Hainan Airlines is generally regarded as the best mainland Chinese airline (I agree, based on my experiences), and they’ve been expanding very nicely in North America.
Hainan 787 business class seat
Earlier in the year Hainan launched flights between Los Angeles and Changsha, which I reviewed. They also recently kicked off a frequent flyer partnership with Alaska Mileage Plan, giving US based flyers a great way to earn and redeem miles for travel on Hainan.
Well, Hainan Airlines has just announced their newest US route. Hainan Airlines will be launching 3x weekly flights between Las Vegas and Beijing as of December 2, 2016.
The flight will be operated by a Boeing 787, with the following schedule on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays:
HU7970 Las Vegas to Beijing departing 12:30PM arriving 5:30PM (+1 day)
HU7969 Beijing to Las Vegas departing 2:20PM arriving 10:30AM
This represents some very nice expansion for Las Vegas Airport, which doesn’t have many transpacific flights. As it stands, only Korean Air operates a 4x weekly flight between Las Vegas and Seoul Incheon.
Korean Air 777
While not transpacific, there are also rumors of Qatar Airways launching flights between Las Vegas and Doha, though the schedule on that hasn’t been finalized yet.
Qatar Airways 777
The new Hainan flight between Las Vegas and Beijing isn’t yet bookable, but once it is, I predict:
- Paid fares, including in business class, will be very reasonable
- Award availability through Alaska Mileage Plan will be plentiful, and they only charge 50,000 miles for a one-way business class award, plus some mild carrier imposed surcharges (and you can even do a free stopover in Beijing enroute to another Asian destination
Visit the Great Wall during a stopover in Beijing
Keep in mind that China has some ridiculous rules about their carriers being able to operate longhaul international flights. Unless a specific exception is granted, only one Chinese carrier is allowed to operate a longhaul route. That’s why Chinese carriers are rushing so much to launch new US flights, since they want to be sure they can get their hands on the routes they want before another Chinese carrier does.
Meanwhile when Hainan Airlines launched flights to Los Angeles they had to fly to Changsha, given that most major Chinese cities were already served nonstop out of Los Angeles.
This is a very nice addition for Las Vegas based flyers, as it represents the first nonstop flight between Las Vegas and China. I suspect this will be very popular with Chinese tourists, and also with those in Las Vegas wanting to visit mainland China. This should also be a great opportunity to snag some great fares and award availability on China’s best airline.
What do you make of Hainan’s new route between Las Vegas and Beijing?