Qantas Flying Nonstop From New York To Sydney Today

Filed Under: Qantas

Today is a pretty cool day for aviation, as a nonstop flight from New York to Sydney will be operated for the first time by a commercial airline. Now, don’t get too excited — this is a one-off, and the plane will only be very lightly loaded. But it’s pretty cool nonetheless.

Details Of Qantas’ New York To Sydney Flight

This evening Qantas flight 7879 (operated by a 787-9… get it?) will fly from New York to Sydney. The flight is expected to depart at 9PM and land at 7:10AM on Sunday morning (both times are local). The “block” time for this 9,950 mile flight is 19hr10min.

Logically if Qantas were to ever operate that flight commercially, I imagine that would be right around the schedule they’d have.

You can track the flight using Flightradar24 here.

This plane has been positioned to New York from Seattle, as the plane has just been delivered to the airline by Boeing. Rather than flying the 787 directly from Seattle to Australia, they’re routing it the long way, via New York.

This is even a special 787-9 featuring their 100th anniversary livery.

Why Qantas Is Operating This Flight

Qantas hopes to eventually operate nonstop flights between the East Coast of Australia (Sydney and Melbourne) and both New York and London. The problem is that as of now no plane is capable of operating these flights nonstop.

It’s expected that within a few years there will be a plane up for the challenge, and Qantas hopes to have the title for operating the world’s longest flight.

So they say that today’s flight from New York to Sydney is a test flight. They’re able to operate it nonstop because it will have a total of just 50 passengers and crew on board, meaning the plane will have the range to fly nonstop.

Qantas claims the purpose of the record-breaking flight is to “conduct scientific research on passengers and crew on an ultra-long haul flight, with the aim of increasing health and wellness, minimizing jetlag and identifying optimum crew rest and work periods.”

In reality, I’d say the flight is more of a publicity stunt than anything else, though I doubt you’ll get Qantas to admit that. 😉

Bottom Line

It’s cool to see a commercial airliner fly nonstop from New York to Sydney, though for now this will just be a test. The airline will be operating a total of three of these flights (from New York and London to Sydney), all part of new 787-9 deliveries.

Ultimately these flights don’t really have many implications, and are more of a publicity stunt than anything, but that doesn’t make them any less cool.

What will actually be most interesting is if/when Qantas can operate these flights in a commercially viable way. There are still a lot of things standing in the way of this happening, ranging from new contracts with their pilots and cabin crew, to having a plane capable of operating the flight.

I’ll certainly be tracking this flight tonight…

  1. I thought it was normal for a new delivery ferry flight to carry up to 50 people. I probably misread details from your old piece. This is 98% marketing, 1% normal delivery routine 1% BS about testing.

  2. @ Eskimo, indeed 1% BS about testing.

    @ Michael, too funny, I’m sure Sam Chui is on the plane and will insert heart captions when he interacts with the female flight attendants.

  3. Who wants to endure 20 hours of flight? Yikes!!! I’m a big fan of a little ground time when traveling long distances. Not sure I’d be willing to take this flight, even in premium cabin much less economy.

  4. FWIW, this is not the first time Qantas has operated a flight this long.

    30 years ago, they went the very long way around with delivery of their first 747-400 series, with a non-stop LHR-SYD. Specially selected engines, special high density fuel, fuel tanks about to burst and they got it done.

  5. Let me add a thought to their testing: There is no way in heck I am EVER going to sit on a flight that is 19 hours long. I honestly think these super long hauls are agony for most. I gladly connect and break things up in LA when going to SYD. Even the DFW flight does not attract me.

  6. Indeed this type of ultra-long flight is not for everyone, but I’m tired of reading comments like “I WILL NEVER STEP IN A FLIGHT THIS LONG”. Just chill, there will be enough business folks willing to (or maybe have to) do this.

  7. @ MKLDH Exactly! There’s a reason why Singapore Airlines only does business and premium economy between Newark and Singapore. You get a lighter load that makes the flight possible and business passengers are going to buy a large majority of those tickets. Wouldn’t be surprised if Qantas does the same thing for Sydney to London and NYC routes.

  8. There sure will be some passenger & crew experience testing. It’s not unheard that people have life-threatening symptoms after ultra-long flights.

  9. It’s a long time since Qantas operated a 744 non-stop from LHR-SYD, they haven’t made any progress on doing this in the last 20 years since then however it looks like the A35K will be ready to do the job on a regular basis.

    It has no appeal to me even though it’s my regular communte and I’ll stick to SQ and EY suites over the next couple of years until I retire!

  10. The 787-9 with the special livery is VH-ZNJ, which is not delivered yet.

    VH-ZNI will make JFK-SYD tonight

  11. For flight attendants, this is torture. Flight deck crew will be double-staffed.
    Will it be the same for cabin crew, or is it on a volunteer basis?

    Passengers on a 20 hour flight will be miserable, regardless of cabin.

  12. @ Lucky I will definitely be tracking it, too! Exciting!
    But, “They’re able to operate it nonstop because it will have a total of just 50 passengers and crew on board…”
    Let’s hope future commercial flights have ALL first and business class lie flat seats!

  13. For those interested the 747 that flew nonstop London to Sydney is now on display at the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society museum at Wollongong (about 90 mins drive south of Sydney) Fully fitted out and you can do tours all over it. Museum has superb collection of fully operational civil airliners. Highly recommend a visit if in area

  14. I differ! My favourite flights are longer than 15 hours but only in J with a bed.

    I hate the airport experience so the longer and more direct the better, especially in the Dreamliner with its great cabin environment. Like being in a 5* hotel while moving to the next stop. Or like Rovos Rail but faster and no enroute excursions .

