United fly most frequently USA <--> Australia

I flew the new BNE-LAX routes return on the UA283/284 service in the past fortnight with my partner, in economy on a Virgin redemption booking.

Both flights were relatively empty (approx 70 pax on the Dreamliner) and we each had a row to ourselves.

Service could not be faulted. Check in experience was faultless. United however wouldn’t honour Virgin gold status extra bag for check-in (Which the Virgin website claims is a benefit for gold members travelling on United flights).

Seats included USB charging and wifi. Free wifi was limited to iMessage/Whatsapp texting.

Far superior to my Qantas experience. Will definitely give them a try again.

I kind of feel like any flight that underbooked will have good service. That's almost covid-era loads.
 
A lot of United Airlines ads appearing across Australia’s major cities as well. They haven’t and won’t unseat QF as the incumbent dominant airline in the Aus-USA market.

Trying to understand the 66 flights a week.

Daily: MEL-SFO/LAX, SYD-LAX/IAH, BNE-SFO
Double Daily: SYD-SFO
3x week : BNE-LAX

That’s only 52 /week. Where’s the other 14? Must be the “East Islands” of “Australia” ;) which includes daily SFO-AKL, 4x weekly LAX-AKL and 3x weekly SFO-CHC :rolleyes:

The Aus-USA market has been a very safe QF seat for decades, and it’s thinly veiled trickery like this that makes the Australian travelling public think the seat is marginal. A 14-flight difference is a huge margin and UA has no chance of winning this seat anytime soon.

That said it’s disappointing that this is the only seat QF holds on a safe margin, with QF only holding another 4 in 23 marginal seats in Parliament - they need to win 7 more to have an outright majority, easily achievable in the long term, impossible now due to the atrocious fleet planning over the past 5 years.
 
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Even with UA's mixed outcomes with their expansion in the BNE market, QF still gets decent loads on their pair of Jetconnect-crewed A330s on the BNE-LAX routes, despite the amount of complaints about the older aircraft (plus the makeshift crew rests).

The BNE market for the QF/AA JV will also be boosted with the upcoming full NW seasonal DFW service as well, and (if it comes back next season) the DFW service be up against the seasonal UA BNE-LAX service which only operates over the School Holidays in December and January.
 
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Even with UA's mixed outcomes with their expansion in the BNE market, QF still gets decent loads on their pair of Jetconnect-crewed A330s on the BNE-LAX routes, despite the amount of complaints about the older aircraft (plus the makeshift crew rests).

I just flew QF15 in Y and I don’t know what all the coughing is about. The seat is at least as comfortable as the ones on the 787s, if not more so as it feels wider. The 2+4+2 config is also much better with fewer middle seats.

As for Jetconnect crew I didn’t hear a single Kiwi accent last night, so they’re either undergoing accent training or it’s not exclusively NZ crews. The crew was really good in any case.
 
I just flew QF15 in Y and I don’t know what all the coughing is about. The seat is at least as comfortable as the ones on the 787s, if not more so as it feels wider. The 2+4+2 config is also much better with fewer middle seats.

As for Jetconnect crew I didn’t hear a single Kiwi accent last night, so they’re either undergoing accent training or it’s not exclusively NZ crews. The crew was really good in any case.
Yes, in the unlikely event I find myself flying transpacific in whY 😳, I’d choose an A330 over 787 any day. Probably even over an A380.

Just for the 2:4:2 seating.

In QF J, there’s really not much difference IMHO. Oh, except window blinds that work when you want them to…..
 
Delta is now adding LAX-BNE seasonally (NW). Who would have guessed BNE would beat MEL in being served by the US big 3.

DL is running it until March - I wonder if they’ll squeeze UA off the route so they just focus on SFO.
 
Delta is now adding LAX-BNE seasonally (NW). Who would have guessed BNE would beat MEL in being served by the US big 3.

DL is running it until March - I wonder if they’ll squeeze UA off the route so they just focus on SFO.
We haven’t seen this level of competition since the early ‘90s.

Fares aren’t really coming down much, so there’s money to be made - until the race to the bottom discounting starts!
 
We haven’t seen this level of competition since the early ‘90s.

Fares aren’t really coming down much, so there’s money to be made - until the race to the bottom discounting starts!
Considering the a.net reports of plenty of award seats across the Australia-LAX routes for 23/24, I'm tipping BNE will be 'upgrade' central with plenty of seats for both UA/DL when the Summer School Holidays of 25/26 24/25 rolls around.

I'd be interested to see how AA's DFW-BNE will go though, there would be a lot of AAIF funded promotion to promote Queensland to the non-West Coast North Americans.
 
I'd be interested to see how AA's DFW-BNE will go though, there would be a lot of AAIF funded promotion to promote Queensland to the non-West Coast North Americans.

AA have a huge advantage in that this route is a JV with QF, and will likely be sold as the better option for many mid west / east coast destinations, especially with the evening arrival of QF15.

