American’s New Flights To Birmingham, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, And London!

Filed Under: American, US Airways

American has announced four new flights to Europe that will launch in 2015, whereby we’re seeing an additional frequency on an existing route, a new route to an existing destination, and two new destinations altogether (at least as far as American “metal” goes).


According to, reservations for these flights are expected to open tomorrow, Sunday, November 2, 2014.

American’s second daily Los Angeles to London flight

Let’s start with the news we already knew, as I wrote about this new route on Thursday.

American will commence a second daily Los Angeles to London Heathrow Boeing 777-300ER flight as of March 28, 2015, with the following schedule:

AA108 Los Angeles to London departing 5:55PM arriving 12:25PM (+1 day)
AA109 London to Los Angeles departing 12:15PM arriving 3:40PM

With this, we’re also seeing the existing frequency retimed, so that service is spaced out a bit:

AA136 Los Angeles to London departing 6:35PM arriving 1:15PM (+1 day)
AA135 London to Los Angeles departing 2:00PM arriving 5:30PM

This complements British Airways’ twice daily A380 service on the route, making American and British Airways by far the strongest joint venture between Los Angeles and London.

My thoughts on the second daily London frequency: This route makes perfect sense. Los Angeles to London is a huge, high yield market, so I’m not surprised American is doing double daily 777-300ER service on the route.

American 777-300ER business class

American’s daily Miami to Frankfurt flight

As Doug Parker hinted at a few weeks ago, American will indeed relaunch daily Miami to Frankfurt Boeing 767-300 flights as of May 14, 2015, with the following schedule:

AA250 Miami to Frankfurt departing 2:45PM arriving 6:15AM (+1 day)
AA251 Frankfurt to Miami departing 10:00AM arriving 2:55PM

American operated this route up until 1997, so it’s interesting to see this route emerge again. This route is being launched 10 days after airberlin is canceling their Miami to Berlin flight.

My thoughts on the new Miami to Frankfurt flight: This new flight will almost certainly come at the expense of one of US Airways’ Frankfurt frequencies out of Charlotte or Philadelphia. It’s interesting to note that this flight is operated by one of American’s 767s. It wouldn’t have surprised me if this were American’s first cross-fleeting longhaul international flight, which could have been operated by a US Airways A330. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

American’s 767-300 new business class

American’s new New York to Edinburgh flight

American will begin daily New York to Edinburgh Boeing 757-200 flights as of May 7, 2015, with the following schedule:

AA278 New York to Edinburgh departing 7:10PM arriving 7:15AM (+1 day)
AA279 Edinburgh to New York departing 9:15AM arriving 11:50AM

My thoughts on the new New York to Edinburgh flight: American also flies Philadelphia to Edinburgh seasonally, and I’d be very surprised if this new route wasn’t simply a replacement of that one.


American’s new New York to Birmingham flight

Then American will begin daily New York to Birmingham Boeing 757-200 flights as of May 7, 2015, with the following schedule:

AA130 New York to Birmingham departing 7:00PM arriving 7:10AM (+1 day)
AA131 Birmingham to New York departing 10:00AM arriving 12:55PM

My thoughts on the new New York to Birmingham flight: This is a completely new destination for American and US Airways, so that’s pretty cool. At the end of the day I’m always excited about any new international destinations I can use my American systemwide upgrades on.

Bottom line

These new routes aren’t massively exciting like the new Dallas to Hong Kong flight, in my opinion.

But they are cool, and I find the implications interesting:

  • The Los Angeles to London flight makes sense
  • The Miami to Frankfurt flight sort of makes sense, though without much of a oneworld presence in Frankfurt and therefore limited connection prospects, I’m not totally sold on the idea.

But the New York expansion is what surprises me most. American had a diagram about all their hubs in a recent employee newsletter, and they described New York as follows:

New York/NYC: A destination in itself that connects the largest air travel market in the U.S. to our international network, with an emphasis on Europe via JFK and domestic network via LGA

The way I’ve viewed their future in New York is that they’re trying to serve mostly “local” passengers, while most passengers connecting to Europe would route through Philadelphia, for example. I can’t imagine New York to Birmingham or Edinburgh are really big enough markets if the goal is to almost exclusively fly “local” passengers. If they were relying mostly on connecting passengers, Philadelphia seems like a more logical option.

