Q: My partner is having to relocate to Australia next summer for work. I live in on the East Coast, so I’m wondering what’s the easiest routing for me to visit him on a periodic basis?
The current nonstops from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Brisbane, Queensland happen only four times per week. But beginning January 15, 2012, six nonstops a week will be added and beginning July, 1, 2012, daily nonstops to Brisbane from Dallas. More direct flights to Sydney and Melbourne (and other parts of Australia) from Brisbane will be added as well. This will be by far the best access to Down Under for U.S. travelers, and will become the only daily non-stop service to Australia beyond Los Angeles. Brisbane is a warm, subtropical, sophisticated, and up-and-coming city affectionately know as “Bris-Vegas” to Aussies because of its casinos.
The new buzz in the aviation world is the double-decker jumbo jet Airbus A380, the largest (and some say most luxurious) passenger airliner in the world. Qantas already has about a dozen A380s, with plans to own a fleet of twenty of them by 2015. Some A380s will run the Dallas to Brisbane route beginning next July. Some flights will be on extended-range Boeing 747-400ERs airplanes currently being reconfigured as “next generation A380-style cabins.” Which means there will be enhanced food and bar service, choice of blankets and pillows, and hundreds of video-on-demand program options with personal, in-seat interactive video screens. Business and first class customers will enjoy enhanced Skybed sleeper seats, up to 1,000 entertainment options presented on 12-inch in-arm touch screen systems, and meal options from five-course dinners to a la carte menus to “room service breakfasts,” all designed by leading Australian Chef Neil Perry. First class will comprise of fourteen private suites with six and a half foot fully flat beds, complete and designer pajamas!
If this all sounds a little pricey, don’t worry: Qantas still generally has the least expensive fares from the U.S. to Australia. Qantas (known affectionately as “The Flying Kangaroo”) began in 1920, and in addition to a history of using (very queer singer) Peter Allen’s rendition of “I Still Call Australia Home” in their ads, they are also members of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association. Qantas has run many LGBT promotions in the past, including special packages for Sydney’s Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. They’ve been ranked within the top ten airlines in the world over the last six years by research consultancy firm Skytrax.
Sorry to hear you’ll be separated from your partner for awhile, but at least you can fly easily (and gaily) to visit him often!