A couple of weeks ago American announced that they’ll be launching flights between Los Angeles and Auckland as of June 2016. This is an exciting development, as it marks the second US airline to announce service between the US mainland and New Zealand in a span of several weeks (United beat American to the punch), following the monopoly Air New Zealand has had in the market for years.
This is all possible thanks to American’s strengthened joint venture with Qantas, whereby American is also launching flights between Los Angeles and Sydney as of December 17, 2015.
When the Auckland flight was announced a couple of weeks ago, they didn’t initially reveal the exact start date or when tickets would become bookable.
American’s flight between Los Angeles and Auckland become bookable overnight, and it launches June 23, 2016.
As a reminder, the flight will be operated by a Boeing 787 with the following schedule:
AA83 Los Angeles to Auckland departing 10:45PM arriving 6:35AM (+2 days)
AA82 Auckland to Los Angeles departing 1:20PM arriving 6:30AM
So, what’s award space on the new route like? Abysmal, unfortunately. American hasn’t made a single saver level award seat on the flight available, in both economy and business class. Instead you can at best book a standard level award, which starts at 140,000 miles one-way in business class. Unfortunately this seems to be the norm rather than the exception nowadays across American’s longhaul route network.
Seeing not a single award seat really makes me yearn for British Airways’ Executive Club program, whereby they have a policy of making at least two saver business class and four economy class award seats available per flight.
The one thing that is valuable about getting in on this flight early is that American prioritizes upgrades within a status level based on when you book and request the upgrade. While I suspect upgrades will be tough on this flight with just 28 business class seats, if you’re an Executive Platinum and book early, you have a fantastic shot of clearing the upgrade, since you’ll almost undoubtedly be at the top of the upgrade list. So that is a consideration if you’re looking to fly down under.
And at least American has a fairly nice business class product on the 787, featuring direct aisle access at every seat.
Do you plan on trying American’s new flights between Los Angeles and Auckland?