American Releasing Upgrade & Award Space On New Dallas To Hong Kong Flight

Last October American announced new daily service between Dallas and Hong Kong. This was really exciting for a variety of reasons:

  • American’s route network to Asia has long been weak, so Hong Kong is a great addition to their route network
  • This will be the longest route in American’s network (it’s blocked at nearly 17 hours westbound)
  • The flight will be operated by a 777-300ER featuring American’s new first and business class product, making it the first route to Asia operated by that aircraft


American’s new 777-300ER first class

American_New_Business_Class
American’s new 777-300ER business class

The new flight became bookable as of mid-December, though American wasn’t releasing any first or business class award space. Furthermore, they massively raised the cost of their “AAnytime” award rates for this route, which are their awards without any capacity controls.

Anyway, there’s some really exciting news today, per Miles from Blighty. It seems that American has finally begun releasing both business class upgrade and award space on the new route.

From September 1 through the end of the schedule, all but a handful of dates in both directions have business class award and upgrade space. And we’re not just talking one seat, but in many cases at least seven!

American-Hong-Kong-Space-1 American-Hong-Kong-Space-2

As I said above, in looking at ExpertFlyer it’s not just one or two seats, but actually an impressive amount of space they’re releasing.

American-Hong-Kong-Space-3 American-Hong-Kong-Space-4

I’m most tempted to book several revenue tickets on the route and lock in upgrades using the eight systemwide upgrades I get for being an Executive Platinum member. It’s tough to beat this route in terms of upgrade value, and Hong Kong is my favorite city in the world, which makes it all the better.

In terms of redeeming miles, there are a few ways to go about booking an award on this flight:

Maybe I’m crazy, but I think I’d take American business class over Cathay Pacific business class on this route. While Cathay Pacific obviously has better food and service, American has wifi, which is probably the most valuable “amenity” to me on a 17 hour flight.

Anyway, I’m very excited about this!

Comments

  1. Either this many seats is a mistake and won’t last, or the route itself is already on the chopping block with new management. Or both.

    There’s absolutely no reason for them to intentionally release this many seats this far out if they think the route has the potential to turn a profit.

    Of course with the insanely long ground time in HKG I’m not really sure how it could anyway.

  2. Do you mean that this aircraft is configured for Wi-Fi access over international airspace? If so, how much does that cost?

  3. @ Gary — I tend to agree. Then again, I find American to be really zany when it comes to inventory management. A couple of months back there wasn’t a single transatlantic flight with more than one business or first class award seat, yet for travel on July 1, 2014, just about every seat was available for redemption.

    I just get the feeling that they don’t really put any thought into their inventory management, and that it’s not necessarily indicative of anything more.

  4. No way this route is going to last if they are making that many award seats available. Hopefully it’s a mistake, because otherwise Dougie is going to axe this before it even starts.

  5. @ Solo — That’s correct. It’s usually $20 per longhaul flight, in my experience. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a bit more expensive for this route, though.

  6. FWIW-UA’s answer to AA’s new DFW/HKG service is very low business fares (around $3,600) from DFW via several connection points, including EWR.

  7. Interestingly, US’s website has not listed HKG as an airport of choice via online booking method yet :-p

    May have to call if you are to book this.

  8. Hi Lucky. Can I use my USD miles to take advantage of the above routing in Business class to get to Australia/New Zealand? That is, US to Asia to Aus/NZ (though not necessarily in this order) and back? Which airlines would you suggest? Thanks.

  9. @ KT — Indeed, rather odd since they do list Hong Kong as a region on the “Find Airport” search, but don’t list any airports there.

  10. Have you seen any low price fares with this route? I wish the American site let you search by month into the future for low price fares like the United site does. Maybe it does and I don’t know how.

  11. Hmm, I just chose Cathay business from Hong Kong over American for a trip in September. But, wifi isn’t really really a priority for us. Did I make the right decision?

  12. Lauren, the seats are very similar. If you don’t care about wifi, then the service will probably be better on Cathay and many will consider the food to be as well (depending on your food preferences). You likely won’t be disappointed in Cathay business.

  13. “…for travel on July 1, 2014, just about every seat was available for redemption.”

    Uh huh, and we booked a non-stop 777-ER flight to LHR for both of us at the FC Saver rate on July 1st. That being the one and only day with TATL availability for the entire summer of 2014 with 2 seat availability.

    Then we waited, (and waited, and waited), for return space to open up. And guess what, nothing has opened up at all. Not one day of 2 FC seat availability from July 2 thru the end of booking today. Not one day.

    Not from any European city to any US Gateway city on AA metal. Nor on any AA flight with flat seats in J either.

    I think AA’s cynical plan was to open this one day up, and have people jump on it without knowing they could not get back with AA awards.

    Then they have 3 options: Pay $200 to $350 per couple to redeposit the miles. Or book one of the return award tickets at the double mileage AnyTime level. Or buy a revenue ticket for one of the return seats.

    With any of those AA wins, the FF loses. 🙂

    We booked one return Saver FC seat, but with the hope to grab a pair of FC seats at the last minute with one of the other award programs we have mileage with. That way we would only have to pay $175 to redeposit, and avoid spending the additional 125K AA miles.

    I am Lifetime Gold with AA, and have been a fan boy of theirs since I was 20, {which was quite some time ago} 😉

    I was AA Plat for many years from extensive Mileage Running. I used to promote them to anyone who seemed even marginally interested. Now I only spend on my multiple Citi AA cards when they give me spending bonuses coupled with waived annual fees.

    I now have the same adversarial attitude towards AA that their employee unions have: take as much as I can get, give back as little as possible. Sad, but true… 🙁

  14. “I now have the same adversarial attitude towards AA that their employee unions have: take as much as I can get, give back as little as possible. Sad, but true… :(”

    I think you just characterized every frequent flier I know about their program – be it AA, UA, or, in my case, DL.

    Except maybe Lucky and his AS-love. I don’t hear him saying that… Which is refreshing.

  15. “Interestingly, US’s website has not listed HKG as an airport of choice via online booking method yet :-p
    May have to call if you are to book this.”

    You can enter HKG into the field and it will recognize it through booking, so no need to call.

    Although it does indicate that the itinerary won’t be eligible for Dividend Miles Select refund – presumably because it’s on AA metal. It’d be a steal to get this for 85K rt.

  16. @D “I think you just characterized every frequent flier I know about their program.

    Yes, Alaska seems to be an exception. There is one other slight exception: I don’t feel this way about S/W.

    No, I’m not happy about the upcoming slight devaluation of S/W points.

    And I really didn’t like that when I canceled my award flight, I found out you don’t get the $10 pp fee you paid for preboarding back. Not even transferable to another flight. Now I know to not pay that until 37 hours before the flight.

    But I’m not feeling adversarial towards them at all. Especially with 50K points from my recent Chase card app. 🙂

  17. I’m looking to book this using US Airways miles for an extended trip in the fall. I know right now you can’t change a US Airways Award once commencing travel. Do you think this will change by the fall once the merger is further along?

  18. Thanks for this info. I just booked trips for my wife and me from TUS to DFW to Hong Kong in business class for $1100 each and some systemwide upgrades. I have a question…on the 777-300ER, are we sitting more ‘together’ if we sit across the aisle from each other or next to each other in the center? I haven’t flown business class on that airplane, and I wonder about the partitions of the pods that we sit in.

  19. @ Jim — You’re more together if you take two seats in the center. That being said, even those seats are private and it’s tough to talk between them, so in your shoes I’d almost take two window seats behind one another.

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