Travellers patiently waiting for a return of the Red Roo’s Sydney to San Francisco service now face yet another lengthy delay, with the route’s planned March 2023 restart pushed back to May 2023 – and that, after an October 2022 launch was similarly scrubbed.
Qantas’ timetable now shows Sydney-San Francisco flights removed through to May 22, 2023 – more than three years since Qantas suspended all international flights in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
If that timetable holds, the trans-Pacific route will see a Boeing 787 Dreamliner making four flights a week.
So why the delay? Long-range aircraft shortages are most likely to blame.
Only five Qantas A380s have reentered service to date, with the remaining five due by December 2023 following interior upgrades and maintenance.
The Dreamliners are also needed elsewhere, including treks to Los Angeles and Dallas/Forth Worth – the latter will see flights from Melbourne in December – plus the ongoing Sydney-Vancouver, Perth-London and Sydney-Johannesburg routes (the latter steps up to daily as of June 2023).
Qantas is due to receive three more Boeing 787-9s by the end of June 2023, which will come just in time for the launch of Sydney-Auckland-New York.
And while Los Angeles remains Qantas’ sole west coast hub, considering the time and hassle involved in transiting at LAX – a process which takes at least twice as long as the flight to San Fran itself – the direct Sydney-San Francisco service of competitor United Airlines will no doubt prove the smarter choice for most travellers.
Sporting the roomy Polaris business class – which our review described as “a cosy cocoon for relaxing, working and sleeping” – United’s daily Boeing 777 flight (UA870) from Sydney remains a very attractive option, while Brisbane-San Francisco will soon be added to United’s Australian roster.
The Red Roo’s own flights from Brisbane and Melbourne to San Francisco currently remain on ice, with no dates scheduled for a return.