In what has been a very somber couple weeks for anyone with ties to Houston, anyone who uses the airport regularly and wants to fly to Australia have received some great news today.
United, the airport’s largest tenant, announced Thursday morning that they will begin a new Houston-IAH to Sydney, Australia service, the first nonstop flight between Houston and Australia ever. It is not the airport’s first flight to the Oceania region, however, as Air New Zealand serves Auckland three times a week onboard a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft.
Scott Kirby, president of United Airlines said, “Our Houston hub is stronger than ever and it continues to be an absolutely vital part of our industry-leading network. We are honored to have served this vibrant city for nearly half a century, and this exciting intercontinental flight is one more way we are demonstrating United’s commitment to our customers who call Houston home as well as the millions of customers who connect through Houston each year. This new route will serve more than 70 cities across North America making one-stop service to Sydney faster and more convenient than ever before.”
The new service between the two cities will begin January 18th, 2018, utilizing the airlines’ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, a type of which United has 20 examples of. Outfitted with 116 United Economy seats with on-demand entertainment, in-seat AC power, and complementary meals, 88 Economy+ seats with three extra inches of pitch and extra recline, and 48 United Business First seats, which transform into a fully-lie-flat bed. These seats will soon be replaced by United’s new “Polaris” brand, which features new hard and soft products to enhance any passengers travel experience.
United has made itself the prominent American airline for ultra-long-haul (ULH) flights, with the addition of San Francisco-Singapore last year, Los Angeles-Singapore later this year, and now Houston-Sydney, which clocks in at roughly 8,596 miles (13,833 km), making it the fourth longest flight on Earth, behind Los Angeles-Singapore (also United), Auckland-Dubai (Emirates), and Auckland-Doha (Qatar Airways).
“For nearly 50 years, the City of Houston and United Airlines have built a wonderful relationship and we are thrilled that United continues investing in its operations at George Bush Intercontinental Airport and throughout our community,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “This new route is just one of the ways United is demonstrating its commitment to its customers and employees in Houston. We are looking forward to visiting Sydney and welcoming our Australian visitors with open arms to Texas.”
The flight will operate under the following schedule:
UA101 Houston 8:00 p.m. departure -> Sydney 6:30 a.m. arrival (+2) Daily B789 17 hours, 30 minutes
UA100 Sydney 11:50 a.m. departure -> Houston 10:35 a.m. arrival Daily B789 15 hours, 45 minutes
All photos from Layoverhub writer Max Trimm.