American has become one of the stingiest airlines when it comes to releasing premium cabin transatlantic award space. While they still release first class award space on many routes to Asia, that’s not the case to Europe. I certainly understand planes are fuller than in the past, so the opportunity cost to releasing award seats has increased greatly, but they literally have virtually no space.
For example, on all their routes between the US and London next June, they have no dates with saver level economy or business class award space, and two dates with saver level first class award space.
What’s fascinating, though, is how American releases premium cabin award space when they do. “Z” is their saver first class award inventory, and in many cases a flight will either have no saver first class award seats or at least seven saver first class award seats.
For example, last November American changed the equipment on several flights to Europe for this summer, and at the time they made seven first class award seats available on every single flight. That’s truly quite strange.
It looks like there’s a similar trend for this coming summer, for only one date, though. Take a look at transatlantic first class award space for June 30, 2015 — most flights to London have all first class seats available for awards.
For example, three flights between New York and London have at least seven first class award seats each:
Two flights between Dallas and London have at least seven first class award seats each:
One flight between Dallas and London has at least seven first class award seats:
One flight between Chicago and London has at least seven first class award seats:
One flight between Los Angeles and London has four first class award seats:
Many of these routes are operated by 777-300ER aircraft featuring American’s new first class cabin, which has just eight first class seats. It’s a great hard product though the soft product may be lacking a bit.
Still, finding transatlantic first class award space using American miles is a rarity. The alternative is to redeem American miles for travel on British Airways, and that incurs fuel surcharges of ~$400 in each direction. And you typically won’t find seven first class award seats with them either, so here you potentially have access to more award space. As a reminder, American charges 62,500 AAdvantage miles for one-way first class between the US and Europe.
If the whole family wants to go to London next summer and the date works, this is tough to beat. And I’d suggest jumping on this ASAP, as it most definitely won’t last.
Gotta love American’s odd patterns for releasing award seats at times. 53 transatlantic first class award seats one day, nothing for the rest of the year. 😉
(Tip of the hat to Jimmy & Chris)