Once these new routes become bookable I’ll be sure to post if I see any upgrade or award space!

What do you think of American’s new Europe service?

  1. “I can’t imagine New York to Birmingham or Edinburgh are really big enough markets”


    these flights will be packed every day.

  2. BHX to JFK (according to AA communication on future) is a great addition, united are the only airline our of BHX to fly to the US, and to be honest, old plane, poor service.

    People are getting fed up of going through London to the US, the only real problem is the APD on UK outbound is so punishing. So bad in fact my US trip next week is via AMS.

    Really is a good route, BHX is growing and to be honest, I would now very much connect from BHX into NYC and onwards – especially with a fresh Business Class onboard.

  3. Choosing JFK is a very smart choice, because it gives UAL at EWR, who currently has a monopoly on NYC-BHX/EDI routes, a massive run for its money. Though it might be surprising, it seems that AA wants to use JFK, like UAL uses EWR, even though PHL would be a better choice.

  4. @Lantean Edinburgh is a pretty city but it’s seasonal destination at best. As for Birmingham – It’s a hole! I’m sure DP has his reasons for putting these flights on but I don’t see anything to back up your assertion that they’ll be “packed every day” – I’d be interested to know what you’re basing this on.

  5. Well, from a personal perspective I’m delighted about Birmingham – I live ten minutes away and at the moment it isn’t served by Oneworld so it would be great for using Avios… just a shame that it isn’t coming earlier, as I’d have loved to use it in March 2015

  6. Are the new Edinburgh & Birmingham flights seasonal or year-round? Also, is there really only an hour turnaround on the JFK-Edinburgh route? That doesn’t seem right.

    I’m excited to have new options for getting to the UK. It’s so easy to get around the country by train that these airports are a great alternative to dealing with Heathrow or Gatwick, especially if you’re heading somewhere outside of London. Plus, award space is usually much easier to come by on the Philadelphia to Manchester route compared to either of the London airports, so I’d imagine it would be similar for these.

  7. @ RDP — Well, except in business class United’s 757s blow away American’s 757s, so they don’t really have a competitive product.

    I’m not sure how the JFK growth strategy will work. It’s simply not a good airport for connecting passengers, in terms of operational reliability, space, etc.

  8. @ Lantean — It’s 2014. The question isn’t whether you can fill a flight, it’s whether you can fill a flight with good yields. Emirates could fill an A380 flight between Tampa and Dubai, it doesn’t mean the yields are there.

  9. @SmarterBlog

    Birmingham might be a hole, but travelling down the M6/M1 and round the M25 in rush hour to get to a hole of an airport (LHR) is far less appealing. The other problem is the LHR oubound flights are now earlier than last year – for someone to get from the Birmingham area, park off site at LHR and check in in time – well that would be a 4-5hrs before departure – that departure time that was 11:00am last year…which is now 9:00am this year.

    I can leave my house by Taxi (within business expense allowance unlike LHR) and be in BHX in 35 minutes.

    Sounds great to me 🙂

  10. AA’s strategy at JFK seems a bit bifurcated.

    While you suggest, “they’re trying to serve mostly “local” passengers, while most passengers connecting to Europe would route through Philadelphia” they are pretty clearly trying to serve other markets and bring passengers from around the country to New York, rather than primarily serving New Yorkers. That’s why you don’t see them offering service in competitive business markets with significant service by other airlines to their own hubs.

    On the other hand AA has plenty of corporate contracts especially for the transatlantic flights. And they have a strong joint venture partner with local customer base in the UK.

    So perhaps the strategy here is to bring UK passengers from outside metro London to New York, with additional demand fro the local New York market and some connecting traffic?

    I’d guess that New York is a much bigger destination for the local UK folks than Philadelphia is!

    The only question then is why do the flight with the AA brand rather than the BA one? And it may be about right-sized aircraft.

  11. Lucky!!!!

    So excited! I know exactly my strategy for getting tickets on one of the routes, but what time to you think the will launch on Nov. 2? 12:00 AM EST, or 12:00 PST?

    Thanks for notifying us!

  12. This new flight will almost certainly come at the expense of one of US Airways’ Frankfurt frequencies out of Charlotte or Philadelphia.- Both Carlotte’s and Philadelphia’s 2nd daily flights to Frankfurt have been cut, ie. only one flight to FRA on US/AA from CLT and FRA.

