American Airlines Cuts International Flights By 75%

Filed Under: American

Update: American Airlines has now cancelled many routes through summer 2020 and beyond.

As countries change travel restrictions by the minute, you can’t help but feel bad for the scheduling nightmare that airlines have. Airlines are massively modifying their schedules on an almost daily basis, responding to conditions.

American Airlines reduces international flights by 75%

Several days ago American Airlines announced massive capacity cuts, and now the airline has revealed their biggest capacity cuts yet, as American Airlines will reduce international flying by 75%. As a point of comparison, United has reduced international flying by 95%.

Let’s go through the changes by regions, as there’s not much left.

American Airlines Asia flight cuts

Understandably we’ve already seen huge cuts to Asia, as American Airlines‘ flights to Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Shanghai, have been cut. With American Airlines’ latest changes:

  • As of March 16, 2020, American will cut all service to Asia except 3x weekly Dallas to Tokyo Narita flights
  • This means that flights from Dallas to Tokyo Haneda, Los Angeles to Tokyo Haneda, and Los Angeles to Tokyo Narita, are all being cut

American Airlines Australia & New Zealand flight cuts

American Airlines flies to Sydney and Auckland:

  • American will suspend Los Angeles to Auckland flights as of March 16, 2020, rather than March 28, 2020 (this is a seasonal flight, so it’s only ending a couple of weeks earlier than planned)
  • American will suspend Los Angeles to Sydney flights from March 16 through May 6, 2020

American Airlines is suspending Sydney flights

American Airlines Europe flight cuts

With an initial travel ban on Schengen countries, and then a new travel ban on the UK and Ireland, we’re seeing huge flight cuts to Europe:

  • American will continue operating one daily flight to London Heathrow from Dallas and Miami
  • American will suspend flights to London Heathrow from Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York; this will happen gradually over the next seven days, to accommodate passengers and crews
  • American will immediately suspend flights to London Heathrow, Dublin, and Manchester, from Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Phoenix
  • American will maintain the previous Europe route cuts that were announced, including reductions of flights to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Madrid, Munich, Paris, and Zurich

American Airlines is cutting all New York to London flights

American Airlines South America flight cuts

South America is seeing huge route cuts as well, as of March 16, 2020:

  • American is suspending flights to Rio de Janeiro and Georgetown from Miami and New York
  • American is suspending flights to Sao Paulo from Dallas, Miami, and New York
  • American is suspending flights to Santiago, Bogota, Guayaquil, Quito, and Lima, from both Dallas and Miami
  • American is suspending service to Brasilia, Manaus, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Cali, Medellin, and Pereira, from Miami

American Airlines is cutting most South America flights

How are airlines expected to keep up?

I don’t want to go so far as to say that most airlines should just completely shut down for a few weeks, but gosh I sure do feel bad for airlines. How on earth are they supposed to keep up with the constantly evolving restrictions?

We’re seeing airlines completely overhaul their schedules every few days, and the changes are happening so often that I don’t even understand how airlines are supposed to be able to rebook people fast enough, given the super long hold times on the phone, and lack of online rebooking options.

Obviously there’s some minimum amount of air service that’s needed for essentials, but at this point, one has to wonder if there’s any incremental profits for operating rather than just parking the whole fleet for a couple of weeks and calling it a day?

Bottom line

It’s not surprising to see American cut 75% of international flights, and if anything, that almost seems mild.

While American is adjusting their schedule significantly, they haven’t otherwise announced any major changes. For example, Delta has revealed massive domestic cuts, as well as plans to ground about 300 planes, while we haven’t seen as many adjustments of this type from American.

The company is looking for employees to accept voluntary leaves of absence, but some employee groups aren’t happy about that.

  1. Can’t be easy for them. Airlines are not cheap to run and they have over 100,000 employees to keep paying while dealing with a 50% (or more) reduction in demand. This is impacting millions in the aviation industry.

  2. I cancelled my ORD-MIA-GYE flight yesterday that was planned for March 19th. Am I stuck with the credit or can I get a refund?

