United Airlines will begin offering daily, nonstop service between Houston and Sydney on Jan. 18.
At 8,596 miles, it will be United’s second-longest flight. Its Los Angeles-Singapore flight remains the longest.
Patrick Quayle, vice president of international network, said the new international flight is possible because United is rearranging flights at Bush intercontinental Airport this fall to make connections more efficient.
The new route will provide more than 70 cities across North America with one-stop service to Sydney. For example, United customers originating in Charlotte, N.C., currently have to fly to Chicago to connect to San Francisco to get to Sydney. With United’s new flight from Houston, customers would have just one stop.
“We’re not just going after the Houston traffic,” Quayle said.
The flight will be operated with the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft with 252 seats – 48 flat-bed seats in Polaris business class, 63 economy plus seats and 141 seats in economy.
Quayle said rearranging flights to boost efficiency, which the industry calls rebanking, will allow United to connect more passengers through Houston and, therefore, add more international service. He said the airline is always examining new opportunities.