American Route Changes: New Flights To The Caribbean & Hawaii, Beijing Route Canceled

Filed Under: American

American has announced some interesting route additions and cancelations today. For an overview, American is introducing seasonal routes to the Caribbean and Hawaii, increasing frequencies on some existing Caribbean routes, adding capacity to London out of Dallas, and canceling flights between Chicago and Beijing.

American is adding seasonal Caribbean & Hawaii routes

American is both increasing frequencies on existing routes to the Caribbean, and also adding additional seasonal routes to the Caribbean and Hawaii.

Here are the details of American’s new frequencies (which are simply additional flights on existing routes):

Meanwhile here are the details of American’s new routes to the Caribbean and Hawaii, some of which are seasonal, and most of which are Saturday-only service:

Probably the most exciting addition is American’s new Chicago to Honolulu route, given that it’s operated by a 787 featuring flat beds in business class.

American’s 787 business class

If you want to redeem miles on one of these flights, as you can see the flights go on sale on May 14, 2018. Hopefully some award seats will be released as well (though I wouldn’t hold my breath).

American & British Airways are swapping two transatlantic routes

American and British Airways have a transatlantic joint venture, and the two airlines will be increasing capacity out of Dallas and Miami. Specifically, as of October 28, 2018:

  • British Airways will be taking over one of American’s Miami to London Heathrow frequencies; American uses a 777-300ER on the route, while British Airways will use a 747-400, so this will represent a capacity increase but a downgrade in terms of the quality of the product
  • American will be using that 777-300ER to instead operate an additional frequency between Dallas and London, in addition to British Airways’ existing daily 777-200 that’s flown in the market

American’s 777-300ER business class

This represents a mild capacity increase in Miami and a big capacity increase in Dallas. However, I’d say it’s bad news for those in Miami, since American has a superior transatlantic product, and the one daily 777-300ER will no longer be available.

This makes American’s Flagship First Dining facility in Miami even more of a head-scratcher. Once this swap happens, the only American flights out of Miami with international first class will be to Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires.

American Flagship First Dining Miami

American is canceling their Chicago to Beijing route

American will be discontinuing flights from Chicago to Beijing as of October 20, 2018. American will continue to operate flights from Dallas and Los Angeles to Beijing, and they’ll be seeking a dormancy waiver from the US Department of Transportation for the route.

Here’s what American’s VP of Network & Schedule Planning, Vasu Raja, said about this:

“American is operating more seats from Chicago this summer than in the past 10 years, and we are excited to continue to grow in this important hub. However the current fare environment severely limits our ability to successfully compete between Chicago and Beijing. We remain committed to China and anticipate that moving to the new Beijing airport in the future will improve the viability of the route through the additional connectivity in conjunction with our codeshare relationship with China Southern in the long run.”

I’m amazed US airlines haven’t dropped more capacity to Asia. The amount of capacity dumping we’re seeing by Chinese airlines in the US has lowered transpacific fares to a level we’ve never seen before. I can’t wrap my head around how any US airlines are even doing decently well on these routes.

American 787 at Beijing Airport

Bottom line

American has long been the strongest US airline in the Caribbean, and these additions only further reinforce that. Those are lots of new Caribbean frequencies, including some that are seasonal, and some that only operate on Saturdays. The Chicago to Honolulu route is a nice addition as well, given that it’ll be American’s longest route to Honolulu.

The other changes are interesting as well. American and British Airways are increasing capacity between London and Dallas/Miami, though on balance I’d say the Miami change is bad news, since American will no longer fly a 777-300ER between Miami and London.

Then the Chicago to Beijing route cancelation doesn’t come as much of a surprise, and frankly I’m surprised we haven’t seen more route cancelations from US airlines to China.

What do you make of American’s route changes?

  1. Help us out a little – those are some pretty obscure airport codes. Maybe tell us what they are?

  2. Beijing’s new airport should be open before October 2019, can’t American just stick around a little longer? Wondering if Delta will jump in and try to take the slot and open LAX-PEK.

  3. Brings back fond memories of the time we got AA RT business to Beijing for $20 in the great fare mistake of ’15

  4. @jfhscott
    BGI – Barbados
    CUR – Curacao
    FPO – Freeport, Bahamas
    POS – Port of Spain, Trinidad
    SDQ – Santo Domingo, Dom Rep
    UVF – Saint Lucia (Had to look that one up)
    ELH – Eleuthera, Bahamas (another new one to me)
    MHH – Marsh Harbor, Bahamas
    AUA – Aruba
    SVD – St. Vincent & Grenadines (new airport, same code)
    GCM – Grand Caymen
    NAS – Nassau, Bahamas
    PLS – Providenciales, Turks & Caicos

  5. @Lucky – Help me out here. AA has had an operating schedule for MIA-LHR set for a while. They have planned to operate 1 77W and 1 772 (77W for Summer).

