Qantas' Melbourne-San Francisco Boeing 787 flights now on sale

By Chris Chamberlin, January 19 2018

UPDATE | Qantas' new Melbourne-San Francisco flights are now on sale, with the route kicking off on September 1 2018 and running four times each week.

Using its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, business class passengers can relax in one of 42 suites, configured in a 1-2-1 layout offering direct aisle access from every seat, ample storage space and a fully-flat bed for that all-important rest:

AusBT review: Qantas Boeing 787 business class, Los Angeles-Melbourne

Ahead of economy is also a premium economy cabin of 28 seats, spread across just four rows in a 2-3-2 layout:

AusBT review: Qantas Boeing 787 premium economy, Melbourne-Los Angeles

From Melbourne, flight QF49 will push back at 9:40pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, reaching San Francisco at 7pm local time.

On the return, QF50 takes to the skies at 10pm on those same days, touching down in Melbourne at 6:30am two calendar days later.

"We expect this flight to be popular with tourists and also corporate travellers looking to do business with San Francisco’s world-leading technology companies," said Qantas International CEO, Alison Webster.

“With connections to 17 codeshare destinations including Chicago, Seattle, and Vancouver, the new service also provides another gateway for Australians travelling into the US," Webster added.

Qantas' San Francisco flights also present new opportunities for travellers booking their journey using frequent flyer points, with many flights currently offering up to four business class seats plus four premium economy seats and at least nine economy seats on each departure, all for points-based bookings: a rarity on Qantas flights to the USA.

You'll need 96,000 Qantas Points for a business class ticket, 72,000 Qantas Points for premium economy or 45,000 Qantas Points for an economy seat, one way, plus a cash payment on the side to cover taxes, fees and Qantas' carrier surcharges, usually in the realm of $200-500 per person on USA routes.

But as a result of the new San Francisco service, Qantas will dial back its Melbourne-Los Angeles Boeing 787 flights to run two days per week – down from six days at present – complemented by its existing daily Airbus A380 service.

Qantas also flies from Sydney to San Francisco using a Boeing 747 aircraft.

PREVIOUS, December 15 2017, by David Flynn | Qantas will begin flying between Melbourne and San Francisco in late 2018 with the airline's Boeing 787-9 taking the new route under its wing.

Qantas and United Airlines already fly from Sydney to San Francisco, but the Red Roo's new Dreamliner service will be the only direct flight from Melbourne to Fog City.

Freshly-minted Qantas International CEO Alison Webster confirmed the new Dreamliner route ahead of today's debut of Boeing 787 flights between Melbourne and Los Angeles.

"We’re excited to fly Australians to one of the most popular destinations on the Qantas network in Dreamliner style and comfort. We’re proud that with the new San Francisco route too, it will strengthen tourism and trade links, particularly with Silicon Valley."

However, the Melbourne-based Dreamliner won't be doing a daily run to either Los Angeles or San Francisco – instead, the advanced jet will be shared between the two routes.

"Capacity between Melbourne and the US will be rebalanced to match demand for the two Californian cities, meaning that the Dreamliner will fly to Los Angeles some days of the week and San Francisco other days," the airline says.

"A significant number of our Melbourne passengers flying to Los Angeles already connect on to San Francisco," Webster explained.

Qantas is understood to be planning for the Boeing 787 – which will fly into Melbourne from the non-stop London-Perth service – to continue to San Francisco on fours day each week and Los Angeles on the other three days, complementing the daily Airbus A380 between Melbourne and Los Angeles.

Tickets for the Melbourne-San Francisco flights will go on sale early in the new year, with flights expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Brisbane will see its daily flight to Los Angeles switch from a Boeing 747 to the Boeing 787 in the second half of 2018, with the Dreamliner then continuing on to New York – meaning that NY-bound Qantas travellers from Sydney and Melbourne to Los Angeles will also enjoy a cross-country jaunt on the Dreamliner.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

chap6595

chap6595

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 May 2015

Total posts 51

Excellent news!

I can see the next batch of 787-9s being ordered...they will totally order more than 8

barecub

barecub

QF

27 Jul 2016

Total posts 11

good news indeed
even with the changes at TBIT I try to avoid LAX immigration at all costs

TZB88

TZB88

QFF

16 May 2016

Total posts 44

I think the LAX experience has vastly improved and no longer as bad as people make out. I went last week. Arrived TBIT early morning and it was fine. I also think the walk to connecting domestic flights is perfectly ok. +/- 10 mins walk after a 14 hour flight from Sydney can only be good for you.

