American Airlines announces service from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Hong Kong and Shanghai beginning Summer 2014

It’s no secret that I love American Airlines. There are things that drive me nuts about them, but at the end of the day I think they do the best job of any airline at recognizing their top tier elites. My domestic upgrades almost always clear, and as an AAdvantage Executive Platinum member I also get eight systemwide upgrades that can be applied to any revenue fare. That’s an incredible value, and I’ve yet to miss an international upgrade.

That being said, I love traveling to Asia, and that’s one region where American has a lot of catching up to do. Whenever American announces a new route to Latin America or London — where they’re already ridiculously strong — I’ve always said “what about Hong Kong?”

Well, today’s announcement couldn’t come soon enough!

American Airlines will launch service between Dallas and Hong Kong

Starting Summer 2014, American will launch nonstop daily service between Dallas and Hong Kong. The route will be operated by a 777-300ER, which features American’s brand new fully flat first and business class products. This is super exciting, as it’s their first route to Asia operated by a 777-300ER, as they’ve otherwise only flown to London and Sao Paulo as of now.

American_New_Business_Class
American’s new business class

Subject to government approval the flight will operate the following schedule:

Departing Dallas 12:40PM arriving Hong Kong 6:00PM (+1 day)
Departing Hong Kong 1:30PM arriving Dallas 4:30PM

This is a long flight — 8,123 miles in each direction and is blocked at 16hr20min on the outbound. The economics of ultra longhaul flights can be tough, as we learned when American cut service between Chicago and New Delhi a couple of years back. This will be American’s longest route.

But with a legitimately competitive business class product and all the potential for connecting traffic in Hong Kong thanks to their partnership with Cathay Pacific, I think the route has a lot of potential. Up until now American has simply pulled the “we codeshare with Cathay Pacific, so why should we fly to Hong Kong?” card. And while there’s some merit to that given what a great product Cathay Pacific has, ultimately as an elite member of an airline you’re getting lots more benefits for flying that airline versus a partner airline.

I can’t wait to try and use my systemwide upgrades on this route, though something tells me it’ll be a really tough upgrade.

American will launch service between Dallas and Shanghai

Also as of next summer, American will launch daily service between Dallas and Shanghai, which will be the only nonstop service between Dallas and China. This route will be operated by one of American’s 777-200 aircraft, featuring their older first and business class product. That being said, retrofits should start on these aircraft next year, so I suspect the route will have fully flat seats in business class soon enough.

Subject to government approval the flight will operate the following schedule:

Departing Dallas 10:55AM arriving Shanghai 2:55PM (+1 day)
Departing Shanghai 4:55PM arriving Dallas 2:55PM

American already has daily service from Chicago and Los Angeles to Shanghai, though this will be a further nice addition.

Both routes strengthen options to travel between Asia and Latin America in one stop, and both flights should be on sale before the end of the year. While American still doesn’t have anywhere close to as extensive of a network to Asia as Delta or United, this is certainly a step in the right direction.

Some other updates:

New York JFK to Tokyo Haneda service to be cut

A few years back Tokyo Haneda was the “hottest” thing, given that they finally opened up slots at the airport for longhaul flights. While it’s no doubt more convenient for those terminating in Tokyo, the only slots opened up for airlines to operate longhaul were for very early morning and late night flights.

American couldn’t make the route work and will be cutting that service later this year, with the last westbound flight being on November 29, and last eastbound flight being on December 1, 2013.

767-300 and 777-200 retrofits to begin in 2014

American will begin retrofitting their 767-300 and 777-200 aircraft as of next year. I’ve been told the business class seats will be fully flat and all feature direct aisle access, so I would assume they’re installing a similar product to what they have on the 777-300ER.

We should see one 767 and one 777 reconfigured with the new product in the first half of next year, and by the fall the retrofitting process should be well underway.

Miami to London and Miami to Sao Paulo to get 777-300ERs

Speaking of the 777-300ER, American will be putting them on one of the daily frequencies between Miami and London as of January 2, 2014, through the end of the schedule.

American will also be putting a 777-300ER on one of the daily Miami to Sao Paulo frequencies as of November 2014, though that hasn’t been loaded into the schedule yet.

Conclusion

On the whole these are really exciting changes, especially for an American flyer that loves traveling to Asia. I’m especially excited about the new Hong Kong service, which is long overdue. Again, all the new routes are subject to government approval, but this is absolutely positive news!

Comments

  1. “so I would assume they’re installing a similar product to what they have on the 777-300ER.”

