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Update 9/7/17: United has added this flight to the schedule, and you can now book a ticket using cash and miles. Round-trip economy tickets currently start at $1,882 or 80,000 miles + $120. Business class will run you $7,275 and up, or 140,000 miles round-trip in business class. There’s saver availability for both classes of service, with at least four seats available on some dates.

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Come January 18, 2018, there will be a new addition to the list of the world’s 10 longest flights. At 8,590 miles each way, United’s latest route — Houston to Sydney — will unseat Qantas’ Dallas-Sydney flight by a mere 10 miles. The flight will be operated by the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, the same aircraft United’s planning to use for its ultra-long-haul Los Angeles-Singapore service, which launches next month.

The new flight will be the first nonstop option connecting Houston and Australia, and joins United’s other Sydney flights — one from Los Angeles (LAX) and the second from San Francisco (SFO). The carrier also operates service from LAX to Melbourne (MEL). Including this launch, all of United’s Australia flights will be operated by Boeing’s Dreamliner.

A United 787-9 Dreamliner at LAX.

In a press release, United President Scott Kirby had this to say about the new flight:

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 flight trims the one-stop travel distance for a handful of airports in Texas and the surrounding states, and eliminates the need to connect for passengers originating or terminating their travels in Houston. It also significantly increases capacity on United’s flights to Australia, potentially boosting economy and business-class award and upgrade availability in the process.

Schedule (daily):

  • UA101 Houston (IAH) 8:00pm Departure ⇒ Sydney (SYD) 6:30am (+2) Arrival
  • UA100 Sydney (SYD) 11:50am Departure ⇒ Houston (IAH) 10:35am Arrival

United’s 787-9 Dreamliner offers 48 Polaris business-class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration with 22 inches of width and 78 inches of pitch.

This 787 also has 88 Economy Plus seats with 17.3-inch width and 35 inches of pitch, and 116 regular coach seats with 17.3-inch width and 32 inches of pitch.

While a bit more spacious than United’s new 3-4-3 economy, regular coach may not be tremendously comfortable on such a long flight.

Also note that only United’s 777-300ER currently offers the new Polaris business-class seats, so passengers traveling on this new flight will be flying the older lie-flat hard product with Polaris service, including bedding and upgraded meals. There are no confirmed plans to add the new seats to the 787-8 and 787-9.

Featured image courtesy of Gallo Images via Getty Images.

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