American Is Adding New Routes And Expanding Shuttle Service

Filed Under: American

Today American put out a press release emphasizing the ways in which they’re expanding their route network in 2018. They mention that they’re introducing 52 new nonstop flights in 2018, though most of these have already been announced. However, there are a couple of new changes being announced today.

Here’s what Vasu Raja, American’s VP of Network & Schedule Planning, had to say about the additions:

“Our 2018 schedule opens up so many new possibilities of destinations. We are making it easier and more convenient for our customers to fly on American to places that are important to them all over the world, from serving smaller cities more frequently to visiting places we’ve never flown before.”

These changes complement the expansion that American has already announced to Budapest, Hungary, Prague, Czech Republic, and Reykjavik, Iceland (which I personally consider to be most exciting). On January 22, American will add the following new routes for travel as of June 7, 2018:

  • Three routes from PHL to Fort Wayne, Indiana (FWA); Oklahoma City (OKC); and Pensacola, Florida (PNS)
  • New service from both Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) and DFW to Panama City, Florida (ECP) and South Bend, Indiana (SBN)
  • Service from Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania (AVP)

Here’s a map showing all the new routes that American is adding this year:

On top of that, American has announced that they’re expanding their Shuttle service. Presently American operates Shuttle service between New York LaGuardia and Boston, New York LaGuardia and Washington Reagan, and Washington Reagan and Boston. Effectively April 4, 2018, American will be adding Shuttle service between New York LaGuardia and Chicago. American will offer hourly flights between the two cities, with up to 15 flights per weekday.

For customers there are a few benefits to the Shuttle service, the most significant of which is free beer and wine in the main cabin. On top of that, Shuttle gates are generally closer to the security checkpoint, there are dedicated check-in areas, and the cutoff for check-in is also extended.

American already offers up to 15 daily frequencies between the markets, so it doesn’t look like the frequency and schedule is changing, but rather they’re just improving the experience somewhat.

Presently Delta offers Shuttle service between Chicago and New York LaGuardia (even though Chicago isn’t a hub for them), so I think American is just matching Delta here.

Bottom line

These changes aren’t huge. At the moment American is just announcing new routes to some smaller markets, and is expanding Shuttle service to Chicago. It’s nice to see American adding service to smaller markets, though I wouldn’t call any of the changes here radical. This is part of American’s overall growth strategy, though I don’t see anything here that’s out of the ordinary.

Anyone excited about any of these changes from American?

  1. Lucky do you think AA has far too many hubs? Just looking at the map it seems crazy to have multiple hubs so geographically close together. Surely they should de-hub PHX and PHL?

  2. it’s hilarious the song and dance they’re doing with the ORD-LGA shuttle branding. I just picked a random May friday (5/18) that’s after the shuttle branding rollout, and it shows AA having 15x daily “shuttle” but UA’s “non-shuttle” is 17x daily.

    For ORD-LGA :
    DL’s 14x daily is “shuttle”
    AA’s 15x daily is “shuttle”
    but ironically, the frequency leader UA at 17x daily doesn’t have any of this “shuttle”-BS

    Here the nonstop frequencies of CHI to LGA – EWR – JFK respectively :

    DL = 14 – 0 – 5 , total 19
    AA = 15 – 7 – 1, total 23
    UA = 17 – 9 – 0, total 26

  3. Holy cow have I been waiting for another JFK-DEN option. Make that trip several times/year. Great to see this as an AA EXP.

  4. AA’s map (top figure) suggests a contempt for small cities. The map omits smaller airports with new service, such as OKC and FWA. This is typical of the contempt that non-flyerover people have over people who live in flyover states. Deep seated political and social tensions are hard to resolve.

  5. I’m looking at a random August friday (8/10), and there are freaking 3x LGA-PHL on AA but a ridiculous 6x on JFK-PHL. (oh ya, they’re 100% on 1-class ERJ-140s)

    despite what some AApologists love to proclaim how they’re feeding the hub, it doesn’t pass the smell test to me at all. if they truly cared about feeding the PHL hub, those flights would be out of LGA not JFK.

