Qantas Set to Launch Non-Stop Flights From Brisbane to Chicago

Qantas set to launch non-stop flights from Brisbane to Chicago

  • Qantas are set to fly from Brisbane (BNE) to Chicago (ORD) from as soon as 2021.
  • The 17+ hour non-stop flight will use Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
  • You’ll need an estimated 115,000 QFF Points to fly one way in Business Class.

Qantas have announced a new route from Brisbane (BNE) to Chicago (ORD) in a joint venture with American Airlines which will begin flying sometime in the next two years subject to final approval by US authorities.

In a move that will increase competition with Virgin Australia, Delta, United Airlines, Air Canada and Air New Zealand, all of which fly non-stop from Australia or New Zealand to North America, this announcement is good news for travellers looking for low-cost deals.

It will also come as welcome news for Qantas Frequent Flyers and American Airlines Advantage members alike who will appreciate the additional award seats to North America.

“The opportunity to launch new routes and flights to new destinations, an expanded codeshare relationship and optimised schedules on trans-Pacific services, opening up more connections to more destinations and better access to seats on each carrier's network, leading to lower fares.”
- Qantas Press Room

The other “new routes” rumoured include Seattle. This non-stop route from Brisbane and Chicago will use one of Qantas' new Boeing 787 Dreamliners. 

Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliners will be used for flights from Brisbane and Chicago

Qantas has made no secret about its desire to expand its route map and is preparing for even longer flights such as Sydney to London as part of the much vaunted Project Sunrise.

And let’s also not forget that the US economy, under President Trump, is booming at +3.1% GDP growth. So it makes economic sense for Qantas to open up another trans-Pacific route from Australia to North America at a time when the US is doing so well.

How long will the flight be?

Details haven't been published yet, but we estimate that the flight time could be a gruelling 17 hours. Qantas already has plenty of experience with ultra long haul flights with their Perth — London route ranking among the world's longest.

Even so, this direct point-to-point flight is a big improvement on the current 25 hours it takes to fly from Sydney (SYD) to Chicago (ORD), which requires a stop in Dallas (DFW) before completing the last leg on American Airlines.

How many points will you need?

If this Qantas / AA deal gets the final nod of approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the trip will probably take the same amount of points to book as Sydney (SYD) to Chicago (ORD) via Dallas (DFW).

Expect to fly the new route in Economy Class for 55,000 QFF Points or 112,000 QFF Points in Business Class.

And expect seats to get snapped up quickly once the booking window opens.

Why Brisbane to Chicago?

So why Brisbane and not Sydney? Probably because that’s where Qantas base their fleet of Dreamliners. Simple as that. The Gold Coast will benefit from this route. The year-round sunshine, beaches, and lively scene will be a substantial draw to North American travellers looking to explore some of what Australia has to offer.

The famous Chicago waterfront skyline

Right now Qantas fly direct from Australia to Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO) and Dallas (DFW). 

Why Chicago? Qantas has invested heavily in data and tech. The computer modelling probably says it's a good target. 

Chicago O'Hare International Airport is one of three major hub airports for American Airlines, providing excellent onward connectivity. Aussies heading to the United States for a holiday or business trip will be able to get to practically anywhere in the country from Chicago. Then, of course, there is the city itself. Chicago is an interesting destination, although perhaps not so much during the winter when the place is reminiscent of the 2004 movie "The Day After Tomorrow".