Ten great stopover cities for New York-bound travellers

By Chris C., August 3 2015
Ten great stopover cities for New York-bound travellers

While Los Angeles often wins as the default stopover point for Qantas, Virgin Australia, Delta and United passengers heading to New York, a number of airlines provide other one-stop options which can be worth exploring.

Regardless of which city you choose, it’s a great way to break the journey somewhere new – perhaps in a city you haven’t experienced before – and often costs less than booking separate trips to visit each destination.

Here are 10 one-stop ways to get to New York (via cities which don’t require a visa for Australian passport holders if you want to break your journey en route).

1. Dallas via Qantas, American Airlines

Ditch Los Angeles and jump on a Qantas flight from Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport – a 15.5 hour journey aboard the airline’s flagship Airbus A380.

Fly Qantas' A380 first class all the way to Texas...
Fly Qantas' A380 first class all the way to Texas...

When you’re ready to travel onwards, New York is just 3.5 hours away with Qantas partner American Airlines: offering over 20 daily flights and giving passengers a choice between arriving at JFK (Kennedy), La Guardia and Newark airports.

Read: Qantas boosts A380 flights to Dallas, Hong Kong

2. Hong Kong via Cathay Pacific

For an option out of left field, break your journey in Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific: taking in the markets, lights and tastes of the city-state and business hub.

After travelling in business class from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Cairns, the Hong Kong to New York route is also a great way to experience Cathay’s Boeing 777 first class suites, available on 3 non-stop flights each day to JFK, with a fourth tracking via Vancouver.

Cathay doesn't offer first class to Australia, but you can still fly it to New York...
Cathay doesn't offer first class to Australia, but you can still fly it to New York...

Added to that, Cathay also flies to Newark airport, but with business class as the highest service level.

Photos, video: Cathay Pacific opens new The Pier First Class lounge

3-5. The Middle East hubs via Emirates, Etihad, Qatar

Flying to New York via the Middle East certainly isn’t the most ‘direct’ option for travellers from Australia’s east coast, but remains a great way for Perth travellers to reach the Big Apple.

Cosmopolitan Dubai awaits for Emirates passengers, who can fly in the airline’s flagship first class suites on the entire journey, and with three Dubai-New York flights to choose from when it’s time to leave Dubai:

Read: Emirates A380 first class 'shower spa' review

Neighbouring UAE capital Abu Dhabi serves as the hub for Etihad, which flies its flagship Airbus A380s to Sydney and Boeing 787 Dreamliners to Brisbane, along with Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 flights for Melbourne and Perth.

There's plenty of room to move in Etihad's A380 First Apartments...
There's plenty of room to move in Etihad's A380 First Apartments...

Also flying twice-daily from Abu Dhabi to New York, passengers can choose from a late morning or early morning onward flight – the latter of which is upgraded to an A380 from December 1 2015, allowing Sydneysiders to ride the superjumbo on the entire journey.

Read: Up close with Etihad's A380 first class apartments

Not forgotten is Doha – reachable with Qatar Airways from both Melbourne and Perth, with a daily onward flight to New York using the same Boeing 777 aircraft that graces Australian skies:

Read: Qatar Airways Boeing 777 business class review

6. Vancouver via Air Canada

Hit the famous Canadian slopes and stop by Vancouver en route to New York and make use of Air Canada’s generous 64kg (2x32kg) baggage allowance for business class passengers to cover your skiing gear – and which is boosted to 96kg (3x32kg) for all Star Alliance Gold frequent flyers.

Air Canada's Boeing 777 business class: flying to Australian skies
Air Canada's Boeing 777 business class: flying to Australian skies

Air Canada flies daily from Sydney to Vancouver and offers direct aisle access to every business class passenger, with a daily non-stop flight onwards to New York and several one-stop connecting options via Toronto or Ottawa to suit every schedule.

7. Seoul via Korean Air, Asiana

For something different, why not make Seoul your stopover point when next flying to New York?

Korean Air flies to Sydney and Brisbane with its latest business class and first class seats, and will upgrade Sydney to the A380 across the coming summer months – the same aircraft type that jets onwards to New York twice daily.

Unwind in Korean Air's Airbus A380 first class suites...
Unwind in Korean Air's Airbus A380 first class suites...

Asiana too flies from Sydney to Seoul, and then onward to New York with a daily Airbus A380 flight that offers its flagship first class suites:

Also read: Asiana nixes plans for fully-flat business class to Sydney

8. Tokyo via Japan Airlines

Swing by Tokyo on your way to New York with Japan Airlines, which flies daily from Sydney to the city’s Narita Airport and then twice-daily from there to JFK.

You can nab a business class Sky Suite on either of those flights to New York (below), but pick the Boeing 777 service (JL6) if your budget stretches to first class.

JAL’s Oneworld partner Qantas also flies daily from Brisbane to Narita from August 1, but from which time its flights from Sydney will arrive at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, which doesn’t offer flights to New York.

Read: Japan Airlines B777 business class Sky Suite review

9. Taipei via EVA Air

Look to EVA Air for a Taiwanese stopover, with the airline serving Brisbane twice-weekly from its Taipei hub, and then beyond New York daily with its Boeing 777s and Royal Laurel Class service:

China Airlines also flies from both Sydney and Brisbane to Taipei, although only offers three flights a week to New York against EVA’s daily service.

Also read: China Airlines to launch Taipei-Melbourne flights

10. Honolulu via Hawaiian Airlines

Alternately, forget the cold and head to the warm beaches of Hawaii, with daily Hawaiian Airlines flights from Sydney to Honolulu and a four-times-weekly service from Brisbane.