PERflyer

PERflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2017

Total posts 82

Agreed the more flights into West Coast ports other than LAX the better!

mviy

mviy

05 May 2016

Total posts 527

Wow. MEL to SFO will be fantastic! I was hoping for this. Though I wonder what WP upgrade chances will be like. If they aren’t good I’ll probably still want to go via SYD.

mviy

mviy

05 May 2016

Total posts 527

I hope this doesn’t make it harder to visit the CX Lounge in SFO. This is going to be interesting.

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2336

Hopefully by the time this flight starts Qantas can have arranged access to the BA lounge, which I believe has been undergoing expansion & makeover for some time.

mcglynp

mcglynp

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Jan 2016

Total posts 61

Good news, I was looking at QF MEL to SFO flights only this week and lamenting that I was stuck with either a domestic at LAX or the aged 747 out of Sydney, neither of which are appealing. I like the current LAX to MEL scheduling so if the SFO schedule can follow suit this will be a great result.

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 931

Which "current" scheduling?
Current schedule is ~10am-6am for QF93 and ~2pm-9am for QF95 with ~10pm (QF94) and ~11pm (QF96) returns.

The 95/96 times change when the PER-LHR starts. 95 more drastically (7pm MEL-LAX, midnight LAX-MEL) I would expect the MEL-SFO to have similar times to the post March 95/96

Once VH-ZNC arrives, all 3 787-9s are being used on MEL-LAX with some A380 flights on 93/94 being replaced by 787 until PER-LHR starts. The MEL-LAX flight times are slightly messed up through Feb/Mar as a result.

TZB88

TZB88

QFF

16 May 2016

Total posts 44

If you're going via SYD, there are Dreamliner options to SFO.

Chris_PER

Chris_PER

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 451

I hope you're not suggesting that United is actually considered an option.

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 405

The next step is what to do with the next four Brisbane based 789s on top of BNE-LA-NYC. Chicago or elsewhere?

Packetman21

Packetman21

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2016

Total posts 108

Seattle, Chicago and Dallas are in the mix I believe for BNE.

MarkivJ

MarkivJ

22 Jan 2018

Total posts 64

I live in Seattle and I’d welcome it. That said, and considering AA is changing its elite benefits and reducing partnership with Alaska airlines, I don’t know how happy they’d be if their fellow OW partner builds close relationships with them (the AS partnership would be the biggest benefit of flying to Seattle).

Jazzop

Jazzop

02 Dec 2016

Total posts 84

Good news, but why split the 789s across LAX and SFO. Just deploy the 789s daily onto SFO and the A380s to LAX.

That's a win-win. If you're destination is either city then you have daily options. If you're transferring then you can select the city with the schedule that suits you. Or if you're holidaying then you can do the triangle: MEL - LAX - SFO - MEL (or reverse).

Am still waiting to see what the second US city from BNE is going to be, and this makes SFO more likely I think.

MelbFlyer

MelbFlyer

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

23 May 2013

Total posts 40

I agree, daily to both would be so much more attractive

Speak

Speak

30 Dec 2014

Total posts 14

Qantas has previously announced that 787 maintenance will be done in LAX, so the aircraft still need to rotate through that port.

aggie57

aggie57

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 152

Will they need to reduce A380 flights to LAX as they go through refit? If so would overall capacity to LAX be too little?

mviy

mviy

05 May 2016

Total posts 527

They have multiple options as to what to do when they return the A380. The A380 does fly a number of routes. So if needed they could cut back on any of them.

mviy

mviy

05 May 2016

Total posts 527

I meant refurbish the A380

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 931

They have an A380 at MNL for heavy maintenance 10 months of the year. It is likely they will do the refits during the maintenance (as part of heavy maintenance is striping the inside of the aircraft. They'd just put the new seats in when they finish)

SYD-DFW: 2
SYD-LHR: 3
SYD-LAX: 2
MEL-LAX: 2
MEL-SIN: 1
2 spare. 1 in MNL for most of the year.
Did they confirm year round SYD-HKG (currently A380 seasonal when the 12th isn't in MNL)?

anthony watts

anthony watts

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Mar 2015

Total posts 80

Great news! Flying from central Canada, I now have one stop to Melbourne. With no LAX and no Syd.!!

traveller90

traveller90

29 Jan 2012

Total posts 108

In reality, it will be good for Qantas's bottom line, but in regards to passenger services and comfort it is a step backwards. Long flights are the realm of the big jets, with the 789 just not suited for these distances from a passengers point of view. Once the hype settles, then the reality of the decision to use this aircraft will be felt.

It is to small and just not suited for 14 hr plus journeys. God forbid the planed PER/LHR route. It is like we are going from the 747's and A380's with space and luxury and returning to the 707's.

