Qantas is fired up about its new flights from Dallas/Fort Worth to Brisbane, Australia. And American travelers in the east and midwest should be, too. Today, Qantas started sending a 747-400 nonstop four times weekly to get travelers to Australia’s third-biggest city via Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport. Return flights will come from Sydney.
That means that people in the middle of the United States need not schlep to Los Angeles or San Francisco to visit Australia.
Lots of travelers would love to skip a trip to LAX. They’ll tell you it’s a grungy, nasty, unfriendly airport. That it’s badly laid out, confusing, flat-out unpleasant. I happen to like LAX – there’s something about the energy of a major intercontinental airport that gets me excited. Though I admit LAX has a worn-out look to it. And it could be more organized.
Anyway, more flights to global destinations is a great thing. These flights make it easier to get to Australia. The flights are $719 each way – not a spectacular bargain next to some of the sub-$1,000 fares from L.A. found in recent years. But with one less flight needed to hit the Qantas gateways in California, it might even out. And don’t forget the time savings.
I’m not surprised Qantas is choosing Brisbane as its outbound gateway. I’d bet it’s about weather: Sydney sometimes gets socked in by clouds in the early morning when flights arrive from the U.S. Brisbane is reliably – almost notoriously – sunny. I learned about Sydney’s fickle morning weather the hard way … my flight to Sydney suffered the diversion to Brisbane. We had to refuel, as did many other arriving flights bound for Sydney. That caused a delay of a few hours – and some folks headed ultimately to Brisbane missed their connecting flights from Sydney, and Qantas wouldn’t just let them off while we were fueling. Kind of a bummer.
And you’ll find plenty of activities in Brisbane – pronounced “Brizzbin” and known as Brizzy to its residents. I love it. It’s world-class city in its own right, but horribly underrated. It’s walkable and vibrant. If you’re a fitness enthusiast, it seems like more than half the population is biking, running or swimming at any given time. Visitors can get acquainted with the city with a ride on the CityCat.
If you can time your visit with the city’s annual Brisbane Festival in September, you’re in for an extra treat. The 22-day-long festival starts with Riverfire, a wild fireworks display along the Brisbane river.
The city gets pretty wrapped up in this yearly shindig. Hotels might be scarce during that time, so plan ahead. If you can find accommodations near ANZAC Square, you’ll have more than a great view: You’ll also be close to fun spots like the City Botanic Gardens, The Brisbane Brewhouse, Queen Street Mall and the museums on the South Bank.
Since I live in Phoenix, the flights from DFW don’t do much for me. But you Middle America and East Coast folks – you’re in luck!