Executive Traveller exclusive
United Airlines will resume direct flights between Sydney and Houston at the end of October, marking a total rebuild of the Star Alliance member’s rebooted Australian network.
A spokesperson for United Airlines tells Executive Traveller the first UA101 Houston-Sydney flight will take off on October 28, with Sydney-Houston’s UA100 on October 30.
Those flights will initially run three times a week – from Houston on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and from Sydney on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday - before confidently stepping up to a daily schedule from December 15 (from Houston) and December 17 (from Sydney).
Houston serves as United’s powerful Texas hub, with onwards flights to some 300 destinations across the USA, Canada and Mexico.
United’s Sydney-Houston route goes head-to-head with Qantas Sydney-Dallas/Fort Worth flights, which also means that Virgin Australia loyalists have a fresh travel option – especially for booking seats with Velocity points and enjoying status perks along the way – though the newly-minted Virgin-United alliance.
Of course, on a ticket paid for with cash, they’ll stand to earn Velocity points and status credits too.
Here’s how the schedule looks:
- flight UA100 will depart Sydney at 10.20am to reach Houston at 10am that same day
- flight UA101 leaves Houston at 9.15pm to arrive into Sydney at 7am two days later
And it’s a long flight, at up to 17½ hours on the Houston-Sydney leg and a more bearable 15h45m from Sydney to Houston.
Travellers will be pleased to spend those hours in United’s quiet, jet lag-diminishing Boeing 787 – especially if cocooned in one of the 48 Polaris flatbed business class suites or even the 21 Premium Plus premium economy recliners.
Polaris business class passengers and eligible frequent flyers in United’s MileagePlus program will begin their journey from Sydney Airport with a choice between the lounges of Star Alliance siblings Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines (for Velocity Platinums and Golds, it’s only the SQ lounge, which we Weber ally rate as the better of two anyway).
Ahead of the return leg from Houston, business class passengers can dine and relax at United’s Polaris lounge, while frequent flyers head to the United Club.
More to follow...