that’s their strategy then the arrival time is probably the least of their concerns.

09 Dec 2023

Total posts 12

An aircraft on the ground for over 12 hours is not economical use of the aircraft, especially if it is not at a home port. Prior to the A380s arriving, this was happening with B747s with two in LAX, two in LHR and one in Tokyo. Qantas has progressively tried to eliminate this unused downtime.  A maintenance base was established at LAX so scheduled maintenance could be carried out during this downtime.   MEL – LHR was changed to the middle of day the arrival and departure at LHR with ex SYD plane going MEL and the opposite for ex MEL plane. This reduced LHR aircraft requirements from six to five.

Initial operations of A380s at LAX and LHR were identical with the B747s they replaced.  SYD – LHR reverted back to inefficient operations when the MEL A380 was replaced with the B787 operations operating LHR – PER – MEL – SFO/LAX.

With MEL – LAX becoming six times a week, and MEL – SFO not recommencing, as per my post to Qantas axes Melbourne-Perth 787 flights, the 787 would be on the ground in MEL for around 20 hours. This brought forward what will happen for operational purposes, when LHR – PER is operated by A350ULRs to make A350ULRs operating SYD – LHR possible.  The A380 inefficient operation at the LHR will remain until replaced by an A350ULR on the same schedule and a BNE – LHR direct by another A350ULR arriving and departing LHR in the middle of the day.

A morning A330 and an evening B787 from SYD have removed the inefficient operations in Tokyo.  However, this inefficient operation of B747s allowed pairing with SYD – JNB to be efficient use of the aircraft on JNB sector.  With JNB sector being over 24 hours, it would be inefficient if not paired with another flight. This has necessitated SYD – LAX to be moved from a mid-morning departure to a late afternoon departure.   

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

26 Jul 2012

Total posts 38

Travel other airlines that get it!!!

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 388

Lots more late aircraft when the A380s start operating SYD-JNB and back.

(As if Qantas didn't already have plenty of those).


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