  3. Cancellation of flights to Australia and NZ might have something to do with both those counties now requiring non citizens to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival as from 16 March 2020.

  4. With the situation in each country and their policies changing by the hour, I am not sure how route planning can go on. This is completely unchartered territory – I think airlines need to take a step back and wait till some clarity develops.

  5. As of this writing (15-March, 10:18am Eastern Time), the Brazil flights (GRU-MIA) that are announced to have been suspended are still available for sale – both on and on OTAs.

    Strange they didn’t zero them out already at the time of the announcement. Suppose it’s just a matter of time, but how disappointing it must be for anyone that reserves via the normal channel without first having read the relevant press release.

  6. Now is an awesome time to buy stock in the big 3. Easy money. The gov has practically guaranteed a bailout and I just can’t see any of them going belly up at this point. Easy money.

  7. @Shawn

    I would hold short on advising ‘easy money’. You forgot 3 big things.
    1. They can still fail. The theory of bailout is because they are too big to fail. However, at this current rate their operations have scaled down to a point that they would not a big effect overnight. Airlines have already reduced jobs. Demands have already dropped to a point losing an airline would disrupt travel anymore, short and long term.
    2. The government bailed them after 9/11 and they still failed. The 3 survived through M&A. Airlines should now know better how to deal with such crisis. This is a good excuse for the government to not bail them out again.
    3. Even if all the big3 survives, there is the question of how long before you get your returns. In few months, in 3 years, in 5 years?

    Is it a good investment?
    It’s up to you to decide.
    Is is easy money?
    Not even close, I feel more confident playing Blackjack.

  8. @Shawn definitely a good time to buy and hold for long term. Especially if the markets plummet further tomorrow.
    I’ve been buying up crypto. Opportunity of a lifetime at these low levels.

  9. As someone who works for one of the big three it’s really sad in the airports. The terminals are empty and flights are half full. At first it was fun to have a break but now it’s sad because they can’t go on like this. There are so many jobs and lives on the line, once this goes away we need people to come back. I can only hope that happens soon.

  10. Do I dare go on a vacation to Belize next week Tuesday/ BDL to MIA, MIA to BZE, stay for 10 days and return on reverse itinerary..

  11. I took two American flights on Saturday: DTW to DFW to BUR and both were full. They supplied hand wipes to first class, but that was it.

  12. I heard AA was parking most of their wide body fleet. Not sure how accurate that is but would make sense.

  13. The airlines will be fine. They have billions of dollars in cash on hand. That won’t stop them from seeking — and getting — bailout from Washington.

  14. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised at my interactions with AA phone representatives in the wake of three TATL trip cancellations in as many weeks. Each time, no waiting on hold, fees waived and flights easily rebooked without hassle. In my short five year history with AA, this is clearly their finest hour. They have been incredibly helpful.
    Everyone you talk to – the airlines, hotels and ground transportation people, here and over in Europe are shell shocked at all the rapid and negative changes coming about each day, several all at once. Having experienced the aftermath of 9/11 and COVID-19, I can report that this is a lot worse. Let’s hope for a speedy and healthy resolution of this crisis.

  15. @Donna this is much worse than the aftermath of 9/11. We are more globalized and social media blows everything out of proportion. All over a flu. Technology is the decline of civilization.

  16. KS – No… It makes much more sense to adapt on the fly instead of just waiting as if nothing is happening.

    In fact, I’d go as far as to say this should be pretty easy for the route planners. Mass cancellations must be MUCH easier to plan than trying to get aircraft utilisation as close to 100% as possible while trying to prioritise the most profitable routes.

  17. D3KingAmerican – No, the idiots who think this “is just a flu” will be the end of civilisation. There would be millions dead with a collapsed global economy if it was treated that way.

    The growing trend of “I know better than all the experts do, even though I’m a bit of an idiot” is going to cause serious pain over the next few decades.

  18. “Just a flu” killed upwards of 50million people in 1918. But yeah, it was just a flu.

    When does intellectual laziness and stupidity step over the line to immoral? Soon.

