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Qantas flight review: Sydney to San Francisco, economy return


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This well-timed, spacious and direct flight is exactly what you need to wake up refreshed and ready when you land.

This year I cashed in my annual leave and spent a month exploring (read, eating) my way around the States. I have an utter hatred for LAX, so I was determined to avoid that airport at all costs. As a result, I set my sights on flying in and out of San Francisco instead.

The cheapest options were a direct flight on Virgin Australia for $1,100 or an indirect on Hawaiian Airlines for just under $1,000.

That is, until Qantas dropped a 20% off rewards seat redemption sale that got me to San Francisco and back for $450 (airport taxes and fees) and 63,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer Points. How could I resist? I cashed in my chips (points) and took off on the Australian flagship and may I say it was the best decision I could have made.

Qantas flight details

  • Route: Sydney to San Francisco
  • Duration: 13h 20 minutes (outbound), 14 hours 10 minutes (inbound)
  • Flight Number(s): QF73 (outbound), QF74 (inbound)
  • Aircraft Type: BF747
  • Dates Travelled: 16 August and 15 September
  • Class: Economy
  • Frequent Flyer Program: Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Points earned: 0 (both were rewards seats)

Stephanie Yip's Qantas review ★★★★★

  • Convenient flight times
  • Service
  • Spaciousness
  • Entertainment suite
  • Mid-flight meals were on-request only

What did I like?

  • Convenient flight time. The timing of my flight both there and back couldn't have been more convenient. The outbound flight departed Sydney on Friday at 6.40pm. This meant I had almost a full day of work before having to hightail it to the airport. As it was a night flight, it also meant that I had a good night's rest before landing in San Francisco at 2pm. My return flight was a very similar story, departing at 9.30pm and letting me sleep through until 6.05am.
  • Service. I can't praise the air staff more – they were friendly and considerate throughout the whole flight.

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  • Spaciousness. I've been on planes where I've had to yoga myself into odd positions to find a sweet spot to sleep in. I had no issues stretching out my legs and finding a spot of comfort in my economy seat and remained happily asleep for most of the flight both ways.
  • Quality meals. I was offered a high-quality dinner and breakfast on both flights. Outbound, dinner was a choice of braised beef brisket with spicy roast carrots and couscous or chipotle chicken with saffron rice and corn and red bean salsa. Breakfast was a little less exciting, though no less delicious. It featured zucchini frittata with braised beans, pork sausage, bacon and creamed spinach or a fruit platter. My meals were served hot (outside of the fruit platter) and were tasty and filling.
  • Entertainment suite. I found it extremely refreshing how up-to-date Qantas's entertainment suite was. On the bill were releases such as Rocketman and Aladdin as well as a healthy mix of classics, Golden Globe winners and Disney favourites.

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What didn't I like?

  • Mid-flight meals were on-request. When I first sat down, I was given a food menu in anticipation of my choices. These were dinner, mid-night and breakfast. While dinner and breakfast sounded delicious, I was particularly excited for the mid-flight meal, which included a Weiss Bar and deep dish pepperoni pizza. Being mid-flight meals, they were during sleeping hours, but I still expected to be woken up for them. I was not–on either flight. Sadly, these are on-request only for night owls seeking sustenance. It's a small disappointment, but one I feel needs to be called out.

Would I use Qantas again?

With its quality service, meals and comfortable seats that let me sleep like a baby from Sydney to San Francisco, I wouldn't hesitate to fly this esteemed airline again.

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