Don't forget the 747 and A380 are 10 across in Y, have a high spacious ceiling and places to stand and stretch giving a feeling of space, while the 789 is 9 across in Y, a low ceiling with nowhere to stretch or feel any space factor. I look forward to seeing the reviews posted over the next 12 months. Why do you think the budget airlines love this aircraft - don't forget QF has had the 788 in its fleet for over 5 ys now painted in JQ colours - funny how now it is all revolutionary in QF colours.

Don't get me wrong, MEL /SFO non-stop is great, just use the correct aircraft type.

Joe

Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 387

Totally agree. The 787 longer than 10-12 hours will be challenging for Y and Y+ for sure. Qantas nieveley reported that demand was high for the PER -LHR route....Mr Joyce surely you realise nobody has actually flown it yet on the 787? Only then will you be able to get excited once the pax jury verdict is in! I still hope the A350 is on the cards....that and the A380 are really the only way to fly.

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 931

I haven't had much issue with the 10-12 hour 787 flights I've had, but then again, that was on JL in Y+ (MEL-NRT-SYD, JFK-NRT-JFK). My other 787 flights to date (QR, JL, BA) have been in J.

kabe100

kabe100

30 Aug 2017

Total posts 35

This is typical Boeing bashing... United has been flying their B789 between LAX-SIN since last October.It is around 17 hours as well. People really fly in those jets in Y for that long...period..

brad2k

brad2k

11 Feb 2016

Total posts 15

I wouldn't say it's a struggle to sit through the 787 flight from LAX to MEL. An A380 would of course be better, but that seems like a pipe dream.

cavemanzk

cavemanzk

NZ

13 Aug 2016

Total posts 39

NZ has now been using the 789 since 2014 on routes 10-12hours without any major passenger issues with the smaller aircraft. Recently have introduced the 789 onto AKL-IAH which is over 14 hours.

Personally have found the 789 fine, if not better for long-haul travel than the 744.

kabe100

kabe100

30 Aug 2017

Total posts 35

United fly their 789 between LAX and SIN. That is around 17 hours.

johnaboxall

johnaboxall

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 735

"Silicone Valley"

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2336

QF's mistake, but we've fixed :)

Goat Guy

Goat Guy

03 May 2017

Total posts 5

I'll miss the Qantas First Class Lounge but nothing else at TBIT. Hopefully by the time the service starts Qantas will have worked out that 9 across in a 787 is stupidity and the next tranche will be 8 across allowing the plane a chance to be enjoyed rather than endured.

AJW

AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 511

My advice. Don’t hold your breath.

Jedinak K

Jedinak K

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 213

@Goat Guy Airlines care more about the business/premium end because that is where they make the majority of revenue. QF won't sacrifice an extra seat for economy comfort if it affects their bottom line. Their reasoning is: you want comfort - pay more money.

brad2k

brad2k

11 Feb 2016

Total posts 15

This is great news—definitely a much-needed connection and will eliminate an unenjoyable connection in SYD. Balancing the load between SFO and LAX should be an interesting way to test the market. However, it's Silicon Valley—not silicone—and more commonly referred to as The City By The Bay (no local would call it Fog City).

lind26

lind26

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 269

About time. Remember when this route used to start in Melbourne and refuel in Sydney before going to SFO? Fond memories of the upper deck on the 747.

rrysp

rrysp

23 May 2017

Total posts 10

For anyone not tied to a particular airline this makes for a tough decision in business class to the u.s from Melbourne. I'd argue virgin has the best product to the USA in business by a long way, however id be willing to fly the Qantas 787 to avoid lax. Smart move by Qantas here.

oruspicarous

oruspicarous

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jun 2015

Total posts 60

Get ready for even more hipsters now both in SF and Melbourne!!

But really though Melbourne and San Francisco are both very similar cities, rolling hills, expensive and somewhat homeless problem

sanj747

sanj747

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Nov 2016

Total posts 88

Current Dreamliner service should be to SFO or DFW when the A380 already serves LAX.

Himeno

Himeno

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 931

It is likely that had the US DoT approved the planned QF/AA JV, AA would have taken over the QF95/96 rotation (just like they did with AA taking over the 2nd QF SYD-LAX flight, allowing QF to return to SFO) and QF would have started a MEL-DFW.

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 405

I suspect there is also some rebalancing. Six flights a week plus a daily A380 MEL to LAX might not be getting the bookings they wished for so moving some flights to San Fransisco which may be underserved makes sense.