Most Americans take their vacation in the summer, except perhaps for short trips around the holidays to Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean - I don’t expect that many inbound travellers in this season.
 
Fares aren’t really coming down much, so there’s money to be made - until the race to the bottom discounting starts!

I’ve seen fares on the US carriers for around A$1200 return in Feb. This was not matched by QF.

Accounting for inflation that would pretty close to the lowest they’ve ever been (I think I remember $999 fares about 5 years ago - but add some severe inflation on top of that)
 
Coincidently saw this article just now. It’s network wide but will help them raise a few more dollars on the Oz flights.

Unless you’re A*G or a UA MP status PAX, expect to pay for bags on discount fares.

I’ve not been following too closely but do VA FF get extra baggage allowance in why?

Note: the article also mentions AA lifting their baggage fees. So it would pay to look closely at the pros and cons of booking AA or QF codeshares. Same probably applies to VA and UA.
 
I’ve seen fares on the US carriers for around A$1200 return in Feb. This was not matched by QF.

Accounting for inflation that would pretty close to the lowest they’ve ever been (I think I remember $999 fares about 5 years ago - but add some severe inflation on top of that)
I was thinking more about the premium fares. Apart from QF SYD-YVR (regularly on sale for $5999), there’s not been much movement on most sectors / airlines - yet.

In the early ‘90s. SYD-USA return was sub $500 return. Post that era, airfares have often gotten cheaper in real terms allowing for inflation. eg SYD-LAX stayed flat hovering around $900* return for a decade or so.

*I don’t have a source for that just what I’ve noticed over the years from sale fare emails etc.
 
First checked bag is still free on most long haul routes, including Australia, on US carriers.
Upto 23kg for the first bag then US$100 for the 2nd each way on UA SYD-LAX-SYD.

Now, I never check more than one bag and usually under 23 kg for the first - even travelling up front. But you do see a lot of peeps with a lot of bags 🤷‍♂️.
 
Upto 23kg for the first bag then US$100 for the 2nd each way on UA SYD-LAX-SYD.

Now, I never check more than one bag and usually under 23 kg for the first - even travelling up front. But you do see a lot of peeps with a lot of bags 🤷‍♂️.
But Qantas also only offer one free bag (albeit up to 32kg) in economy on that route, so it's not like they are way more generous.
 
BITRE has put out the December 2023 International Airline Activity Report. This document is a mass of dense statistical tables, but I've extracted some relevant numbers for quick perusal.
A few notes to address some earlier questions:
  • Inbound is flights to Australia
  • These numbers include Hawaii
  • These numbers do not include NZ
  • Jetstar is included for the sake of completeness, whether QF/JQ are considered two separate airlines, or one airline with two separate paint jobs is an exercise left to the reader (and Qantas group management)

Flights Between Australia and the USA (Dec 2023)

OperatorInbound FlightsInbound SeatsOutbound FlightsOutbound Seats
Jetstar
23​
7705​
22​
7370​
Qantas
213​
57282​
214​
57791​
United
231​
67928​
231​
67578​
 
January 2024 BITRE report now out.


UA had an Inbound load of 70% and an outbound load of 59% across all services.

Rivals:
DL: Inbound: 72.9%, Outbound: 63% (Across the 2 per day (double daily) SYD services)
AA: Inbound: 88%, Outbound 73% (Single daily SYD-LAX).
QF: Inbound 83%, Outbound 74% (Across all services primarily from the East Coast).

Numbers are for non-stop flights only.
 
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January 2024 BITRE report now out.


UA had an Inbound load of 70% and an outbound load of 59% across all services.

Rivals:
DL: Inbound: 72.9%, Outbound: 63% (Across the 2 per day (double daily) SYD services)
AA: Inbound: 88%, Outbound 73% (Single daily SYD-LAX).
QF: Inbound 83%, Outbound 74% (Across all services primarily from the East Coast).

Numbers are for non-stop flights only.
There appears to be a lot of over stayers or there are a huge amount of RTW flyers! ie those stats are just wrong?
 
Having flown UA J a number of times now, I think they have the superior product to QF across the Pacific.

Highlights include:
- Bedding (better/more pillows, better blankets/topper)
- Slippers (so much better than having to put your shoes back on to leave your seat)
- Flexibility (they were happy to serve people breakfast at the top of descent if they ate quickly!!)
- Seat (better padding)
- Fewer children (almost all business people)
- Lounge if you're not QF WP

QF still have UA beat in terms of food presentation (I'd say taste is roughly par), lounge if you're Platinum and pyjamas (United's are very narrow around the cuffs and thus less comfortable).

Entertainment and service are on par, I'd say.
 
I'm interested in the potential of booking a United flight using Velocity points from EWR to HNL direct in Polaris. I can see 'United First (JN)' availability on the United website but only Economy on the Virgin website on the same date. Is it possible that the United (I) will be released at some stage and at that time it will appear on the Virgin website and can be booked with Velocity points?

Alternatively, we could look at departing the mainland USA from SFO if there's better availability there.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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