  19. Was planning to travel to Peru late April…that is now kaput since AA has canceled all flights through middle of May…what I find interesting is that the site is still selling seats on planes to Lima that have been canceled. I bet that will make customers and AA agents really happy to deal with that!

  20. @D3KingAmerican

    So either you are a hypocrite or you are destroying your own civilization.

    Technology is the decline of civilization.
    I’ve been buying up crypto.

    Your statement also seems to point out that you are among the people who bought 5 years supply of toilet paper, 3 years supply of rice, and enough hand sanitizes to fill a bath tub.

    Opportunity of a lifetime at these low levels.

    Might I suggest you use your D3 and enjoy it while it last. Your D2 might be taken soon.

  21. Just rebooked on LAST AA flight out of Rio de Janeiro 3/16. Lucky I saw the media coverage as AA is NOT telling their customers who have flights booked for after the 16th.

  22. @Eskimo

    I’m smarter than the average Trump supporter. A big fish in a small pond.

    Yes when the market goes down 55% because of corona virus fear it rebounds in the long term. Millionaires are created at times like these.

    I wish I had D2s. Yes I wouldn’t be surprised if those are taken away but D3s aren’t free so American wouldn’t turn away revenue on an otherwise empty seat. Any airline employee should watch out for their pension and benefits for sure .

  23. Those who say the big 3 are too big to fail, please think about the following:

    -These are airlines quickly parking of 50-75+% of their fleet but hanging onto all their costs (leases, employees, infrastructure, etc.)
    -If the trend continues soon you could be down to almost no flights
    -More people are canceling flights than booking them. Unless airlines convince the clients to accept a voucher this is a huge drag on their finances in refunds.

    So all of a sudden the Big 3 are just 3 with little to no flights, a drag on their finances. At the current rate I’d be surprised we don’t see at least one of them file chapter 11 by month end.

    After that, whether they manage to avoid liquidation will depend on the length of the crisis. For PR I’d bet the government gives a package to the airlines in the country, but that isn’t a sure thing either.

  24. I have checked AA website and they are still selling MIA-Grand Cayman – through March at least-but are they operating these Caribbean sectors still?
    I can’t get a straight answer

  25. Wrong information – I just spoke to AA and as of now, they have not cancelled flights to Brasil from the US.

  26. I understand that air travel is under constant pressure due to Covid-19. However, the US State Dept has issued a level 4 travel warning and the US administration has discouraged all Americans to not travel outside of our boarders other than essential travel. Despite these policies and statement, AA continues to have numerous flights to Mexico from Boston and numerous other US cities. AA continues to sell seats on several flights even tomorrow and the rest of this week.
    I hold 7 tickets from BOS through Chicago to Cabo San Lucas for mid April. I purchased my tickets on June 4, 2019. The irony is even if I wanted to change my travel plans, I only have until June 4th to begin the travel. Covid is not going to be under control in the US by then. Our infection rates are tripling every 3 days and they are not even near peaking. And then there is Mexico which is not disclosing factual info out of fear of harming its tourism economy.
    Does AA notify ticket holders when flights are cancelled? How can one find out which international flights are cancelled on a daily or periodic basis?
    AA has the most rigid policy about passenger travel change in this extraordinary circumstance. AA is the last organization that should profit from my $7K loss.
    I plan to do nothing and then notify the airlines later on my day of travel hoping that they cancel the flight. As of now, that is the only way to get a refund. I welcome comments and suggestions from other experienced AA ftraveers. Thank you.

  27. I’m an American in Brazil. I was supposed to return to JFK on 20 March. AA canceled my ticket without informing me. All their flights in April out of here are “suspended.” They booked me on a May flight. There is no telling what will happen. Will they cancel that too? And like another commenter there is no way of telling what they’ll cancel or not. Very concerned.

  28. Can you please update me if I can go home to philippines please I really wanna go home if you have already a safe trip our flight was supposed to be march 24,2020 we moved it because of some flight changes we move it march 28,2020 and still flight schedules is changing that’s why my cousin booked it June 20,2020 but I want it earlier please help me I’m with my mom please help us ;( we need to go home we miss our family back there

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