    The 767 isn’t nearly as wide as the 777s, so it can’t be the same product. Much narrower for sure.

  2. This is awesome news, though I hope it’s not too hard to get an upgrade using SWUs on the DFW-HKG route. I’ve been waiting for AA to fly to HKG (and with their newest biz product) for a while.

  3. That’s fantastic news. I absolutely love CX F, which beats AA new and old F any day of the week. But when you’re talking CX J vs AA new J…I actually give the edge to AA for the superior soft product, especially with respect to food service.

    Btw Lucky, your title says Beijing but the post refers to service to Shanghai…

  4. Hi Lucky, you title says DFW to HKG+Beijing, but in the body reads DFW-SHANGHAI, I assume it is DFW-PVG? Or there will be DFW-PEK as well

  5. Looking forward to the trip report some day from the 16+ hour flight to Hong Kong! Hmmm… how many menus and movies does that add up to? 😉

  6. Any idea what will happen to passengers already booked on the HND-JFK flight? Was ticketed to fly that first class in December.

  7. I am waiting for AA to fly to HK for a couple years, finally, here it comes. I think AA should really get more flights to Southeast Asia, including China and SIN.

  8. This is great news (except for the HND part, which I’ve always been tempted to try out for a weekend trip to Japan).

    @Charles: SIN is tough to do non-stop from the US (look at how SQ is axing their nonstops from EWR/LAX), and AA doesn’t operate a 5th freedom hub at NRT like UA/DL do, so it probably makes more sense to shift passengers onwards to JL/CX.

  9. “CX J vs AA new J…I actually give the edge to AA for the superior soft product, especially with respect to food service. ”

    Really? that remains to be seen.

    Since ’11 I started focusing on AA because of CX flies to HKG.

  10. Unless I live in DFW and want a non stop flight there is no way I would trade a flight in CX to fly AA for almost 17 hours. I prefer to connect to a CX hub and enjoy 17 hours of the amazing Asian service rather than the rude and old American FAs. They will probably feed you within 1 hour after the flight takes off and play the “go sleep and don’t bother me” until they are forced to serve you food again. No thank you!!!!

  11. Just want to clarify that the new American Airlines nonstops are between DFW and Shanghai, not Beijing, and between DFW and Hong Kong. It is correct in the article, but not in the title.

  12. Gutted about the HND cut. Was planning a quick trip from my home in NYC to Tokyo in January and with low fees found it to be an excellent AA redemption opportunity. The arrival time was a bit awkward, though.

    Not very excited about any AA HKG routes as long as CX exists.

  13. well said Santastico. the old & mad us FAs are forced to come back/stay & work because they cant retire in this economy. in asia the 40+ has to go & make room for young & eager ones to come in, regardless of the economy the large population forces early departure from job. my gf just hit 40 & is thinking about retirement in a couple of yrs.

  14. Lucky,

    Are you still pursuing status with United or you are done with them. They seem to have more options for Asia travel.

  15. @DJ: Just to clarify that I am not getting in to the topic of economy, retirement, work conditions, etc…. My point is that if my company is paying around $10k for me to fly biz class for almost 17 hours I rather have the Asian service than the American one. I myself flew dozens of times to Asia on biz class and I could fly from my home airport direct to Tokyo and make one connection to another Asian city on Delta or fly from my home airport to LAX or SFO and from there fly Cathay, Singapore, Thai, etc… I always chose to fly to the west coast and fly an Asian airline. Again, that is my preference if I have a choice.

  16. hopefully a good summer price for a mile run and hopefully additional mileage promo. I believe last time PVG was triple mile from LAX.

  17. Bummer re the HND routes but agreed that the times were less than ideal. Does anyone know if another airline is flying from any of the NYC area airports nonstop to HND? I read that ANA received additional slots at HND recently (much to JALs dismay) but it wasn’t clear how they would utilize them.

  18. The slot allocation that was announced a couple of weeks ago was for Europe and Asia routes only. There will be some new slots for daytime HND-US flights next year but they have not been allocated yet. Most likely another set of four for Japanese carriers and four for US carriers.

  19. “Also as of next summer, American will launch daily service between Dallas and Shanghai, which will be the only nonstop service between Dallas and China.” Ben, you’re not helping improve the rest of the World’s opinion of Americans as being geographically challenged; Hong Kong is actually part of China & has been since 1997.

