Qantas has just announced that they’ll be cutting their Auckland to Los Angeles flight as of May 6, 2012. So if you’re booked on the flight after that date you’ll want to get in touch with the airline through which you booked to get accommodated on an alternative routing. If you’re booked on an award ticket, Qantas should open up award space for you on an alternative routing given the circumstances.
The route was operated by an Airbus 330-200 aircraft, and frankly I’m pretty surprised they couldn’t make the route work. There’s virtually no competition between the US and New Zealand (the only other airline that flies the route is Air New Zealand) and fares are typically sky high.
Awards on Qantas from Los Angeles to Auckland were quite a bit easier than on their nonstop routes to Australia, so this is bad for those looking to book award tickets to Australia and New Zealand. It’s also bad news for those wanting to book American’s distance based OneWorld awards, since this route was a great way to have a stopover in New Zealand without really paying additional miles. While Air New Zealand already has high fares between the US and New Zealand, I suspect they’ll go even higher. As Richard Simmons says in Air New Zealand’s safety video, “the only way is up,” and I suspect that applies to fares as well.
There is one ever-so-minor positive thing about this. Qantas flies daily between Los Angeles and New York as a tag flight for all their transpacific routes, and up until now that flight was operated by the Airbus 330-200 that operated the Los Angeles to Auckland route. I suspect this route will once again get a 747, meaning there will most likely once again be a first class cabin (or who knows, they may just sell it as a two cabin plane and seat business class passengers in first class).
Anyway, I’m tempted to try and get on the flight for an award booking I’m about to make. I’m going from Los Angeles to Hong Kong and American lets you exceed the maximum permitted mileage by 25%, meaning you can route through New York. I was going to fly American’s Flagship Service from Los Angeles to New York and Cathay Pacific from New York to Hong Kong, though now I’m tempted to try and get on the Qantas flight from Los Angeles to New York. While you can’t fly Qantas on the route if you’re just on a domestic itinerary, I do believe it’s legal to fly the route if you have an international connection (or does anyone have information to the contrary?), even if it’s on a OneWorld partner airline.
Anyway, as of now the GDS still shows the Los Angeles to New York flight as being operated by an Airbus 330-200, though I’m watching closely to see when they update the flight, and especially to see whether they sell first class or not.
Or maybe they’ll just cut the route entirely and codeshare on American instead, which would make a lot more sense to me…