Qantas cuts Auckland to Los Angeles starting May 6, 2012

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…

Comments

  1. Tim says

    I’m booked on QF25 AKL-LAX for late May; I expect to be rerouted via SYD, which will mean extra points and status credits, which I’m happy about.

    Qantas have announced that the A330 service LAX-JFK will be replaced by a 747, but it will be one of the reconfigured, 3-class (J, Y+, Y) ones, so there’ll be no first cabin.

  2. lucky says

    @ Tim — Thanks for the heads up. Hmm, now I’m torn — business class on a reconfigured 747, or first class on an American 767-200 with Flagship Lounge access.

    Is the reconfigured plane flying the Brisbane route?

  3. Alex says

    None of the QF 747s have First anymore. They are either selling First as business if the plane has yet to be refitted or you will find a refit 747 with A380 seats.

    Not all A380s will have First either. Only the current ones (12) in the fleet have First, but any others from now on will only have J, Y+ and Y.

  4. Tim says

    @Lucky: The reconfigured 747s (returning to service at a rate of one a month) will be found on the BNE-LAX and SYD-DFW routes – but there are still 4-class 747s on those routes as well, so it’s luck of the draw what you’ll get.

    @Alex: That’s not quite correct. QF107/8 (SYD-LAX) is still a 747, and is still sold as a 4-class plane with F. I think QF 127/8 (SYD-HKG) also has a 4-class 747 when it’s not an A380.

    But the medium term future is all 3-class 747s, until they’re all retired from service around 2020.

  5. JRL says

    @ Lucky, Wouldn’t you have Flagship Lounge access on your int’l itin anyways with your One World Emerald status?

    JRL

  6. says

    Follow QF’s quarterly financials…They’ve been lamenting about the low yield on the JFK-LAX flight for some time. Part of the downguage of LAX-AKL also allowed a downguage of the US transcon. Recall LAX-AKL used to be a 747, too.

    I’d give it 25% chance that QF pulls out of JFK…pride is the only thing keeping them there. Australians will simply suck it up on AA to get to LAX to keep within OW.

    Finally, this cancellation likely also marks the end of the A330 trans-tasman service that QF was running. They needed to get the A330 back to SYD or MEL periodically to look after, so they had to run it on AKL-SYD (versus the normal 737 service on this route).

  7. lucky says

    @ JRL — Yes, if I were flying internationally the same day. I was considering flying LAX to JFK, having a stopover since it’s my international gateway, and then flying JFK to HKG. I believe that would still be allowed with the Qantas flight since it’s an international itinerary.

  8. Mike S says

    “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 thought AA’s award chart says “Transpacific Only”

  9. Alex says

    @Tim sorry, you’re right. Thought they had stopped selling 747 first and were just doing business service in the first cabin. End day in sight though all 747s will be refurbed by October, believe they’ve stopped selling tickets for that beyond August…

