Travellers eagerly awaiting Qantas’ long-in-the-works return from Sydney to San Francisco don’t have long to go now, with the Red Roo confirming everything is on track for its May restart.
Originally scheduled to take off in October 2022 before being shunted to March, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner connection will now take wing from May 22. If the schedule holds, it’ll bring an end to the Flying Kangaroo’s more than three year absence from the Fog City.
Qantas’ timetable shows the 13 hour 20 minute flight QF73 from Sydney taking off at 9:55pm every Monday, Thursday and Saturday, with wheels down at 6:15pm local time.
On the return, QF74 waves goodbye to San Francisco those same three days at 10:25pm, before touching down in Sydney at 6:05am two days later. The west-bound service is slightly longer at 14 hours and 40 minutes.
Why the multiple delays? Long-range aircraft shortages are most likely to blame. Only six Qantas A380s have reentered service to date, with the remaining four due by December 2023 following interior upgrades and maintenance.
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.
When Sydney-San Francisco takes off, Qantas will have some incumbent competition on the route, with United’s daily Boeing 777 flight (UA870) having a significant head start on the Oneworld airline.
Sporting the roomy Polaris business class – which our review described as “a cosy cocoon for relaxing, working and sleeping” – United Airlines’ 777 flight remains a very attractive option, while its Brisbane-San Francisco has the Queensland market firmly locked down.
The Red Roo’s own flights from Brisbane and Melbourne to San Francisco currently remain on ice, with no dates scheduled for a return.