Qantas Returns To New York City With Flights From Sydney Via Auckland

by | Jun 14, 2023

Qantas is making its return to New York City with the launch of a new route connecting Sydney to New York JFK via Auckland, New Zealand.

This marks the airline’s first flight to New York City in over three years and puts the Oneworld carrier in direct competition with Air Newzealand on the route.

The Launch of the Sydney-Auckland-New York Route

Qantas flew the first flight in its new service from Sydney to New York JFK via Auckland today (June 14, 2023), offering three weekly flights on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Qantas plans to expand to four weekly flights by October 30, 2023. The ultra-long-haul flight covers a distance of over 10,000 miles in each direction and boasts a journey time of just over 21 hours eastbound and nearly 23 hours westbound.

While Qantas has served New York before, the new route via Auckland replaces the previous stopover in Los Angeles. When the flight was first announced last year, Qantas noted that using Auckland as a hub offers passengers greater convenience and streamlined connections from Australia to New York.

In addition to Sydney, Qantas offers well-timed for the flight to New York from Brisbane and Melbourne.

Qantas Will Use Terminal 8 in JFK

The service is part of the joint venture between Qantas and American Airlines between Australia/New Zealand and the United States, meaning both carriers will be able to market and sell tickets on the flight.

Qantas will operate out of American Airlines’ home in Terminal 8 at JFK.

With British Airways, Japan Airlines, and other Oneworld airlines all co-located there, this should provide a familiar experience for anyone loyal to American Airlines in New York using the service. It’ll also provide easy connections for Qantas passengers connecting to an American Airlines service in New York.

Qantas’ Boeing 787-9: Designed for Long-Haul Comfort

The new flight means that Qantas now operates three of the top five longest flights in the world. The others are Perth-London and Dallas-Melbourne. That means that Qantas has lots of experience keeping customers comfortable.

For this route, the carrier is using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

The 787-9 has a configuration of 42 business class seats in a 1-2-1 arrangement, 28 premium economy seats in a 2-3-2 setup, and 166 economy seats in a 3-3-3 layout. This relatively sparse configuration is “a layout that has been designed to maximize comfort for the longer distances” according to the airline.

In the future, Qantas plans to introduce nonstop flights from Australia to New York and London as part of its ambitious Project Sunrise initiative. These flights, set to launch in 2025, will be operated by Airbus A350-1000 aircraft currently on order, offering passengers an even more direct and efficient journey.

Head-to-Head with Air New Zealand

Qantas’ new route provides some healthy competition for Air New Zealand, which began operating a similar service between Auckland and New York JFK in September 2022. But Qantas has the advantage of accessing feed in New York from American Airlines flights.

Air New Zealand’s U.S. partner, United, does not have a presence at New York JFK. By offering more frequencies starting in October, Qantas is well-positioned to capture a share of the market in this transpacific corridor.

Qantas’ New York-Inspired Amenities & Culinary Offerings

To celebrate its return to New York City, Qantas is introducing several New York-themed initiatives for passengers.

For PJs and amenity kits in business class, Qantas has partnered with Australian designer Rebecca Vallance. The limited edition PJs feature a monogram of the Qantas “Roo” and Rebecca Vallance logo, incorporating the flight numbers QF3 and QF4 and a bespoke New York heart design.

The PJs will be paired with a custom amenity kit, also designed by Vallance, with a matching eyeshade.

“It’s an honour to partner with the iconic Australian brand that is Qantas. New York has always felt like a second home to me, and I’m so proud to be working with the national carrier to offer travellers some keepsake PJ’s and amenity kits to enjoy long after they have landed. We curated the bespoke Rebecca Vallance design as an homage to one of the world’s most vibrant and exciting cities, with inspiration from our latest collection ‘Avenue Astoria’.”

Rebecca Vallance

Australian Chef Neil Perry has also been tapped to offer a range of New York-inspired dishes on the menu for premium cabin passengers.

  • New York style spaghetti and meatballs
  • Classic Reuben sandwich
  • NY bagel with lox, cream cheese, capers and lemon
  • General Tso chicken with smashed cucumber salad, steamed rice and broccolini
  • Classic beef hot dog with sauerkraut and spicy brown mustard
  • Seared beef fillet with creamed spinach and baked potato with sour cream and chives
  • Pecan pie with crème fraiche
  • New York style baked cheesecake with blueberry compote

Meanwhile, Qantas First Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne, along with the Auckland International Lounge, will feature a New York inspired dish of the day, along with Manhattan Spritz and Garibaldi cocktails, during the month of June.

Expanding Airport Facilities and Preparing for the Future

Qantas is investing $100 million into new and upgraded lounges at Auckland International Airport, set to open in mid-2024. This move will ensure a seamless travel experience for passengers connecting through Auckland.

That includes a massive renovation of its Qantas Club in Auckland that’s expected to be complete in mid-2024.

Bottom Line

Qantas has launched a new route from Sydney to New York JFK via Auckland which will initially operate 3x weekly before expanding to 4x weekly in October. The route is operated using a Boeing 787-9 that is specially configured for long-haul flights going head to head with the new 3x weekly service from Air New Zealand.

This seems to me like a smart way for Qantas to return to New York, and it gives some competition to Air New Zealand, which recently started operating the same route.

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