    AA 38/39 – Is 77W
    AA 56/57 – Is 772 (Upgauge to 77W over summer)

    Which flight is AA dropping to BA? Is their plan to only operate the AA 56/57 – 772 flight and completely remove the 77W to Miami?

    Im booked on AA 39 in F in December

  6. @ Steven — That’s correct, they’re canceling the frequency operated by the 777-300ER, as that plane is moving to Dallas. So unfortunately you’re going to get rebooked once the schedule change kicks in.

  7. Lucky,

    Business class passengers will not get access to the AA Flagship Lounge on the ORD-HNL flight, correct?

  8. Between DFW-LHR, there’s currently 2-3 daily AA flights and 1 daily BA flight. If BA is dropping for AA, does that mean BA is dropping all presence at DFW?

  9. Lucky,

    Insider here. What you wrote about the MIA/DFW to LHR swap is not totally correct.

    In MIA, it is true that AA will move from 2 daily flights to 1 and BA will move from 2 daily flights to 3, but in DFW there will actually be a net increase in flights as BA stays at 1 and AA increases from 3 to 4.

    The rationale (as explained to employees) is that most of the winter MIA/LHR traffic originates in LHR where BA has a stronger brand presence so it makes sense for BA to do more of the flying. DFW/LHR on the other hand is driven by the western US to London, so it makes more sense for AA to add more flights. In other words, AA won’t “take over” BA’s daily flight, they’ll just augment it. BA will downgauge their one flight to a 777-200 while American will offer 3 daily on the 777-300ER and 1 daily on the 777-200.

  10. @ Ori – See my correction to Lucky’s comment. BA will NOT be dropping their presence at DFW, just downgauging.

  11. Yeah, even my PEK-LAX flight on Memorial Day, a huge travel holiday, isn’t close to being full yet. It had been in the $800s for awhile but dropped to sub-$400 right at the 2 month away mark. Frustrating since I figured it would be a super high in demand route considering who would rather fly Air China (the only other direct flight), but guess I was wrong. Not the best value for my 32.5 AA miles 🙁

  12. “American will be taking over one of British Airways’ Dallas to London Heathrow frequencies; British Airways uses a 747-400 on the route, while American will use a 777-300ER”

    BA currently has only one flight per day to/from DFW….. bye bye T5 connections and easy Avis car pick up at at LHR… 🙁

  13. @cbw – thanks very much for the DFW-LHR clarification. The way that Lucky wrote it, he states that DFW would be losing the daily BA flight. I first read Gary Leff’s blog and he has it stated correctly. Then, when I read Lucky’s post, I was confused. Thanks for the clarification!

  14. *guaranteed* DL will scream foul and murder after AA shrewdly yanked DL’s LAX-PEK rug from right underneath them. If DL succeeds to steal the authority over and actually launch LAX-PEK this time, they’ll have robust coverage with :

    PVG – SEA DTW LAX ATL (partner MU offers a lot more)
    PEK – SEA DTW LAX …….

    UA will probably stay quiet cuz from CONUS48 they already have 4x daily PEK and 5x daily PVG, from 4 hubs each. (super wild card possibility would be UA submitting a bid for IAH-PVG) UA’s existing offerings (excluding anything GUM) are :

    PVG – SFOx2 ORD EWR LAX …… (partner CA offers a token service to SJC)
    PEK – SFO…. ORD EWR ……..IAD (partner CA offers a lot more)

    But after this change, AA’s position will be much weaker :

    PVG – DFW LAX ORD (partner HU offers SEA BOS)
    PEK – DFW LAX ——- (partner HU offers SEA BOS SJC LAS BOS)

  15. I’ve noticed the cheap business class fares on Chinese carriers from the US to Asia too. Each of the Big-3 Chinese carriers have been offering around $3,000 for business class from NY to Singapore. It was seriously tempting, but I opted to pay around $4,500 for Etihad. That’s a big premium, but I would really prefer to avoid a mainland connection and mainland Chinese service if I can.

  16. @henry LAX
    Hainan and AA’s partner ship is relatively weak. I think it is exactly Hainan’s PEK-ORD flight kills AA’s. Hainan offers much cheaper fare in both econ and biz, and service is way better than AA. I have a feeling that as long as a route is operated by Hainan, no US based airline can survive on the same route… And I would not think UA will consider more flight to China as their recent report shows flight to China does not yield high enough. UA’s SFO- CTU will be stopped just in matter of time.