  10. Duncan says

    OK gave you a heads up a week ago on a different post, don’t you read all your replies, Hehehe. Melb-La and Syd-LA A380′s connect with new 747 LA-NY (Qantas only charges 200AUD more than return to NY than LA. with LA stopover and 2 A380′s can fill a 747)configerd as Business First with A380 seats not bad as true lie flat in international Business verus AA domestic first. Only QF First with be on A380′s to LAX, London and possibly new A380 route to Hong Kong. Lax-Brisbane is newly configured 747 no first but A380 seats. Also cancelled Singapore-Mumbai. They Mel-Akl-Lax service was only to get back at Air NZ but Qantas do not compete with them, irrelevant as they have put Jetstar up against Air NZ and (Jetcrap low cost Qantas offshute, which will get most of the new 787′s Qantas has on order and Jetcrap will fly this route again 2013/2014). Qantas is about to hub out of Santiago and stop Buenos Aries. So you could do it this way but it won’t get you to NZ (747, A380 seats no first). Lan Chile does Santiago-Akl-Sydney or Santiago-Easter Island-PPt. then Air Nz from PPT. Cont/UA are using the 787 (their fist) on the new route Houston-Akl. Qantas and Skywest are the only 2 investment Airlines in the world, yes Qantas’s profit was down 80% but still did 212 million AUD not bad for an airline that has a fraction of the flights of AA etc.. all Oneworld airlines are starting to copy the Qantas model on FF’s and other aspects. Their FF program makes a huge profit and you find in the next few months AA program will mirror this, i.e. plus taxes, no system wide upgrade certs, etc. When BA changed their FF program it copied the Qantas program. The QF FF program in the last 6 months showed a profit of 280 million AUD!!! Most world airlines would give their balls for this sort of profit alone, the loss was fuel, like Singapore, BA, CSX etc.. The big Alliances like One and Star are being undermined by new Alliances. Check out AirBerlin (One) but owned by Emirates, Singapore-Virgin Australia-Ethiad (look at who owns who what Alliance (Star? is was?). Qantas is behind changeing the Oneworld hub from Narita to Haneda. Singapore will become an alliance in it’s own right, owns 47% of VA and is setting up many offshutes, Tiger, Scout etc.) and has been demanding Air rights Australia-US for sometime, if it gets this (even by buying Virgin Australia and it’s share holdings of Virgin Atlantic) it would have the best Alliance on the planet in house. One and Star when founded the US airlines were the core of the alliance this is no longer the case and new alliances are be done as we speak. Then again you could use your AA points with Air Pacific and do LAX-Nandi-Akl then Qantas to Oz. Great Blog but as I hace said before American centric. Travel Frist! F*&K Coach.

    Duncan

  11. Duncan says

    You could do Emeriates A380 first AKL-Syd but only 4 hours and I don’t think they turn the showers on for this hop”across the ditch” Though you could do Emirates First A380 NY-Dubai-SYD-AKL……..

  12. Cathy says

    I have 4 ticketed business class awards on the Lax-akl flight in July with connection to Syd. Just called American. They said Qantas will honor our awards on the 747 or a380 nonstop lax-Syd. Actually works out better for us.

  13. Duncan says

    Gary, I have had 4 showers aboard but don’t think they are available on the Syd-Akl leg ( as we call it “The ditch”) it’s only about 4 hors depending on the wind

  14. arcticbull says

    Yeah you’re not going to be able to book LAX-NYC-LAX on QF for the same reason you can’t book an Air Canada flight from BOS-YYZ-NYC — the Cabotage rule. No non-US carrier is allowed to sell a flight between 2 US cities, as a matter of protectionism.

  15. Gary says

    Duncan, that video is on the SYD-AKL route. Unless he somehow sneaked into the shower, got the water turned on, and sneaked back out with nobody noticing him, I’d say showers are offered on that route.

  16. Kiwiroo says

    Lucky,

    Correct. While legally QF are allowed to sell JFK-LAX to any passenger with an onward international connection; their policy is not to sell that leg unless you are connecting to a Qantas flight. This is because every time they carry someone with an international connection, United complains, and QF has decided it’s not worth the ongoing hassle trying to prove cabotage compliance with the DOT.

  17. Katie Martin says

    I had just heard about Qantas cutting that New Zealand to Los Angeles flight a few days ago. It’s a shame that the company has to take out such a popular flight, although I’m sure if they had a better option they would have taken it. My friend is from New Zealand and he would always tell me that fights home were so absurdly expensive. Now that he’s back it’s probably good that he doesn’t have to fly home since costs will be even higher. Is any other airline company showing signs or making up for that lack of coverage?

  18. Chris Adams says

    Qantas’ financials and lack of commitment to New Zealand did the damage. They are losing significant money and are under pressure on their international routes (evidenced by their recent deal with Emirates). Qantas could make more money moving the aircraft back to lucrative domestic routes.

    They have also been struggling in New Zealand – ceding the higher end traveler to Air New Zealand (who have an outstanding product) and putting JetStar on the trans tasman and domestic routes). The AKL – LAX route had strong loadings but lots of vacation travellers and lots of award travel.

    Despite all that Air New Zealand has not raised their fares (I travel NZ – US 5-6x per year) and arguably still represents value for money.

    Thanks

    Chris

  19. Chris Adams says

    Beside all of that – your travelling to New Zealand ! The exact price of the airfare is not the reason that drives visitors to the ‘land of the long white cloud’. Chris

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