Sichuan Airlines Will Start Flying To Los Angeles… Next Week?!

Chinese Airlines have been growing their US route networks significantly the past few years, which has led to some cool new routes. For example, I quite enjoyed my Hainan Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Changsha, and my Xiamen Air flight from Seattle to Shenzhen (despite the great hard product, I enjoyed my China Eastern flight from Los Angeles to Shanghai slightly less).

xiamen-air-787-business-class-1
Xiamen Air 787 business class

Well, it looks like Los Angeles will soon get another Chinese airline. Per @airlineroute, Sichuan Airlines will offer 2x weekly flights between Los Angeles and Hangzhou, with connecting service to Chengdu. The flight will operate on Mondays and Thursdays with the following schedule:

3U8631 Chengdu to Hangzhou departing 8:10AM arriving 10:55AM
3U8631 Hangzhou to Los Angeles departing 12:55PM arriving 12:00PM

3U8632 Los Angeles to Hangzhou departing 2:00PM arriving 7:20PM (+1 day)
3U8632 Hangzhou to Chengdu departing 9:30PM arriving 12:20AM (+1 day)

lax-ctu

But here’s the craziest part of this new route. This new route was initially announced a few months ago, though no details of the schedule had been announced. Now Sichuan Airlines is planning on launching this route just a few days from now, on October 17, 2016.

I’m not sure if they just totally forgot to put this flight on sale, and if they have to stick to their initially announced launch date due to some government regulations, or what. Given that tickets haven’t been on sale until now, I can’t imagine their first flight in a few days will be full.

Sichuan Airlines operates a fleet of about 100 planes, including four A330-200 and four A330-300 aircraft. Unfortunately Sichuan’s A330 aircraft feature rather outdated angled business class seats, so this won’t be a good hard product for the long journey.

Sichuan Airlines is based in Chengdu, though in this instance they’re not even offering a nonstop flight there, so I’m not sure what competitive advantage they have over other airlines, virtually all of which offer a better hard product. For example, China Eastern already operates 3x weekly one-stop flights from Los Angeles to Chengdu via Nanjing (and they have an excellent reverse herringbone business class seat).

I’ll be keeping an eye on fares on the route, and might just book it if I see any cheap business class fares. Unfortunately Sichuan Airlines doesn’t belong to any alliance or have any useful partners as far as I know, though.

Bottom line 

Sichuan Airlines’ new route between Los Angeles and Hangzhou is a bit odd, given that it’s apparently being launched with just a few days notice. As far as I know this is also the only flight operated out of LAX by a Chinese carrier without a flat bed product.

Overall it’s pretty amazing how many nonstop options we now have out of LAX to China. There are nonstop flights to Beijing, Changsha, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai.

What do you make of Sichuan’s new flight between Los Angeles and Hangzhou?

Comments

  1. Hi Lucky!

    I came across this video on YouTube and as far as I can tell it looks like Qatar has started updating the A330 with a new business class product! I could be wrong but this may be something you could look into and write about? It looks similar to their A340 product but a little more modern. This video is less than a month old so maybe this is actually happening?

    Here is the link:

  2. Lucky, I can see the fare basis on EF.

    Their cheapest books in J – fare basis JTCL6M with a base price of US$1,299. Taxes and surcharge would be extra of course.

  3. Hi Benjamin Schlappig,
    Well, they make stop at HGH initially due to range of A330-200, in 2018 Sichuan Airlines (3U) will fly nonstop to LAX with A350. (3U said A350 are intended to fly CTU-LAX nonstop)

  4. @LSG Sky Chefs CTU

    Hasn’t Hainan already applied to fly LAX-CTU nonstop? How will Sichuan also fly LAX-CTU with China’s one airline-one route rule?

  5. Though Sichuan Air is based in Chengdu, Hangzhou is their focus city and the airline has quite a few flights from HGH to other Chinese cities.

  6. @Justin
    Hainan (HU) hasn’t applied for that yet, instead they applied for PEK-LAS with Dreamliner service. Sichuan Airlines (3U) also thinking about fly CTU-YVR/LHR/SFO nonstop on A350. (LHR and SFO are served by BA and UA).

  7. I recently flew Melbourne to Chengdu return business class in the A330 with Sichuan and found the angled seats were too uncomfortable for the neck even the chinese passenger next to me complained about it. That she should’ve just flown economy. The “relax” position was more comfortable. I don’t know why on the position button it says flat bed because it’s definitely not. It puts you in an angle that you feel like you are slipping. They served me stone cold pumpkin soup and when I sent it back they returned with it not even luke warm, I gave up, and the rest of the food was like an east west combo I couldn’t eat. The service was good, fortunately I speak Mandarin they’re English needed work. The only other thing was the return flight was 1:55am, an every 3 day flight option. Work payed for it all and it was a direct flight ten hrs compared to a fifteen hr connecting flight so am fine with it if sleeping.

  8. Sichuan Airlines is the absolutely worst airline you can go to. Stay away. They do not speak english. Nasty airlines. No customer service and and bad food. Do not touch this cheap airline. #cheapairlines #sichuanairlines #sichuanair #sichuanreview

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