Eyes on the Big Apple: Qantas takes off for New York

The Red Roo has taken off to the Big Apple with some extras onboard…

Qantas will today launch flights to New York for the first time since 2020, with a brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft leading the 23-hour marathon.

Flight QF3 will now fly from Sydney to Auckland, before taking off on the 16+ hour non-stop leg to New York.

qantas dreamliner 787

Travelling on the inaugural flight, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the lure of New York is as strong as ever.

“Since international borders re-opened, New York has been one of the most popular destinations for our customers who have been connecting on our partners from Qantas flights arriving into Los Angeles and Dallas, so it’s not surprising that we’ve seen very strong demand since our New York flights went on sale,” Mr Joyce said.

The flight

The Red Roo is initially offering thrice-weekly services, before upping the flights to four per week from October, just in time for the holiday season travel rush.


For now, QF3 will operate three days a week: Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

The flight departs Sydney at 10:05 am, before arriving in Auckland around at 3:15 pm local time.

After a friendly two-hour transit in Auckland, QF3 then continues onward to JFK, departing at 5:00 pm and touching down just over 16 hours later at 5:15 pm.

All up, (including flights and transit), the entire long-haul journey takes almost 23 hours.


The Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner has three cabins onboard, offering the perfect opportunity to experience first and business class.

Business class

QF3’s Business Class cabin offers 42 seats in an ideal 1-2-1 layout. You can expect a seat width of 23-24 inches (up to 61 cm), which converts into a comfortable 80″ (203 cm) flatbed.

In the larger forward cabin, all rows are separated from the lavatories by an exit, the effect is that there really isn’t a poor seat to be had. However, the front row is optimal for space, but in the centre, seating starts at row 2, where both seats are against the bulkhead and can be configured for a bassinet. Meanwhile, row 8 has you near the galley.

Each business class seat features USB ports for charging devices and have a large 16-inch entertainment system.

Premium economy

Passengers in premium economy cabin features 28 recliner seats with a 2-3-2 layout (20.5 inches/50cm) wide, making for a more long-haul friendly flight.

The Dreamliner features entertainment screens that are 25% larger than previous iterations of Qantas Premium Economy. There is also plenty of storage and support for devices, including a screen ledge for your own devices.

qantas dreamliner 787 premium economy cabin

Row 20 is great for extra legroom, but you do run the risk of being near children as 20A, 20B, 20J and 20K are bassinet configurable. Having said this, there have been complaints of reduced comfort when the passenger in front reclines, so a front-row seat may be best.


The economy section of 166 seats is presented in a 3:3:3 configuration, divided into two cabins. Seats have an extra inch of pitch (the gap between your seat and seat behind) but are slightly narrower than other aircraft. A new touch-screen of 12 inches is included in the seatback.

qantas dreamliner 787 economy seat
Width (inches)Pitch (inches)Recline (inches)
Qantas Dreamliner Business2346full
Qantas Dreamliner Premium Economy21389
Qantas Dreamliner Economy17326

Tip: Use the T-80 rule to opt for rows 40 or 46 for a little more legroom.

A word of warning – if travelling with children, locking in your seating and the infant on your ticket is important to do as early as possible, given the short supply of bassinet spots.

What about first class?

Sadly, the Qantas Dreamliner doesn’t feature first class.

The only aircraft to feature Qantas first class is the A380. If you’re interested to fly this product, you’ll find a comprehensive Review and Guide to Qantas first class in 2019 here.

How to book using Qantas Points

Here’s how many points you’ll need to fly from Sydney to New York via Auckland, providing there are reward seats available (excluding carrier chargers).

Economy classPremium Economy classBusiness class
Sydney to New York (JFK) via Auckland
Sydney to Auckland
Auckland to New York (JFK)51,20094,900126,500

What’s new onboard?

To compliment the new flight, Qantas is launching some novel customer initiatives to herald the airline’s return to New York, which Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer Markus Svensson said is a favourite destination for Australians travelling for both leisure and business.

“Qantas is one of the few airlines in the world to provide Business Class passengers with complimentary pyjamas, and we’re excited to launch a limited edition pyjama and amenity kit range in partnership with leading Australian fashion designer Rebecca Vallance,” said Mr Svensson.

Qantas x Rebecca Vallance collaboration pyjamas

Custom Qantas New York pyjamas and amenity kits

For a limited time, Business Class customers on the New York route will be offered a pyjama upgrade, with cotton threads featuring a monogram of the Qantas Kangaroo and Rebecca Vallance logo, as well as a custom Rebeca Vallance amenity kit (complete with matching eyeshade, of course).

Flight numbers QF3 and QF4 and a bespoke art deco New York heart design offer an ode to the destination, which the Australian designer said “has always felt like a second home”.

New York, new menu

Breakfast in bed won’t only feature new, comfy pyjamas, with Neil Perry’s New-York inspired menu making for a truly unique inflight experience.

“New York is one of the culinary capitals of the world, from its much-loved street food to its internationally revered fine dining Michelin starred restaurants. We are using some amazing Australian produce to put our own spin on some of New York’s most famous food experiences,” said Mr. Perry.

Here’s what you can expect to be served up at the pointy end:

  • New York style spaghetti and meatballs
  • Classic Reuben sandwich
  • NY bagel with lox, cream cheese, capers and lemon
  • General Tso chicken with smashed cucumber salad, steamed rice and broccolini
  • Classic beef hot dog with sauerkraut and spicy brown mustard
  • Seared beef fillet with creamed spinach and baked potato with sour cream and chives
  • Pecan pie with crème fraiche
  • New York style baked cheesecake with blueberry compote

The exciting new menu coincides with the Red Roo’s recently revamped menu, offering passengers even more culinary delights across the airline’s entire network.

What about the Qantas Lounge menu?

Be sure to keep an eye out for the New York-inspired dish of the day, Manhattan Spritz and Garibaldi cocktails in Qantas First Lounges in Sydney and Melbourne and the Auckland International Lounge throughout June.

Passengers will have to wait another year for the new Auckland lounge, which isn’t scheduled to be completed until mid-2024.

Summing up

Qantas has begun (almost) non-stop flights to New York in just two weeks, offering business class passengers a handful of new treats (which we love to see!)

The airline previously flew to New York via Los Angeles, which made for a long and tedious stopover. All up, passengers are now looking at almost 23 hours travel time, with the Auckland-New York leg clocking in at over 17 hours.

The Red Roo now operates three of the top five longest flights in the world, including Perth-London and Dallas-Melbourne, as it increases its focus on direct routes that are also among its most popular.

Qantas will begin its true non-stop service to New York in 2025 as part of the airline’s highly anticipated Project Sunrise plans.

What do you think of Qantas’ limited edition pyjamas?

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