Every time I think that American Airlines couldn’t possibly add more 777s on domestic routes out of Miami… American adds more 777s on domestic routes out of Miami. With this weekend’s schedule update, it sure is nice to be an American Airlines flyer in Miami.
American’s 6x daily 777s between Miami & Los Angeles
Between June 3 and August 16, 2021, American Airlines will fly 6x daily Boeing 777s between Miami (MIA) and Los Angeles (LAX):
- The airline will fly five 777-300ERs daily, featuring 304 seats
- The airline will fly one 777-200ER daily, featuring 273 seats
For what it’s worth, American has already scheduled 6x daily 777s between Miami and Los Angeles between May 6 and June 2, though that only includes two daily 777-300ERs, rather than five. So the summer schedule represents even more of a capacity increase over the spring schedule.
American will fly 777s 6x daily between MIA & LAX
What are the practical implications of all of this 777 service?
- All business & first class passengers will get fully flat beds
- 777s have premium economy, but American isn’t selling those seats as a distinct cabin; so if you book a Main Cabin Extra seat (which some elite members are entitled to for free) you can select a premium economy seat at no extra cost
- The five daily 777-300ERs even feature a four-cabin first class product, which is available for sale
Five daily flights will feature a first class cabin
American’s 7x daily 777s between Miami & New York
It’s not just transcon routes that are getting love. Between June 3 and August 16, 2021, American Airlines will fly 7x daily Boeing 777s between Miami (MIA) and New York (JFK):
- The airline will fly four 777-200ERs daily, featuring 273 seats
- The airline will fly three 777-300ERs daily, featuring 304 seats
American’s 777-300ER business class cabin
While American has historically occasionally operated 777s between Miami and New York, we’ve never seen the airline operate the 777 so consistently on the route. In particular, I don’t ever recall seeing the 777-300ER regularly scheduled in this market.
This update comes after New York has lifted its quarantine requirement for travelers, making it easier for New Yorkers to visit Florida (not that they haven’t been doing so already), and also making it easier for Floridians to visit New York.
All the same general principles apply as on the Miami to Los Angeles route, with one difference — between Miami and New York, American isn’t selling first class on the 777-300ERs. In other words, if you book business class on the route then you can reserve a first class seat at no extra cost.
Select a 777-300ER first class seat when booking business class
Other fun wide body routes out of Miami
While Los Angeles and New York are the only domestic destinations to get that many wide bodies out of Miami, there are some other notable Miami routes to get either 777s or 787s over the summer months:
- Between Miami and Dallas, American will fly wide bodies 5x daily — 3x daily 777-300ERs, 1x daily 777-200ER, 1x daily 787-8
- Between Miami and Boston, American will fly 2x daily 777-200ERs
- Between Miami and Las Vegas, American will fly 1x daily 787-8
- Between Miami and Chicago, American will fly 1x daily 787-8
American is also flying 787s domestically from Miami
How does this domestic 777 flying make sense?
American Airlines is selling really cheap fares in these markets (these are the lowest fares, and of course many people are paying more to fly):
- Between Miami and Los Angeles we’re seeing economy fares of under $100, and business class fares of under $550
- Between Miami and New York we’re seeing economy fares of under $80, and business class fares of under $250
Is there any world in which the math for these flights checks out? Yes, it does… right now might be the only time in history where this makes sense:
- American Airlines is ungrounding all of its planes as of May 2021
- While domestic demand has largely recovered, international demand hasn’t, so American has an excess of wide body aircraft
- Airlines have payroll support through September 30, 2021, so for all practical purposes, staffing these flights is costing them virtually nothing
- Not only that, but American needs to keep 777 pilots active and working, or else the airline will have a bigger issue of having to retrain pilots, given that these are also largely the more senior pilots
- With this strategy, once demand for international travel returns, American will have its 777 fleet (including pilots) ready to go, which is important
- Scheduling these planes on domestic routes gives American lots of flexibility; if travel restrictions are suddenly lifted, American could easily redeploy these planes on more lucrative international routes
Under ordinary circumstances there’s no way these flights would have made money. However, when you consider the lack of other places to fly these planes, and that the primary operating costs here are fuel, these flights probably do make sense, especially with oil prices being fairly low right now.
In other words, route planning for wide body aircraft right now isn’t really about finding the most profitable markets (because those largely don’t exist), but rather it’s about finding the least unprofitable way to utilize the planes, so that the planes are ready to go for better days ahead.
All American wide bodies have premium economy
American Airlines will be flying 777s unlike ever before this summer out of Miami, including all flights to Los Angeles and New York being operated by 777s. Perhaps most interesting is that American will offer 11x daily domestic 777-300ER frequencies out of Miami, which is unheard of.
Like I said, it’s a fantastic time to be an American flyer out of Miami, both in terms of the comfort of these planes, and in terms of upgrade odds.
What do you make of American’s 777 schedule out of Miami?