American To Resume Miami To Frankfurt Flight

As a loyal American flyer and German, I’ve long been disappointed by American’s lackluster route network to Germany. For a while their only route to Germany was Dallas to Frankfurt, which really isolated anyone on the east coast from flying American to Germany.

Then last April American launched a Chicago to Dusseldorf flight, which was a logical enough route given that airberlin joined oneworld in 2012, and that’s one of their primary hubs.

In a way American’s merger with US Airways took care of any shortcomings they had with service to Germany, given US Airways’ service to Frankfurt and Munich. I was starting to wonder whether those routes would last, given that they were largely centered around being able to drive connecting traffic onto Lufthansa. Since US Airways transitioned from Star Alliance to oneworld, that’s no longer an option.

American-Germany-Routes
The “new American’s” routes to Germany

I was kind of surprised when Doug Parker announced yesterday that American plans to resume Miami to Frankfurt flights in the first half of 2015. While nothing is official yet, it does seem like they’re serious about it.

American operated Miami to Frankfurt with a 767-300 until 1997, at which point it was discontinued. I suspect it will once again be operated by a 767-300, most likely one that’s refurbished with the new business class.

American-767-Business-Class-1
American 767-300 new business class

On one hand I’m excited since my family is from the Frankfurt area so this is incredibly convenient. But I’m not sure I get this move from American’s perspective.

I would have expected that any additional service to Germany would be to Berlin or Dusseldorf, given the opportunity for feed on airberlin. Since airberlin flies to Chicago, Ft. Myers, Los Angeles (seasonally), Miami, and New York, I would have expected a route from Dallas or Philadelphia to Berlin or Dusseldorf.

I think the most likely scenario here is that we’re simply seeing a route swap, and that US Airways will cut one of their frequencies to Frankfurt in favor of a Miami to Frankfurt flight.

While Frankfurt is the financial capital of Germany, I don’t think American has much chance of winning German corporate traffic given Lufthansa’s daily A380 flight. At best they’re looking at:

  • Price sensitive customers, who will choose American if it’s cheaper
  • Passengers connecting to Latin America, which I’m guessing is the primary reason for this route

Is anyone else surprised to see American’s next route to Germany be to a Star Alliance hub rather than a oneworld hub?

Comments

  1. I don’t see this succeeding. If you are connecting from LatAM, LH flies tons of non-stops AND has lots of *A partners in the region with Avianca and Copa so why would you fly on AA’s inferior domestic short-haul product to MIA to connect? MIA is a good connecting point for flights that aren’t already well served to Europe but FRA is not that destination especially as AA can offer no onward connections from FRA except ones you’d rather avoid anyway since you can get there otherwise (MAD, LHR).

  2. American’s 767-300 business class seats are much better than Lufthansa’s A380 business class seats given they use their new product (I’d say AA new 767 has the edge over Lufthansa 747-8 biz too)…well, if they refurbish the A380 AA reaches a problem, but they haven’t, so yeah.

  3. I have flown LH’s business class in both A380 and 747-8 and I have to agree with Alvin that AA’s newly reconfigured business class IS significantly better than LH’s. AA business class seats give all aisle access and affords a greater degree of privacy compared to LH.

  4. Miami-Frankfurt is the third most traveled route between the U.S. and Germany after New York-Frankfurt and New York-Munich, so no surprise.

    The route will be a 2-class 777-200ER and start April 2, 2015, as announced in the Town Hall meeting at MIA yesterday.

  5. this would be great for me, I would be able to travel AA non-stop Miami to Frankfurt, a route that I know do about 6x per year on either Delta via JFK or US air via Charlotte

  6. @ Kris — Keep in mind though this isn’t the reverse herringbone seat, but rather the 767-300 staggered product. So perhaps marginally better, but not a big difference, IMO.

  7. @ Alvin — Even so, I don’t think that would cause many corporate German travelers to switch from Lufthansa to American, all things considered.

  8. The 2-3-2 is old and horrible. I am flying on it next week ORD/PVG and I am already upset about it. If it is the refurbished 1-2-1, than it is much better than LH 380 Inclined seat which I’ve flown and did not like at all.

