Qantas' first flight to Dallas about to take off

By danwarne, May 16 2011
Qantas' first flight to Dallas about to take off

The era of Qantas flying to San Francisco direct is officially over, and a new one about to begin, with the airline's first direct flight to Dallas/Fort Worth taking off this afternoon.

CEO Alan Joyce, just out of hospital after recovering from a brush with cancer, was at Sydney Airport to see the inaugural flight off, though he wasn't cleared by doctors to fly post-surgery.

Qantas hopes the addition of Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) as a US hub will allow its alliance with American Airways to deliver many more short hops within the US (28 more cities, in fact) from its landing point than it could before.

Los Angeles is still Qantas' key passenger drop-off point, with 33 weekly flights landing there. Only four flights a week will land at DFW.

Although many Australian travellers flying to the US prefer to avoid the mayhem that is LAX airport, there are some distinct downsides for business travellers flying via DFW.

For a start, there's no Qantas lounge there, so it's a choice between American Airlines' distinctly second-rate Admirals Club, or British Airways' outsourced club.

Qantas' flagship plane, the Airbus A380, only flies to Los Angeles for USA runs. For DFW runs, Qantas is instead using extended range 747-400s, specially modified to carry more fuel than normal. The downside of them is that they still have the angled Skybeds in business class rather than true lie-flat seats (though Qantas says it does plan to upgrade its entire 747 fleet to the lie-flat seats eventually).

Another downside of the DFW route is that while Qantas can fly Sydney to Dallas direct, its planes can't quite make it all the way home directly, and must stop in at Brisbane to refuel.

As a result, some travel agents may inadvertently book travellers to fly Sydney-Dallas-Brisbane-Sydney and then on to another destination, when in fact travellers can change at Brisbane to go somewhere other than Sydney if they like.

Are you booked to go on the first SYD-DFW flight today? We'd love to hear from you! Let us know what happens on the flight, and your impressions of what Dallas/Fort Worth is like. Email [email protected].


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