  13. @ Ted — It’s anyone’s guess. When a new flight is loaded it’s not necessarily at midnight, as it’s a manual process. Could be midday or any other time. I’ll be sure to post as soon as I see it.

  14. Please to enjoy this classic 1981 video about Birmingham, narrated by none other than Kojak himself…

    On a different matter, not that I am an expert on such matters, but I can’t understand why they would see NYC as more for serving local passengers. As a major global hub for commerce and such, it should surely provide for lots of high-yield passengers from across the globe, no? I can;t imagine someone who wants to come to NYC and having a choice between flying via Philly on AA, or flying direct on some other airline would choose the former…

  15. Maybe my memory is failing me, but I’m quite sure American used to fly ORD-BHX seasonally on the 767-200 back in the late 90s/early 2000s?

  16. Looks like Lufthansa will have some competition now on the MIA-FRA route. As an AAdvantage Platinum, I may give the new American flight a spin next summer.

  17. @speedski

    I have no doubt that the Birmingham route has its merits for a number of people (you seem to be a prime candidate and I’m genuinely happy you get to avoid that horrendous trip to catch a flight) but my point was more aimed at the first comment claiming that the flights would be “packed every day. I don’t see that happening. Like Lucky I find the choice of route strange….but then I’m not privy to AA’s number crunchers.

  18. Having more options to/from UK outside of LHR is always great, but what is the product on the AA B757 like? IIRC it is old, old and decrepit…Not so keen on that.

  19. I don’t think packed every day is that far of a stretch – the United route to EWR has been going over 17 years…it can’t have that bad a yield…

  20. Coming from the west coast, connecting through JFK or PHL to Europe might be options but MIA is definitely not. Not only is MIA quite a ways “out of the way” the flight leaves before most/any west coast flights can even get to MIA. The lack of connection options beyond FRA also makes the flight somewhat useless for connections westbound or eastbound connections.

    I am glad AA is expanding their European routes, it seems like they had a lot more 10 years ago – but I’d like to see them add some European routes from ORD and not just through the UK. I love AA and Oneworld but the UK/BA taxes and surcharges are ridiculous and making connections in the atlantic seaboard cities late in the afternoon is not particularly attractive, especially if you are flying paid premium and it means spending the first half of the trip in domestic first on a 737.

  21. MIA-FRA — will it be the new 763, or the old (sloping business class seat) 763?
    Also, when is it starting, and will award bookings become available on the first day that the route becomes available for general booking (what has been your experience in the past)?

  22. EDI route will be packed. Ben has clearly no idea what he’s talking about. Some even cursory research into the growth of EDI will reveal it would make sense to keep both JFK and PHL routes. Why comment on things you have no idea on?

  23. @ kr — We don’t know yet, we’ll find out when they load the seatmap. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is the new product, since most 767s will be reconfigured by then. Generally IF they release award space, they do so almost immediately. That being said, American is really stingy with award space, so I wouldn’t count on it.

  24. I can see MIA-FRA working well for AA especially during the winter in Germany, especially with connections to the tropical Caribbean. As well as for connections between Germany and South America.

    But I wonder if Air Berlin welcomes additional competition on Germany-MIA since they fly DUS-MIA…

  25. Perhaps those who knock Birmingham either haven’t been here recently, or went to one industrial area without realising the size of the city – 1.1million – that’s more than 2 1/2 Manchesters! The Birmingham of 2014 is a fantastic vibrant City, remarkably leafy – more parks than any other European City. If you only ever see it from the M6, you’re missing out!
    The Greater Birmingham area accounts for nearly half of all UK exports to China.
    Don’t take my word for it – see what the New York Times has to say (see below).
    I’m not a Brummie – I chose to live here because of access to good schools, culture and recreational facilities, and lots of Michelin starred restaurants. So much history too – but modern history. It wasn’t called the City of 1000 trades for nothing.

    Anyway, the point is, it’s a great City to visit, and there are also millions of people here who’d rather not go to Heathrow or Manchester every time they fancy a weekend in the Big Apple.

    As regards the United flights to NYC, they’ve been running continuously from BHX for about 15 years, and the flights are always full. The demand is here and I welcome the opportunity to fly on a one world operator next summer. Far preferable to driving 2hrs south. Welcome to BHX American Airlines!

    Some reading

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