  9. “I think the most likely scenario here is that we’re simply seeing a route swap, and that US Airways will cut one of their frequencies to Frankfurt in favor of a Miami to Frankfurt flight.”

    Ding ding ding, we have a winner..! You’ve actually nailed it.

    We’re going to see the end of Charlotte as a transatlantic gateway. (London flight could remain).

    MIA-FRA is going to be better for American than CLT-FRA, since AA has both the O/D market in Miami and feed plus Latin America connectivity.

  10. @lucky there won’t be any new service to Berlin by anyone to anywhere till they sort out the new airport. I’m pretty sure it still doesn’t have a new opening date. When it does, though I’d expect a lot of new long haul options to open up.

  11. @ Gary Leff — Charlotte to Frankfurt will probably continue double daily, but will definately have one daily flight to Frankfurt. Charlotte to Frankfurt has operated continually since 1998, well before US Airways joined *A, so CLT-FRA will definately stay and I said will probably remain double daily in the summer. Also there is a lot of O&D from the Carolinas to Germany, coporate travellers from German companies USA HQs, Military personal going to bases in Southern German and over-all a large German population in Charlotte. Futhermore, a lot of cargo is carried on CLT-FRA, in fact the double daily flights could remain profitable on just cargo in the hold with passengers.

    You say: “We’re going to see the end of Charlotte as a transatlantic gateway. (London flight could remain).” For your information, therw are two flights a day from Charlotte to London and S15 schedule loaded from Charlotte:

    London Heahrow x2 A330-300/200
    Dublin A330-200
    Frankfurt x2 A330-200
    Paris A330-300
    Rome A330-300
    Barcelona A330-200
    Madrid A330-200

    Next year, there will be more Airbus A330s flying to Europe from Charlotte than every before. I have heard from Philadelphia and Charlotte- based flight attendants that US Airways’ second daily Philadelphia to Frankfurt flight will be transferred to Miami, becuase Lufthansa also flys that route.

  12. US Airways has more A330s loaded into their trans-Atlantic summer 2015 schedule than it actually has A330s. The schedules will be changing. The 2nd daily CLT-FRA will not operate next year, although it is in the schedule, and jury is still out on FCO/DUB/BCN; BRU/LIS/MAN are officially cancelled. Also, early talks of cross-fleeting (e.g. using A330s out of JFK/MIA and 763s out of CLT/PHL) but there is still a lot to figure out.

  13. @Lewis don’t rely on flight attendants to tell you the future of the airline’s route network.

    CLT isn’t going to lose its transatlantic flying right away. US/AA don’t even have their single ops certificate or merged passenger service system yet. Charlotte will remain a North-South connecting hub. But only those transatlantic flights making money in the local market will survive.

    Philly losing a transatlantic flight in the future ought not be read as a plus for CLT either, there will be rationalization of JFK/PHL departures as well.

  14. Simon, actually one A330-300 has not been scheduled, US has scheduled 16 A330-200s out of 15 aircraft and 8 A330-300s out of 9 aircraft. And how do you know the second daily CLT-FRA “will not operate” next year?

  15. Is there anyway to know which flight your route operates(i.e the new or the refurbished?) I am on the MAD-MIA route next year and the seats still show the old configuration. I am guessing this is just a case of the waiting game unless you have some insider knowledge Ben 🙂

  16. @ john — No inside knowledge, unfortunately. If it shows six seats per row in business it’s still scheduled to be the old product. Could always change, of course.

  17. Miami-Madrid switches to a 777 in December, but the temp schedules show a switch back to the 763 in January. This should be fixed soon; it will be becoming a 777 route.

    All 763 trans-Atlantic flying will be the new configuration by May 2015.

  18. Looks like AA has made an equipment change starting Jan 6, 2015 for the DFW-FRA route. It was previously serviced by the non-reconfigured 777-200, but is changing to the non-reconfigured 767-300. Lufthansa also has a direct from DFW-FRA on an Airbus A340-300 which is hands down a better product than the AA 767-300. Direct product competition Lufthansa wins, but the OneWorld network at DFW vs Star Alliance give the edge back to AA.

    Heard any news regarding this route and how it places into Frankfurt strategy now that AA has added Miami and Lufthansa has added Tampa?

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