    Didn’t mind the SAA A340-600 flight from JFK-JNB except for the crappy dry air.

    There are crew sleeping quarters below deck so there is no hard product reason why it should be overly onerous for crew if Qantas treats them reasonably.

  15. Having taken a flight this long (LAX-BKK) when it operated non-stop I can say that in J with a bed it’s fine. In some ways its better than a shorter flight because you have time to eat, watch a movie, get a full nights sleep, eat again, maybe watch some more and you’re there.

    I can’t imagine doing it in coach however.

  16. Qantas is already doing direct PER-LHR scheduled flights. It is premium-lite with lots of Economy.
    Reaction has been generally favourable, mostly from the J cabin. Some comment that a F cabin would make it a goer considering what a long route it is, but I am unaware if that is an option being considered for the new Project Sunrise routes.
    Of course the older and less flexible (but hopefully wealthier) one becomes the more likely one is to consider such a long flight in F or ~inhales deeply~ Business. Personally I would totally rule out Y, but then again I’m no longer 20ish.

  17. To those who rant “I’d prefer to make a stop in XXX – no use for such a long flight!” – most people who take such long flights are businesspeople and probably don’t have option to take extra time to make a stop enroute…

  18. “In reality, I’d say the flight is more of a publicity stunt than anything else,”

    You’re writing about it so i’d say it worked!

  19. @ Nicola

    If you read the article your question was answered as are most questions if only people read the article properly.

    Clue the second sentence!

  20. I like those long flights as it allows for a nice dining experience followed with a good sleep. The 12h flights are too short for me to get a good sleep esp if the crew is slow in getting the dinner out.
    I used to do SIN-EWR-SIN regularly and found it very pleasant flights.

    What is disappointing is Qantas doing this with a Boeing. For such long flights the way more quiet Airbus cabins are a lot more comfortable. The 787 is more quiet than the 777 but Boeing still has a noise issue to fix.

  21. @ Michael

    Your Sam Chui comment is spot on.

    However, I 100% disagree with you on the TPG front. Brian Kelly is actually in Cape Town at the moment. Criticize me all you want, but I read more TPG versus OMAAT because I feel like I can relate more to TPG. Brian’s a bit more relatable to me versus Ben, mainly because I can actually afford to stay at a lot of the places TPG stays at (Hilton Tel Aviv versus AmanWhatever), and I actually love the charitable aspects that TPG does with PeaceJam and with Rainbow Railroad (where he gave a random donor 1,000,000 Chase UR points recently). Granted, Brian has a much larger team than Ben and recently went international, but also I think Brian is a bit more democratic on the travel front versus Ben (although I now know whenever I go on safari I’m staying at a Singita!) but idk, YMMV.

    TL:DR Sam Chui, yes, 100%, TPG, I don’t understand why so many people here don’t like him.

  22. For anyone who hasn’t done it…
    The Singapore stopover on the way to London is absolutely fine. Gives you time to stretch, visit the lounge, and if you’re lucky, even have a shower.
    LAX is a completely different story. You need to clear immigration, collect your bag, return your bag and then go back through security.
    If your Sydney flight is slightly delayed, it can be a mad rush to make it to the connecting flight. Most people I know would skip LA altogether

  23. @Trey

    You actually got it a bit wrong. This would be much more interesting if TGP disclose what part of their review was given for free and what did they really pay for. I have to give @Lucky a lot of credit for trying to be independent from special treatment (not entirely but at least he never asks for one).

    How did you think he got the 1M UR from, his own account? I don’t even think a normal person can gift UR. Yes, charity is good especially when you take all the credit donating other people’s money. Now compare that to @Lucky’s smaller but more genuine cancer foundation run.

    I visit other sites too as there are some underlying facts that can’t be twisted even by a PR machine. But at the end of the day you have to realize some are news and some tabloid news.

    Think of it like this, TPG is a group of dozen Sam Chui in the PR machine hat. And OMAAT is like the single Sam Chui with no sponsorship in his personal hobby hat.

    The only similarity is biasedly pushing credit cards, Chase and Amex to be precise. (and we all fell for it, count the Chase cards in your wallet, lol)

    Not that I don’t like TPG, it’s just for different purpose. What I expect from TPG but never saw it yet is put Brian Kelly on a torturing Spirit or Allegiant qualification mileage runs see if he can make 100k miles on them in a year.

  24. 1). It’s interesting people are saying “no way I’m flying for 19-20 hours in a plane” yet many flights now easily are 15-16+ hours even with “regular economy ” class seats (32′ pitch). 20 years ago, 15+ hours was the “no way im flying that long standard”. 2). There is indeed scientific work being done on these flights, though there is “free” publicity as well.

  25. QF7879 is on descent into SYD as I write this. Flightradar24 says the block time will be about 19:13. Considering that DFW-SYD and PER-LHR routinely take 16-17 hours, that’s not too bad.

  26. @Etops

    I looked at weather radar a couple of hours after that and I’d wager it was a storm out there.

  27. As much as a 2-hour flight isn’t hugely appealing, the fact that it could cut out LAX on the way to NYC really makes it attractive. Anything that helps me avoid the downright rudeness of Immigration/Security staff at LAX is worth considering.

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