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Take off: New Australia-US route is one of the world’s longest
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Take off: New Australia-US route is one of the world’s longest

United Airlines’ non-stop flights from Houston to Sydney commence this Thursday.

The inaugural flight, UA 101, departs Houston at 8pm local time (1pm Friday, AEDT) on 18 January and arrives in Sydney on Saturday January 20 at 6.30am, taking 17.5 hours to cover the 13,850-kilometre flight.

It will be the world’s fourth longest flight route and the longest route every flown by a US airline.

The flight back from Sydney will depart on Saturday, January 20 at 11.50am, arriving in Houston at 10.35am am the same day.

The route will be serviced by the airline’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.

To celebrate the new route, United launched a nationwide search to find Australians bearing the name Houston (as either a first or last name) to travel on the first flight from Sydney.

Five Houstons and their guests will be flying to the city on United’s inaugural return flight to Houston to experience its “Southern-style hospitality, Texan BBQ, cowboys and cowgirls, and the NASA space station”.

In a reciprocal arrangement, five US residents named Sydney will get to experience Australian hospitality courtesy of United, flying on the first Dreamliner from Houston to Australia.

United’s second “ultra-long haul” flight – the first flying direct from Los Angeles to Singapore – will be the only non-stop service between Australia and Houston. They also operate services from Sydney to its west coast hubs in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and from Melbourne to Los Angeles.

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