After two years of stood-down planes and staff, financial woes, and grim predictions for years of slumped demand, Australia’s national airline Qantas has rebounded with rapidly increasing international flights and an expanded domestic network with a focus on regional tourist destinations.
Demand for Qantas’ flights to Los Angeles as a gateway to the United States has been unprecedented and for Melbourne, the present four weekly flights have proved inadequate for a rapidly-rebuilding tourism and business travel market, which has now exceeded pre-Covid demand.
Reflecting on the pent-up demand, Qantas Chief Customer Officer, Stephanie Tully, said “no city in the world did it tougher during COVID than Melbourne, but no city is bouncing back as quickly.”
In line with increased demand, Qantas will double its Melbourne-Los Angeles flights from four to eight weekly services, beginning this week.
Qantas’ refurbished A380s will also resume operating some of these Los Angeles flights from December, marking the return of Qantas’ superjumbo and reintroduction of First Class flying to Melbourne.
The aircraft have a reconfigured Business cabin, with 70 updated suites, an extended Premium Economy section with 60 seats(up from 35) as well as refreshed Economy and First cabins. The upper deck lounge (open to Business and First passengers) has been expanded and upgraded with booth-style seating for 10 people, a self-service bar and an option to order signature drinks and snacks. Thirty Economy seats were removed to make room for more premium seating.
Melbourne non-stop to Dallas Fort Worth
From 2nd December 2022, Qantas will operate four weekly return flights between Melbourne and Dallas Fort Worth, utilising the carrier’s new long-haul workhorse, the 787 Dreamliner. The 17-hour trek will cut journey times and facilitate easier access for tourists headed down under.
These are the first direct flights by any airline between the two cities and follows the success of Qantas’ longstanding Sydney-Dallas Fort Worth route, which was recently relaunched using the same aircraft.
While Dallas might not be an obvious choice for a holiday (Texan cattle ranch package tours, anyone?), DFW is home to Qantas’ key partner American Airlines, providing reasonably connections between Australia and over 200 cities across the US, Canada, Mexico and South America. For travelers seeking an easier connection that avoids the crowds of Los Angeles, Dallas is extremely popular – located less than a four-hour flight from every major US city.
Within Australia, Qantas’ expanded regional program – subsidised by new Australian Government grants – has seen the launch of 52 new routes since the pandemic began, connecting smaller communities with capital cities that previously were a multi-flight affair.