    if this isn’t slot squatting I don’t know what is

  6. @Ben
    Actually, AA’s been de-hubbing New York JFK in favour of Philly. Every year I see less and less (year-round) long-haul flights operating out of JFK.
    A few years ago, JFK lost its only AA flight to Asia (Tokyo Haneda) when AA decided that JFK-HND was not profitable at all and ended up discontinuing service to Tokyo from NYC altogether (AA might start Asia service from Philly but not in a foreseeable future…) Also Manchester service, which American has kept for ages, was discontinued. There has been rumours of British Airways starting a Manchester-JFK flight, but nothing’s been heard from BA since then. I highly doubt they’ll look into starting any sort of intercontinental flights out of London UNLESS it becomes impossible to add more flights out of Heathrow (project for a new runway isn’t going terribly well…)

    For this year, one of two daily CDG flights got axed. JFK-ZRH is being discontinued this April, replaced by flight operating out of Philly (same 763ER equipment tho). All the big seasonal routes for this summer are out of AA’s other hubs (There will be PHL to BUD/PRG, ORD to VCE, DFW to KEF AMS etc)
    Summer seasonal service from JFK to Edinburgh and Dublin survived for this year, but I don’t really think those will stay forever. It might get moved to Philly as well.
    New York is a way bigger market than Philly, but there’s more competition and higher operating cost. So despite AA calling JFK a “hub,” I think they are focusing more on point to point demand (for destinations with proven demand in Europe/South America).

    In conclusion, JFK will retain its somewhat weak “hub” status, and long-haul services to LHR/CDG/MXP/BCN/MAD/GIG/GRU will survive. But I don’t see any future growth nor ambitious growth out of JFK.

  7. Laughable to rebrand as shuttle service. And it’s amusing that, according to @lucky, the best perk of the shuttle is free beer/wine…

  8. @lucky – You outline other things that would be much more appealing, proximity to security and later check-in cutoff. As a business traveler those things are MUCH more important than free drinks.

  9. @ Alan — Are most business travelers checking bags? That’s why I don’t view it as much of a benefit, since you can check in online. Yes, gates close to security are nice, but that’s not actually very consistent, and I don’t find American’s Chicago terminal to be that tough to navigate.

  10. @henry LAX yes, UA has more frequencies in the NYC-ORD market but also the worst onboard service among the three…

    I’ll take less frequencies and better service.

    For JFK-PHL, AA is slowly killing off their JFK connecting hub in favor for PHL, so I suspect those 6x JFK-PHL flights are more for aircraft positioning purposes since flights out of JFK has been shrinking for years now and those E140s end up being utilized less and less sitting at JFK.

    JFK, if it hasn’t already, will be simply a focus city for AA… Of course, AA will continue to call JFK a hub just for the sake of appeasing to the NYC market, but we all know AA @ JFK is a skeleton now.

  11. Thank goodness that AA is planning a JFK–PHL flight. When does that flight begin? US Air used to fly to Newark (presumably because United was also Star Alliance (prior to the US Air/American merger), but there are many times that there’s award availability out of JFK, and I can’t get there from Philadelphia (sometimes, the award routes be through raleigh or columbus or even New Orleans). I would’ve thought American would have started this PHL-JFK flight immediately post-merger. At least 2x or 3x a day. Instead, DELTA is the only airline (as of now) flying that route. What took so long? Help me understand.

  12. Why does American keep expanding Philadelphia and Charlotte? Those hubs are US Airways deadweight. Expand MIA and ORD. They need more flights to Asia from LAX or DFW.

  13. @lucky – You seemed to speak those up as benefits yet now say they’re not useful benefits and that gate location is unreliable. So if there are no true business benefits why would AA even care to rebrand flights as shuttle? Seems like a huge waste of time and money when all they’d need to do is run hourly flights anyway…

  14. Disappointed that AA didn’t add ORD-YEG (Edmonton) service. Edmonton could really use some better connections to the U.S. mid-west and East Coast. Currently, all they have is DL via MSP and AC via YYZ plus limited connections on Westjet via YYZ. Having only two airlines to choose from really jacks up the fares!

  15. “New York is a way bigger market than Philly, but there’s more competition and higher operating cost. So despite AA calling JFK a “hub,” I think they are focusing more on point to point demand (for destinations with proven demand in Europe/South America). ”

    That has been the line being touted around by their corporate mouthpieces on and elsewhere ……

    which *sounds* semi believable at the first glance but then you realize for that statement to be true, they would have to classify things like

    ………….. JFK – Tokyo / Shanghai / Tel Aviv / Amsterdam / Frankfurt

    as “unproven point-to-point demand”.

  16. PHL to OKC! My most frequent flight. I’m beyond thrilled for a nonstop AA option. Nearly guaranteed an upgrade as an ex plat on this route.

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