Hawaiian Airlines' Airbus A330 business class: recliners, but not flat beds
Hawaiian Airlines' Airbus A330 business class: recliners, but not flat beds

That means you’d clear US passport control and Customs on arrival in Honolulu, and when it’s time to reach to New York, you can jump on Hawaiian’s daily flight to JFK as a US domestic passenger.

Also read: Hawaiian Airlines opens new Honolulu business class lounge

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 737

You could have at least whacked open webflyer and told us how much further we'd have to fly to take one of these rather roundabout routes.

For instance, SYD-DFW-JFK is 9970 miles. VIa LAX it's ten miles shorter, and via SFO it's an even 10000. HNL is 10040. 

ICN will cost you an extra 2000-odd miles, while going via DOH is nearly an extra 5000! Fuggedaboutit!

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2476

This article is about varying your choice of stopover city, Hugo, not about flying the most direct route – if you'd prefer to make the shortest possible journey, you still have that option.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 360

It's great for people needing mileage runs. My friend who flew to JFK via ICN on OZ got his star alliance (Aegean) gold in just one trip flying economy. He then got status matched to air Berlin and Alitalia from that Aegean gold. 

Not bad for one single trip to be a gold elite in all 4 major alliances (Star, OW, Skyteam and Etihad partner!) So he has lounge access to all major airports in the world!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

02 Nov 2013

Total posts 29

I flew a couple of extra but shorter flights, but did basically the same with Aegean and status matching with Air Berlin and Alitalia to get gold in all the big alliances. As an added bonus, I got my status matched with Turkish, which has given me an extra year of gold with Star Alliance.

Which is just as well, since Aegean has now changed its rules to make it much harder to attain or retain Gold.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 204

This varies depending where in the country you are...for Perth residents for instance going via the middle east is probably quicker.

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

14 Apr 2013

Total posts 327

I have traveled to NYC serveral times and while I do prefer going via LAX, I have found that goiung via Asia ie HKG, ICN, NRT, ect is cheaper and usually the connection times are retavly short.

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

06 May 2015

Total posts 54

What about San Francisco? That is a GREAT stop-over city.....is it not?!

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2476

Indeed it is – we were simply looking beyond the USA west coast to put together our list of 10, which wasn't exhaustive: there's also Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Johannesburg, Santiago and more that weren't included above.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 445

Maybe Singapore will be back in the not-too-distant future.

24 Apr 2015

Total posts 128

SFO is only 1 stop to NYC out of SYD. Who wants to go anywhere near SYD to go to NYC.

26 Jul 2015

Total posts 76

Entering the US via JFK is the biggest against for 8 out of 10 of these plans. The stop overs are a great idea, just a shame its ruined by, what must be, one of the worst entry points into the US. The Dallas arrival option would get my vote. Having said that, JFK is a good airport to leave from.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1024

I've entered the US at JFK 6 times. Only had a problem once, when the CBP agent I got couldn't understand why I had paid for the trip in yen and was hunting for any reason not to let me in, suggesting that I couldn't afford my own holiday.

Had more issues entering at BOS then at JFK.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 445

Look at all those awesome looking business and first class suites (I rarely experience >economy on international flights) and then you get to Hawaiian LOL.  All these American airlines really do charge a fortune for a way-below par product.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 340

Hawaiian is horrible, however Delta and particularly American Airlines have upped their game recently.  Both offer direct aisle access for Biz Class pax, with Delta using the herringbone layout found on Air New Zealand, Virgin Atlantic, Air Canada etc.  American on the other hand has gone for the same reverse herringbone layout seen on Cathay Pacific.

United is fully flat, but, like Qantas, doesn't offer direct aisle access in biz class.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1024

How about QF75 SYD-YVR > CX888 YVR-JFK.

03 Aug 2015

Total posts 1

Hi Chris, 

it is worth mentioning that now you can clear US customs in Abu Dhabi for all EY flights bound for the US and land as a domestic flight, it is a real time saver! Once you are through, you will be isolated from rest of the airport but there is separate EY Lounge after US customs.

24 Apr 2015

Total posts 128

NYC is only one stop via DFW out of SYD. No one from outside SYD wants to trasnit at SYD.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2013

Total posts 33

DFW works well. Easy transfer on the transit rail connecting all the treminals. Laid back Texan charm. Arrive at 2pm so stress free all round. 


A good article. I travel to MEL to  HKG via CX often and find it a great city. When I have to go to the USA, I have to somehow work Chicago into my trips and doing the HKG to ORD on CX works a dream as it is hard to do directly from Australia. I prefer the longer flights like HKG to ORD, compared to say MEL to SIN. The longer the flight the more work / eat / sleep you get to plan.

You'll need to fix that Hawaiian Airlines pic. They recently rolled out a new Business Class product which (I am pretty sure) is available on all SYD - HNL routes now.

Example of new cabin --> https://thedesignair.net/2014/12/19/trip-report-hawaiian-airlines-a330-200-business-class-november-2014/

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Mar 2015

Total posts 96

I have to agree with other commentators that the worst part of every trip for non-sydney residents is the sydney transfer.  it is just so tacky/third world.

Living in darwin we tend to go to Singapore by Jetstar rather than through sydney.

Years ago, while my now partner and i were "courting" (to use a v oldfashioned word), i think I flew across the pacific (yep, a real long distance relationship) every way mentioned except Hawaiian.  the very best was with Canadian Pacific 15+ years ago.  among the worst ; Air Canada in economy and United every class.   

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