It’s really expensive to fly back to Sydney these days, especially around the Christmas/New Year’s holiday period.
United holds a monopoly on the non-stop SFO-SYD route, which it flies using a really old Boeing 747. On the dates I wanted to fly, almost 15 hours of pain without a seat-back TV in economy would set me back more than $2,400.
After that, it’s really slim pickings. Transiting through LAX with Virgin Australia is still almost $2,200. That’s the last credible option.
Apart from that, you can pick up a ticket on China Eastern Air for around $1,500, but then you commit to a 50-hour odyssey (one way), routing through Shanghai and Nanjing before you get to Sydney. No thanks.
So I decided instead to buy a much cheaper ticket to London and redeem a few airline miles to get me the rest of the way on a couple airline products I’ve wanted to try out for a while. This is the route I ended up booking:
That’s SFO-LAX-LHR on American’s new 777-300, LHR-CAI-DXB on Egyptair, AUH-SYD on Etihad, SYD-DXB-LHR on a Qantas A380, and LHR-LAX-SFO on the same American 777-300.
The outbound journey is going to take up a whole weekend, but I do get to spend half a day in London, half a day in the UAE, and the rest of the time vegging out reading, watching TV, and getting fed.
I’ll let you know how it goes.