Sydney to Houston: United Airlines announces ultra-long haul flight

Andrew Munro 11 September 2017 NEWS

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Not many planes are able to make this kind of trip.

Starting on 18 January 2018, United Airlines is running the first and only direct flights between Australia and Houston, Texas. At 13,843 kilometres, the trip from Sydney will take 15 hours and 45 minutes, while the return Houston to Sydney marathon will take 17.5 hours, making it one of the longest in the world.

United also runs non-stop services between Sydney and Los Angeles and San Francisco, while Qantas also flies direct to Texas with a slightly shorter Sydney-Dallas route.

The new route is made possible thanks to Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, one of few passenger jets with a range long enough to make the trip. With 48 lie-flat beds in business class, 63 extra-spacious economy plus seats and 141 economy class spots, the aircraft might be well suited to the ultra-long haul flight.

United has exceptional capabilities out of Houston, so this new route will open a lot of new options for Australian travellers, and will likely contribute to cheaper flights all around the Americas.

"This new route will serve more than 70 cities across North America making the one-stop service to Sydney faster and more convenient than ever before." said United president, Scott Kirby.

The destinations south of the border are equally interesting. United also flies into 51 locations across Latin America and the Caribbean, so Sydney-Houston direct is likely to be the first leg for plenty of South America-bound travellers. It's an increasingly popular tourist destination, but options from Australia are currently still fairly limited, and can be disproportionately expensive compared to Europe and North America.

That might change early 2018 when United opens up a lot more competition between Australia and the Americas.

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