United Airlines will begin direct flights between Sydney and Houston from January 20 2018, with the new route going head to head against Qantas' daily Sydney-Dallas flights.
The UA flights will see United's long-range Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner darting between the two cities, with Houston – as United's Texas hub – offering onwards connections to more than 70 cities throughout North America.
And it'll be a long flight, at up to 17½ hours on the Houston-Sydney leg and a more bearable 15h45m from Sydney to Houston.
Here's how the schedule looks:
- Flight UA100 departs Sydney at 11.50am to reach Houston at 10.35am that same day
- Flight UA101 leaves Houston at 8pm to arrive into Sydney at 6.30am two days later
This will be United's fourth Aussie route following Sydney-Los Angeles, Melbourne-Los Angeles and Sydney-San Francisco – and like those flights, it'll run on the airline's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fitted with 48 lie-flat business class seats, albeit in a 2-2-2 arrangement (shown below) rather than the airline's very latest direct-aisle access Polaris seats.
Still, that layout puts United's Boeing 787 seats roughly on par with the Qantas A380's Skybed Ii business class seats.
Creature comforts include pyjamas and Saks Fifth Avenue bedding...
... and Cowshed Spa products...
... which along with upgraded meals and drinks are part of the 'soft product' component of the Polaris business class proposition, even if the seats are last-gen models.
“We are delighted to provide travelers from Sydney with unparalleled easy access to the U.S. and beyond through this new route launch,” said Alison Espley, UA's managing director of Japan and Pacific Sales.
“United carefully planned this route with the convenience and comfort of our customers in mind so that we may provide them with a premier inflight service."