Sydney to Washington: Qantas or American Airlines?

By JimEddie | Oct 06, 2017, 05:14 AM
I've got a business trip coming up at the end of the year & I'm going to need to fly from Sydney to Washington DC. Looking at the Qantas website it seems that there are 3 choices:
  1. Fly via Dallas on Qantas (A380) (and then AA)
  2. Fly via LAX on Qantas (B747) (and then AA)
  3. Fly via LAX on AA (B787)

Looking at the flight times and stop overs it appears that flying through Dallas is the shortest overall flight. But the stopover at Dallas is only 1hr 25mins. Whilst this is short apparently this is within the minimum connection time at Dallas and I do have some nervousness over actually getting through immigration & customs and then back through to departures to connect up to this flight.

Given other people's experience which option would be best, both for the trans-Pacific flight and also the connection in the US?
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By MuzzH | Oct 06, 2017, 07:37 AM
Jim, I fly to the States at least twice a year and will do anything to avoid LAX (rude immigration staff, chaotic airport etc). The Qantas flight to Dallas and then a connection on AA would be my suggestion. My experience is that the immigration staff at DFW are genuinely nice people (Texan hospitality?) and you are processed quickly. DFW is also the major hub of AA so should your Qantas flight be delayed, there will be additional flights they can put you on. If your business is in central DC fly into Regan National Airport as opposed to Dulles, Reagan is a short and cheap taxi ride from central DC, thus saving more time and money. The other advantage of flying into Dallas is that you are on Qantas metal longer and less time on an AA plane. Anyway, that is my two cents worth. Safe travels!
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By Bob Burgess | Oct 06, 2017, 08:28 AM
90 minutes at DFW is a short stopover but they're used to QF7 and onwards AA connections. Agree that the more time spent on an international Qantas flight the better compared to American domestic! The only real downside of going via DFW is that the lounges there are terrible. If you go via LAX you can at least nip back into the QF lounge at TBIT for breakfast using the behind-security 'terminal connector' and of course you have those same lounges at LAX for your journey home.
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By sanj747 | Oct 06, 2017, 09:19 AM
Jim, Dallas would be my preference. I avoid LAX like a plague due to the same reason as MUZZH put forward. The QF flights into DFW make the travel into the US much more pleasurable and easier for those travelling to the mid west, east coast or Florida.
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By GregXL | Oct 06, 2017, 09:50 AM
As others have advised, I would use QF7 to have more time on QF and less on domestic AA. As mentioned by MuzzH, flying into Reagan is likely to be more convenient and when I had a quick look at flight options there is an AA flight that that gives you an extra 30 min in DFW. Guessing you are flying business class, while AA will get you on later flight if you miss your connection, it might not be up the front. I favour more time in transit and risk of missed connections.
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By nathanjordan | Oct 06, 2017, 10:10 AM
Although the immigration line at DFW is at times visually very long, they are indeed efficient and certainly friendlier than other ports; they are used the Qantas big bus arriving & plow through everyone expeditiously. Agreed also for D.C. that Reagan is definitely better to fly in or out of by a long shot.
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By daschok | Oct 06, 2017, 10:17 AM
I assume you are using QF and AA for Oneworld and quick connections, but have you thought about Air Canada? Looking quickly, yes there are two stops (Generally Vancouver and Montreal), but it is price competitive and you get minimal interaction with TSA, which can be a godsend, and I haven't had a bad experience with AC to date.
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By mspcooper | Oct 06, 2017, 11:07 AM
I dislike LAX, however, with the new computerised immigration, life is hundred times better entering either LAX or DFW.
I think DFW is more spacious and a far better looking airport for international arrivals. The airport is ultra well connected and makes it a pleasure commuting between terminals unlike LAX.
If more and more passengers take DFW as an entry point, hopefully australian carriers will fly to DFW more than LAX?
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By patrickk | Oct 06, 2017, 11:19 AM
DFW also has the advantage that QF arrives at a relatively quite time of the day (1.30pm) so the immigration queues are short. If there is a delay they automatically book you onto a connecting flight, and your boarding cards are there to be picked up as you leave the plane. But do make sure you are booked to through Reagan (Washington National).
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By btaus | Oct 06, 2017, 11:40 AM

Pick Qatar Airways. Lower price than Qantas and AA, one-stop from Sydney to Washington D.C. via DOH, 5-star service, 100% lie-flat seat, inflight bar on A380, dine anytime you want, blow-your-mind lounge at DOH, free Doha stopover and no immigration hassle until you have arrived in the States.


ps: this is my personal experience on Qatar Airways. (MEL-DOH-PHL)


Last edited by btaus at Oct 06, 2017, 11.44 AM.
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By crwilkins | Oct 06, 2017, 01:20 PM
Recommend via DFW for sure, although 1.5 hours is doable but quite tight in my opinion, the issue is not necessarily customs and immigration, it's the going back through the TSA checkpoint/security for the domestic flight - that can be very quick or very slow unless you have TSA Pre Check status, even the Priority line doesn't help a lot. Should be very regular flights DFW to Reagan, select one that gives you around 2 hours....save the stress (or the run). Also, if QF7 is on time or early, can be great, but 30 mins late and the Qatar flight gets in before it, immigration can be become tight on a 1.5 hr connection.
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By sydneykiwi | Oct 06, 2017, 01:57 PM
Having completed 6 x SYD > DFW > PHL trips in the last year on QF7 & AA I never had any issues in DFW with a connection of 95 minutes on average.
Most of the times my connecting domestic AA flight was delayed by at least 30 mins or more anyway (handy hint: sign up to email notifications for the domestic AA flight as well as the prior route of that plane before you leave SYD and then when you land you'll know what to expect).
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By Nick Sydney 2 | Oct 06, 2017, 03:08 PM
DFW is best for all the reasons pointed out. Quickly through automated passport control, pick up case and through the border check and recheck the bag. Then it's a quick dash to Terminal A for an onward AA flight. All doable in 90 mins. However...on the last two trips to DFW (I go every two months) I missed the connection not due to AA but late departure from Sydney. These days I leave 2.5 hrs ie later AA flight. If on time then check A to see if you can go on standby for the earlier flight otherwise to the lounge, shower and freshen up and then onwards. Works for me.
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By mr_pb | Oct 07, 2017, 11:07 PM
Did the trek to DC recently myself. DFW has been a godsend for US east coast travel - it's hands down the optimal choice. It's the best airport to clear immi (having done DFW, LAX & SFO this year - connecting via Cali's awful immi & xfer takes a toll on you), the connection times are more comfortable as opposed to LAX, and if there's a delay or misadventure, then being AA's hub it's very easy to get back on track with a new connection - considering there's flights around every 90 minutes or so. Also, QF A380 J is more comfortable than QF 747 J. (P.S. even though I prefer IAD's terminals, I find getting to DCA more reliable than IAD - just a little tip!)
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By traveller99 | Oct 08, 2017, 05:03 AM
Having flown a number of AA international business class flights this year my observations:

1. The seat is no better or worse than the QF skybed. On that basis it's probably better since it's a 1-2-1 layout on AA.

2. AA food is extremely average. QF is better.

3. AA has wi-fi which is actually useable if you need/want to stay connected/work. QF has no wi-fi.
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By Joe | Oct 08, 2017, 12:11 PM
No brainer QF A380 to DFW...the long flight is MUCH more pleasurable in the A380 as its super quiet, high humidity levels and lower cabin pressure altitude setting. Food and service is much better too. Only tolerate AA(or any other us carrier) as long as you absolutely must.
Last edited by Joe at Oct 08, 2017, 12.11 PM.
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