Qantas Launches Direct Flights To Japan’s Skiing Capital

Qantas has launched direct seasonal flights to Sapporo, Japan. This part of the world is well known for its excellent powder snow, awesome runs and a long winter season.

Qantas Airbus A330-300
The flight will be on an Airbus A330-300. Photo: Wikimedia

As a full-service carrier, Qantas has normally restricted itself to flying to hub cities, allowing its low-cost-carrier subsidiary Jetstar fly to tourist destinations. But this new route has opened up premium travel from Australia to the ski fields of Japan.

What are the details?

Qantas will be operating a three times a week service from Sydney to Sapporo, seasonally from December 16th to March 28th*. The new service will start this upcoming season (December 2019).

The new route flies almost directly north. Source: Google

This route is actually the first between the two cities; air travel is normally routed through Tokyo. This also means that Qantas’ competition has been beaten to the punch, with tickets rumored to go for around $1,400 AUD roundtrip. Cheaper flights can be had (such as flying via Bangkok) for around $800 AUD, but come with a 5+ hour layover.

Different flight options for a return trip in early February. Source: Google Flights

As Qantas has experienced with their direct Perth to London flights, passengers are willing to pay a premium to go direct.

“Travel between Australia and Japan is booming. These new flights make it easier for Australians to reach Hokkaido’s popular ski resorts like Niseko and Rusutsu,” – Qantas International Acting CEO Naren Kumar

What will the flight be like?

The 11-hour direct flight will be onboard a Qantas A330-300, with 28 business class seats and 269 economy seats. This A330 will actually have the new business class seat from Qantas, which features a private suite styled cabin in a 1-2-1 configuration. Naturally, it is lie-flat and has all the trademarks you would come to expect from a flag-carrier.

Qantas A330 business class
The Qantas A330 business class cabin. Photo: Wikimedia

It will also feature Qantas’ new economy cabin, which we reviewed here.

It will have the following frequency three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday:

  • Sydney to Sapporo – Departing 9:30 AM / Arriving 6:35 PM
  • Sapporo to Sydney – Departing 8:05 PM / Arriving 9:05 AM the next day.

What do you think of these new flights? Let us know down below!

Don’t forget Jetstar Japan

An added advantage of this route is access to Jetstar Japan. Qantas has been expanding is low-cost carrier into the country (which is notorious for expensive domestic flights) and as part of the network, travelers will be able to access cheap fares from Sapporo to other parts of Japan.

Jetstar Japan route map. Source: Jetstar

With over 500,000 Australians visiting the country each year, Japan is very keen to expand the accessibility of the country.

“The number of Australians traveling to Japan has more than doubled over the past five years, with almost 500,000 Australians visiting Japan in the last 12 months alone. We expect Japan’s popularity to continue with the country hosting a number of major international sporting events in the next two years.”

It is understood that the local government of Hokkaido (the region that Sapporo is located in) will be helping to fund advertising for the new route.

What do you think? Will you fly the new route?