United Airlines will add a new dot to its international route map with year-round service between San Francisco and Brisbane launching the fall, a sign of United’s deepening partnership with Virgin Australia.
United Airlines Will Launch Brisbane – San Francisco Service This Autumn
Yesterday afternoon, United teased a new route announcement via Instagram stories set to be unveiled later this morning. Thinking about the Virgin Australia connection and the odd timing for a new route announcement, I guessed that United would offer new San Francisco (SFO) – Brisbane (BNE service):
— Matthew Klint – Live And Let’s Fly (@LiveandLetsFly) June 7, 2022
Sure enough, United later briefed media outlets including Live and Let’s Fly about the new route ahead of the formal announcement. But hours ahead of schedule, Brisbane Airport broke the news, with CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff calling United’s new route “a gamechanger for the tourism industry” in Queensland.
United will launch new 3x-weekly service on October 28, 2022 using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner featuring:
- 48 business class “Polaris” lie-flat seats
- 21 premium economy “Premium Plus” recliners
- 188 economy class seats
- 39 Economy Plus seats with up to five extra inches of legroom
- 149 standard seats
The schedule will be released later today and tickets will also go on sale. If you’re looking to use your miles on the new route over the Christmas holidays, I would not except to find “saver” premium cabin space, but there might well be economy class seats so keep your eyes peeled. SFO-BNE flights are planned on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday and flights from BNE-SFO are planned for Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday.
United already offers more service to Australia than any other U.S. carrier and will resume two suspended routes this winter, bringing the total number of Australia routes to six:
- Houston ⇄ Sydney (resumes this winter)
- Los Angeles ⇄ Melbourne (resumes this winter)
- Los Angeles ⇄ Sydney
- San Francisco ⇄ Brisbane (starts this autumn)
- San Francisco ⇄ Melbourne
- San Francisco ⇄ Sydney
Patrick Quayle, United’s Senior Vice President of International Network, explained:
“With United’s strong history in Australia – and now with a great partner in Virgin Australia – it’s the ideal time for United to expand service to Brisbane as demand for travel continues to grow. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve looked for strategic ways to grow our international network, and we’re proud to be the first U.S. airline to put a new dot on our route map across the Pacific.”
The new route will be partially subsidized by the Queensland Government’s Attracting Aviation Investment Fund. Queensland officials have boasted the new route from United will support nearly 400 local jobs and bring $73 million to the local economy.
United Airlines will launch new service to Brisbane from its San Francisco hub starting on October 28, 2022. It’s exciting to see United launch service to a new city in Australia, which marks the first new transpacific route by a U.S. carrier since the pandemic began. Under Quayle’s helm, United has been quite bold in its international expansion and from what Live and Let’s Fly has learned, many of the new routes are performing better than expected as the world emerges from pandemic.