  20. BA flies LHR-HND but the flight times are similarly horrible. Ridiculously early arrival and departure in Japan.

  21. @ Gary — Agree it’ll probably be a staggered business class product. That being said I suppose it’s not totally out of the question in a 1-1-1 configuration, though certainly unlikely.

  22. @ AJ @ Dave — I suspect you’ll be given the option to be rebooked on one of their flights to Narita instead. Hopefully they’ll offer some compensation for the inconvenience.

  23. @ Carl — It was indeed a contentious issue a few years back, though my sense is that now there isn’t much competition for the slots anymore as the longhaul flights don’t seem to be performing especially well.

  24. @ Jason — Historically they’ve often offered bonus redeemable miles on new routes (typically either double miles or a fixed bonus), which I expect we’ll see here. I doubt we’ll see bonus EQMs, though.

  25. @ Santastico — Ultimately I agree that Cathay Pacific has a far superior onboard soft product than American, though:
    1) American has wifi.
    2) The benefit of flying with American is that if you book coach you can upgrade to business class and if you book business class you can upgrade to first class.

  26. I seem to recall that AA pilots have (or had) negotiated a 16-hour cap on flights. It was part of the discussion when Qantas added DFW-Sydney flights a while back (i.e. explaining why AA wouldn’t be flying the route). Any idea whether the policy/agreement has changed, or am I misremembering?

  27. The current longest 77W service is Emirates’ direct flight from DXB-LAX. The city pair has a even longer great-circle distance than DFW-HKG by about 400km.

    It seems EK is doing well enough on this route that they’re up-gauging it to the A380, or maybe it’s in their plans all along.

  28. @thomas
    Emirates gets subsidies, so of course they can operate longer haul flights and turn a profit compared to non subsidized airlines like AA, DL, UA, etc.

  29. As a DFW resident I am thrilled by the new HKG service announcement. I love flying CX F, but there is a lot to be said for non-stop flights and I can’t wait to try the AA flight next fall!
    @Alan – I would say that your “pedantic” point is more than debatable. Hong Kong is indeed a SAR of China and has been since 1997. However HK has its own flag, currency, stock market, and maintains a capitalist economic system. HK residents need a visa to enter China and vice versa. Also, ask a Hong Konger if they consider themselves to be Chinese…until they do I will consider Shanghai as DFW’s only route to China as Lucky wrote.

  30. @Brad – I suspect the Chinese Government doesn’t have any doubt that HK is part of China but, hey, as an American, who cares what the Chinese Government or the rest of he World thinks, right? ‘Murica, yeah!

  31. This is awesome news. Another option with AA points to go to Asia will be great.
    @Alan – I am pretty confident Brad is more accurate on this one. The relationship between Hong Kong and Chona is officially one country, two systems but it runs much deeper. If asked, most i will say they are from Hong Kong. Never will they say from china. Even in my own family I have uncles that say they are from Hong Kong whereas my mom says she is from china. Where they were born and grew up. I see it akin to the USA and any of its territories like PR or US Virgin Islands.

  32. Hong Kong residents do technically need a ‘home return permit’ and not a visa. They can not even use their SAR passport to enter China. Taiwanese get a Mainland Travel Permit at arrival.

  33. Finally American is responding to customers in the Lower Midwest that want to use other alternatives other than Chicago and fly to the west coast and spend the majority of your waking day (8 Hours minimum) to fly to the same destination, that got kinda old and now our prayers have been answered.I can’t wait to fly this route next fall.

  34. @ hsw25 – Cathay Pacific has a much better soft product. American service is hit or miss, but Cathay’s is always top banana. Also they have better catering (sometimes) and inflight entertainment.

  35. I have to agree that CP has overall superior product rated 5 stars with excellent Cabin classes, cabin service, food, and in-flight entertainment system.

    The AA DFW to HKG 777-300ER business class over CP was AOL on the
    cabin service & food, other then that AA offer an excellent product to HKG.

    CP has a over priced premium economy coach class requirement
    that is needed for the upgrade to business class.

    American Airlines has superior cabin upgrade options then CP.

  36. Thanks for including an economy class fare in your blog, Ben — I had started to think that those of us with fewer miles/less money were considered inferior. (By the way, does anybody know of any blogs that feature us less-well-heeled?).
    It’s illuminating/illustrative/etc… to read how the other half (one-hundredth?) live, but the rest of us could use some advice on how we could make the best use of our scant miles (we Canadians — and, I’d imagine, others) are excluded from virtually all of the sign-up bonuses and our hard-earned dough can only afford us seats below decks.

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