Saturday, 1 September 2018

Qantas start nonstop flight to San Francisco from Melbourne

The Australian airline Qantas has launched its first-ever direct flight between Melbourne and San Francisco today on VH- ZND, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

The flight left Melbourne Airport at 2154 and is due to arrive in San Francisco 1612 and marks the first of four flights each week the airline plans to operate.  Qantas International CEO Alison Webster said the direct flights were a win for the 60,000 travellers who currently need to make a stop when travelling between Melbourne and San Francisco. “This is great news for Victorians, as they will have direct flights to San Francisco for the very first time. - This will reduce travel times by at least two hours which means less time in the air and more time to explore or work in San Francisco."

“Travel between the United States and Australia continues to grow – with a 13 % increase in visitors to Australia in the past year,” Webster said.

The flight is numbered QF49 in recognition of the city’s symbolic references to the number 49 dating back to the California Gold Rush of 1849, including the local San Francisco 49ers American Football team.

Qantas operates 13 return direct flights from Melbourne and the US each week, including 6 direct flights per week between Sydney and San Francisco. From San Francisco, Qantas codeshare customers can connect onwards to 36 destinations across North America with Qantas’ airline partners.

Ms Webster said the direct flights would connect the Silicon Valley with Melbourne’s growing start-up industry.  “This will allow more entrepreneurs from both countries to explore opportunities and share ideas.  Ninety-eight years ago, Qantas was a start-up itself and, in the years since, we have helped pioneer many breakthroughs in connecting Australians with the US. In July 1959, we operated the first ever commercial trans-Pacific jet passenger service on a Boeing 707 between Sydney and San Francisco. Although thankfully, unlike the 707 services which had to stop for fuel in Nadi and Honolulu, this flight is a comfortable non-stop overnight journey with passengers arriving in the city ready to make the most of their stay.”

Qantas’ Dreamliner carries 236 passengers across three cabins. It features the latest version of the airline’s Business Suite, nicknamed “mini First Class” by some frequent flyers, as well as a next generation Premium Economy seat and a significantly improved Economy seat with extra storage compartments and more legroom.

Qantas’ Melbourne-San Francisco schedule

Route Flight Dep Time^ Arr Time^ Frequency                 Aircraft
MEL-SFO QF 49 2140** 1900         Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun B789
SFO-MEL QF 50 2200 0630+2** Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun B789
^Times above are local.
** 1 hour later in DST.