April 2020 Date Set For Direct Qantas Chicago Flights

The long-awaited direct Qantas flights between Brisbane and Chicago are set to begin on April 20th, 2020. It follows the recent approval by the US Department of Transport and Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission of a joint venture between Qantas and American Airlines to cooperate on selected US – Australia routes.

The Flying Kangaroo will be seen in Chicago from April 2020. Photo: Qantas

With that bedded down, Qantas isn’t wasting any time locking in the flights.

Australian Business Traveller is reporting that there will be four flights a week in each direction. The Qantas 787-9 Dreamliner flights will spend 16+ hours cruising nonstop across the Pacific to the Windy City.  Its codeshare partner and US best buddy American Airlines has some 500 flights a day out of Chicago to other North American destinations, including frequent shuttles to New York.

The timetable

The 787-9 will push back from Brisbane mid-afternoon and, owing to the vagaries of the International Dateline and timezones, land in Chicago on the same day – a mere one hour later!

Heading back to Brisbane is another matter. The mid-evening departure out of O’Hare arrives into Brisbane just in time for breakfast two days later.

It is a big boost for Brisbane and it’s long-suffering frequent flyers to the United States. These flights will allow them to avoid the dreaded transit and immigration processes at LAX.

In addition, the lucky passengers in one of the 42 business suites on the 787-9 Dreamliner will get to enjoy the best Qantas business class product in the sky and one of the better business class products in the world.

The 16+ hour transpacific flight will be a bit easier for lucky passengers in business class. Photo: Qantas

In a statement provided to Simple Flying, Qantas said;

“By flying direct (to Chicago), Qantas customers will save more than six hours on a return trip compared with today. The service also opens up a new Qantas gateway for Australians into North America.”

The route, an awesome 14,326km will be the fourth-longest in the world and the second-longest in the Qantas network, with Heathrow – Perth taking the first prize.

Brisbane is feeling the love from Qantas

It’s not just Chicago that’s opening up to Queenslanders. Those Napa Valley vineyards are a little bit closer with direct Brisbane – San Francisco flights beginning February 9th, 2020.

The thrice-weekly flights will also be operated by the 787-9 Dreamliners, complementing the existing daily 787-9 flights from Brisbane to Los Angeles. It gives Queenslanders yet another way to avoid LAX.

There’s a growing amount of traffic between Australia and San Francisco. There are already direct flights between Sydney and Melbourne and San Francisco on both Qantas and United. For the time being, Qantas will have a monopoly on the Brisbane – San Francisco route.

In their statement to Simple Flying, Qantas said;

“The new route from Brisbane will cater for both leisure travelers and the growing number of Australian entrepreneurs wanting to connect with Silicon Valley and San Francisco’s world-leading technology companies.”

The lounge lizards are well taken care of

Business-class and other eligible passengers departing Brisbane get to use the recently expanded and rather swish Qantas Brisbane Lounge.

The light and airy Qantas International Lounge at Brisbane Airport. Photo: Qantas.

In both San Francisco and Chicago, there are a wider choice of lounges. In San Francisco, Qantas Club members can head to the Air France lounge but higher tier passengers are better off making a beeline for the Cathay Pacific lounge.

In Chicago, there’s a lot to love about the American Airlines Flagship Lounge. Given the Qantas – AA bromance is in full swing, eligible Qantas passengers heading to Brisbane should find a warm welcome there.


As more 787-9s are delivered to Qantas, the airline is looking to expand its wings. Seattle looks set to be the next North American destination. Qantas is also eyeing direct Perth – Paris flights but that is contingent on the airline’s ongoing fees dispute with Perth Airport being settled.

If the long-anticipated longer-range Project Sunrise planes come into being, we can expect the Flying Kangaroo’s attention to shift from Queensland down to the bigger southern capitals of Sydney and Melbourne.

But in the meantime, it’s a big boost for Brisbane and its airport. They may as well make the most of their time in the sun.