Flight routes from Australia to the US guide: The best and fastest flight routes and which airlines fly them

How to get the best seat on a plane

Ever spent 15 hours stuck in the middle seat in economy class? Then this guide's for you.

Which airlines can you fly from east coast Australia to the United States, either non-stop or with just one stop en route to your destination? Basic to this survey is the assumption that a one-stop flight will continue aboard the same airline, and only routes via the Pacific are included, not those via Asia (which would require some back-tracking).

THE ROUTE: Non-stop to Los Angeles

WHO FLIES IT?

Virgin Australia International (From Sydney and Brisbane). See Airline review: Virgin Australia business class

Qantas (from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane). See Airline review: Qantas premium economy

American Airlines (From Sydney only)

United Airlines (Sydney and Melbourne). See also: Airline review: United Airlines, Economy Plus class

Delta (From Sydney only)

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?

14-15 hours

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WHY YOU WOULD

Strong competition on this route keeps fares low. Los Angeles is the major hub on the West Coast, with frequent flights to destinations throughout the US and a wide choice of airlines.

WHY YOU WOULDN'T

Queues for security checks at LAX are often long and slow moving, and despite recent upgrades the airport is badly organised. Feedback on airport review sites is almost universally scathing. Rating is just 3/10 on Skytrax.

American Airlines Boeing 777

American Airlines is one of four carriers flying non-stop from Australia to LA.

THE ROUTE: Non-stop to San Francisco

WHO FLIES IT?

Qantas (From Sydney only). See Airline review: Qantas premium economy

United Airlines (From Sydney only)

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?

13 hours 35 minutes

WHY YOU WOULD

Although it lacks the blockbuster showbiz attractions of Los Angeles, San Francisco is a great stopover city for anyone looking for a more refined experience.

WHY YOU WOULDN'T

San Francisco is a smaller air traffic hub than Los Angeles. If you're in a hurry to get somewhere else, LAX will usually be a better choice.

THE ROUTE: Via Auckland to Los Angeles

WHO FLIES IT?

Air New Zealand (From Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane)

American Airlines (From Melbourne and Brisbane)

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?

17 hours 20 minutes to 26 hours 13 minutes

WHY YOU WOULD

Air New Zealand rates a creditable 7/10 on Skytrax's Customer Reviews page. The airline's SkyCouch is a great option for economy flyers looking for a little more comfort on the trans-Pacific leg.

WHY YOU WOULDN'T

Unless you're planning a stopover in New Zealand, the connection in Auckland adds to the agony factor. For most travellers the non-stop flight across the Pacific is going to be a better option.

THE ROUTE: Via Auckland to San Francisco

WHO FLIES IT?

Air New Zealand (From Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane)

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?

17 hours to 21 hours 30

WHY YOU WOULD

Flyers from Brisbane or Melbourne bound for San Francisco might well be tempted. The alternative is a domestic flight to Sydney, change terminals, clear immigration and board either a Qantas or United non-stop flight to San Francisco. For these flyers, via Auckland is more straightforward.

WHY YOU WOULDN'T

This makes no sense for flyers originating in Sydney unless they're stopping over in NZ.

THE ROUTE: Via Hawaii

WHO FLIES IT?

Hawaiian Airlines (From Sydney and Brisbane to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland)

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?

18 hours 20 minutes to 36 hours 50 minutes

WHY YOU WOULD

A stopover in Hawaii is never going to be a bad idea, and along with Los Angeles and San Francisco, Hawaiian Airlines offers one-stop flights to major cities in the north-west US for flyers originating from Brisbane and Sydney.

WHY YOU WOULDN'T

If you're not stopping in Hawaii on the way through this is not a great option.

Hawaiian Airlines is ramping up against Qantas.

Flying Hawaiian Airlines means you can stopover in beautiful Hawaii on your way to the mainland.

THE ROUTE: Direct to Dallas Fort Worth

WHO FLIES IT?

Qantas. See Airline review: Qantas A380 business class

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?

15 hours 25 minutes

WHY YOU WOULD

You're straight into a major hub, with onward flights to every other major city in the US.

WHY YOU WOULDN'T

It's one of the world's longest non-stop flights: choose your seat with care if you're flying economy.

First Class in the Qantas A380.

If you're flying to Dallas on one of the world's longest routes, Qantas' A380 first class is the place to be.

THE ROUTE: To New York City

WHO FLIES IT?

Qantas (From Sydney and Melbourne via Los Angeles)

American Airlines (From Sydney only)

United Airlines (From Melbourne via Los Angeles. From Sydney via either Los Angeles or San Francisco)

Delta (From Sydney only)

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?

20 hours 25 mins to 24 hours 39 minutes

WHY YOU WOULD

A one-stop flight is by far the best way to get to New York City in a hurry.

WHY YOU WOULDN'T

Only if a stopover is required and Los Angeles and San Francisco don't fit the bill.

THE ROUTE: To Los Angeles via Fiji

WHO FLIES IT?

Fiji Airways (From Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney)

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?

17 hours 40 minutes to 35 hours

WHY YOU WOULD

Service and crew friendliness get a big tick but this flight is only a good option if you're stopping over in Fiji.

WHY YOU WOULDN'T

Smaller airlines such as Fiji Airways have less capacity to uplift passengers in case of problems with an aircraft.

Get cheap flights with Fiji Airways.

Fiji is also a stopover option with Fiji Airways.

See also: World's safest airlines in 2017

See also: World's worst airlines named

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