AT

AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 259

This announcements is fantastic. QF have always struggled over the years to make the economics on SFO truely work but finally its returning to roost. Deciding on increase capacity or launching a new route has a lot of risk so good on QF to invest into SFO and Melbourne this way. This limited non-stop schedule is the right move in launch phase and will grow to daily as demand increases.

brad2k

brad2k

11 Feb 2016

Total posts 15

Most Americans don't know anything about Melbourne (if they know of it at all), so hopefully this new route will help to build awareness in SF (and beyond).

melbtraveler

melbtraveler

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jan 2015

Total posts 56

Great News. Managed to snap a business seat over to SFO and First Seat back out of LAX over Xmas. The night departure out of Oz works well for me :)

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 405

I note it is now only twice a week 787 to LAX. The forward bookings may not have been great hence the shift to SFO. They may move them all to SFO next year and leave LAX just with the A380.

Covvers

Covvers

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 96

As someone who flies frequently to the Bay Area, albeit out of Brisbane, this is excellent news. I just hope that QF follows through with a service ex-BNE.

SFO is a delightful alternative to the hellhole which is LAX. Whilst I am not usually someone who travels by way of public transport, the amenity of the BART link (by way of a Pittsburgh-Bay Point bound train) to downtown is excellent.

mviy

mviy

05 May 2016

Total posts 527

I think they'd wait and see how the sales of the MEL-SFO service go before considering that.

Another issue is that the BNE-LAX service connects to the LAX-JFK service. So they can't reduce BNE services to LAX to make way for flights to SFO. Flights to SFO from BNE would have to be extra flights to the US from BNE.

Covvers

Covvers

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Jan 2018

Total posts 96

I don't disagree with that. I was talking about an additional flight and not a replacement for the existing flight to LAX.

With the move from the 744 to the 789 ex-BNE and the commensurate reduction in capacity, I could see the argument for QF to service another US port. Whether they will or not is a matter which only Mr Joyce (and a select number of his cadres) could properly answer.

Surely another nail in the coffin of the so-called "international" arm of VA.

bodez

bodez

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Apr 2013

Total posts 29

I guess leaving QF95/96 as Monday and Friday was picked carefully. So no Qantas service to SFO on Tuesday? IIRC QF73/74 doesn’t operate on a Tuesday. Would have thought they would try to get a daily coverage though I suspect this way is cheaper operationally.

mviy

mviy

05 May 2016

Total posts 527

Definitely cheaper not to have staff on for just the one flight when they could be on for two.

QF could go to SFO 7 days a week at some point. Maybe if the SYD-SFO flights end up using a 787 that will happen.

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 405

They may do some maintenance in LAX so would like to rotate the the Melbourne ones through.

fatty

fatty

24 Feb 2015

Total posts 21

Im booked akl-mel-lax in Sept specifically on the 787 for the new business class, but am now nervous Ill end up on crappy skybed 2. Any ideas on how flexible qantas would be to cater for this?...to ease my mind a bit?

lind26

lind26

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 269

Its an evening departure and an evening arrival. Might be a bit tricky getting to sleep when you arrive as presumably one would have slept on the flight from Melbourne?

Big T 42

Big T 42

16 Mar 2014

Total posts 5

I find it quite amusing the numbers that are excited for forthcoming 787-9 flights. Quite obviously they have not

"sat in" or "flown in" this aircraft. I experienced the PE

seat at an "Open Day" in BNE some weeks ago & was

horrified at the dis-comfort. Seats are suited to persons

no taller than 5'. Being 6'6" makes it the most uncomfortable

nightmare. Comments by "traveller 90" & "Joe" of 15/12/17

are absolutely correct. Also refer Aus.BT review of PE

seat on 18/12/17. Once again a most accurate assessment.

Other comments on LAX would seem to be from persons who for some time have not been thru there. My 3 experiences over the last 6 months have been from a min. of 20 mins to

a max. of 30 mins. The automated E system is a long needed

improvement & LAX is now no longer the head-ache of the past.

C_Perth

C_Perth

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

04 Jul 2018

Total posts 6

So I have just taken this flight, QF49 after taking QF10 from Perth to Melbourne first, and then the crew mentioned that that same 787-9 would next go on to SFO.

So just a pointer if flying from Perth on QF10 (going the LHR to PER to MEL flight) is that you will go through Passport control/immigration in Perth, so there is no need to when next arriving at Melbourne airport, you will able to go through a security screen check then into the terminal to the Lounges etc.

Domestic passengers on this flight need a photo ID but get orange tags on their boarding card to denote domestic.

Interesting and easy if you are heading to USA from Perth (and you prefer a 787-9 Dreamliner flight), much easier than the very early domestic flight from Perth to Sydney then Dallas on the A380 option where you need to bus between Sydney domestic and international terminal etc etc...


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