  17. Its extremely obnoxious to use airport codes that arent immediately obvious, like LAX or BOS.

  18. I have an AA ORD-PEK flight in November. Is there anything I can do proactively or do I need to wait until AA notification?

  19. @Jools Please see my comment above about the DFW-LHR flights. Lucky’s article is incorrect. BA will still fly once a day to DFW, just on a 777-200 instead of a 747

  20. Matt , seriously? CA is not a great airlines, but if you have to choose between AA and CA, why would anyone choose AA ? AA is the worst airlines I have ever been on, even UA is much better

  21. @Matt, if you are using seat maps as an indication of load, it could be way off. Anecdotally, it seems that Asia flights often have many unassigned seats.

  22. @Puck

    AA 38/39 is the flight disappearing

    AA 56/57 will be exclusively operated by 772. Probably until Spring/Summer ’19 when loads pick up.

  23. Most Chinese airlines focus on West Coast cities and a few selected US markets outside of it. For US airlines there is money to be made east of the Rockies and certainly when offering connections to smaller cities.

    However the Chinese market grows because of Chinese outbound travelers NOT inbound travelers. US airlines find it hard to market their product to Chinese outbound travelers (understandably).

  24. @bsp : i hardly count HU as a meaningful partnership personally, but just had to mention it in case some troll think i’m purposely biased against them

  25. Torsten , you are very right. most Asian bound flight are filled with Asian. non-Asian passengers count a tiny share of the customer base.

    Maybe some American passengers have a bias against Chinese airlines, Chinese passengers don’t.

    Also working again AA particular is AA has no true partner in mainland China. I know many people base in Beijing would take UA or Air Canada when it is more convenient to them since all are in star alliance. I guess folk base in Shanghai would give Delta a try time to time. That leave AA alone here.

  26. @lucky
    You are not 100% accurate on the Flagship Dinning.
    You are entitled to use it if you have an international F ticket connecting from another US airport. For instance I had access this week because I was doing MIA-LAX-HKG.

    So although it is true that only GRU and EZE will keep 3 class configuration from MIA, you can access if you have F from another AA hub, not to mention if you are awarded concierge key.

  27. @LU: I’m not American, but I do have a preference (I wouldn’t call it a bias) against Chinese airlines based on reviews and my own and friends’ experiences. I also have a preference against US carriers. For long-haul flights, I am willing to pay more for a better hard and soft product. So, if the price is the same, I choose a better Asian/European/Middle Eastern carrier over an American or Chinese counterpart.

  28. And here’s the issue I have with the changes to the loyalty program. There is no incentive for me to fly on a cheap fare to China. Instead I’ll keep my feet on the ground. This leaves money on the table for AA and others. Even at those cheaper rates it would be better to fill one more seat before it departs empty. For a loyalty program I’d think you’d want to attract that additional business or at least keep it from going to your competitors. In this case the dollars stay in my pocket and the seat goes out empty. You can’t argue that AA doesn’t value filling that seat at that price otherwise the price would be higher.

  29. How long is the “winter” season for the HNL and Caribbean flights? Do they run through April to get Spring Break traffic?

  30. As of now AA’s LHR-DFW/MIA/JFK/LAX are still scheduled seasonally. LHR-MIA 1x daily 772 and 1x 77W daily off-peak, then 2x 77W daily during the summer; LHR-DFW 2x daily 77W off-peak then 3x daily 77W. The question is the addition of a daily 77W DFW-LHR make it year-round 3x daily freq or 3x off-peak and 4x peak season?

  31. @Henry LAX
    1. AA’s partnership with HU is ending. CZ be the new anchor in mainland China. Regardless of the synergy and products, CZ should provide more feed in Beijing and Shanghai (this is not about its hub CAN).
    2. HKG-LAX/DFW are doing fairly well for AA
    3. US3 are P&L based, less about pride and prestige in sticking to certain routes…they all have signaled caution in trans-Pacific routes due to Asian carriers dumping seats

  32. Lucky there are two 777-300ER’s a day MIA to LHR. I just looked and there will still be 1 daily 777-300ER a day from MIA to LHR after October 28th 2018.

  33. @Justin You’re not alone, I live in the US and I have a strong bias against US carriers, most experienced travelers here do. I tend to go on a better counterpart that is either Asian/European/Middle Eastern over US carriers as well.

  34. I took the ORD-PVG flight on American a little over a year ago. It was a full flight both ways. Too bad about the Beijing flight…

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