Qantas delays restart of San Francisco to March 2023

The airline pushes out its planned return of direct flights between Sydney and San Fran.

By Chris Ashton, September 5 2022
Qantas delays restart of San Francisco to March 2023

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 October 2022 restart pushed back to March 2023.

While Qantas declined to offer any comment on this delay, which is the fourth to hit the popular route, the airline’s timetable now shows Sydney-San Francisco flights are missing until March 27, 2023 – a solid three years since Qantas suspended all international flights in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

And even that date can be considered only as tentative: March 27 marks the beginning of the ‘northern summer’ scheduling period adopted by airlines around the world, so while this could be the relaunch date it might also turn out to be just a convenient and logical placeholder.

So why the delay? Long-range aircraft shortages are most likely to blame.

Only half of Qantas’ ten A380s have reentered service, with the remaining five due by December 2023 following interior upgrades and maintenance. Its 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 Perth-London and Sydney-Johannesburg routes. 

Qantas is due to receive three more Boeing 787-9s by the end of June 2023 – but if the airline can’t see some more Dreamliners in the hangar by March, this could result in yet another delay on the San Francisco service.

For now, Qantas is forging ahead with Los Angeles as its sole west coast hub, with several days a week featuring the first class-equipped Sydney-LAX A380, with the Qantas LAX first class lounge having reopened in August.

However, 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.

Brisbane-San Francisco will soon be added to United’s Australian roster, complementing the airline’s presence in Sydney and Melbourne.

The Red Roo’s own flights from Brisbane and Melbourne to San Francisco currently remain on ice, with no dates scheduled for a return. 

Qantas is gradually rebuilding and expanding its international network, unveiling a host of new routes including Sydney-Seoul and Sydney-Bengaluru  while Sydney to New York via Auckland will jet off from June next year.


21 Aug 2022

Total posts 9

Plenty of other airlines flying to the USA or Canada that do not cancel flights last minute, are adding flights and have an as good or better product. Competition means customers do not need to play the Qantas roulette. 

yes & cheap as chips right now. Last min seats departing late Dec or early Jan to SFO from BNE, SYD, MEL for only $1799 rtn. Not sure if any out of ADL.


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 834

I've been told by travellers that LA and San Fran haven't bounced back from Covid, the cities are dead.

I also met a tour operator from Las Vegas on the Isle of Capri in Italy (how crazy), he said Las Vegas was the only place in the US not to suffer due to the Covid shutdown, Americans still travelled to Las Vegas during Covid.

01 Jul 2021

Total posts 25

Qantas will never return to San Fran at this point.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Aug 2022

Total posts 13

Personally I still prefer flying on the super jumbo. Flying to LAX just hits different and his much more memorable then the old 747 flights to SFO. Transit is also better in LAX and AA often operates more premium aircraft from LAX. Also will this be on a Dreamliner or the 330

changing terminals at SFO is much easier than at LAX, due to poor design at LAX.


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1446

The delays in these last 787s is starting to bite, plus I expect a delay in getting the A380s up and running until they are sure they will have full loads. As others have noted; seeing how business returns after another COVID winter.

BNE, SYD, MEL to SFO return at Xmas now $1799 rtn & less for kids  on a much better & safer airline than qantas

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Aug 2017

Total posts 6

I have return Classic Rewards flights in J booked for next April...I assume if the service isn't running by then I'll be placed on QF11 and then an AA connection to SFO? 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 32

I'm certainly not an expert on these things but how is the Johannesburg link more popular than SYD-SFO?!? I get LAX, LHR etc etc but surely Jo-berg wouldn't qualify over SFO..this is so disappointing.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 32

...furthermore the family and I are booked on a QF flight from SFO to SYD on Jan 22nd booked AGES ago...assume thats going to get bounced to LAX now :(

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1042

Qantas still has options for 39 787s. Maybe they should get some more.

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