A couple of days ago I wrote about how Sichuan Airlines is launching flights between Los Angeles and Hangzhou, with connecting service to Chengdu. Hangzhou might seem like a random destination out of LAX, but as of now Sichuan doesn’t have any planes that can fly nonstop between Los Angeles and Chengdu. So for now they’re operating the flight via Hangzhou, though in the future they hope to operate nonstop service between Los Angeles and Chengdu.
However, what makes this route especially bizarre is that they started selling tickets only a few days before the route launched. Sichuan will begin flying to Los Angeles starting this coming Monday, October 17, 2016, even though they only started selling tickets a couple of days ago.
We’ve seen a lot of expansion from Chinese carriers to the US lately, and perhaps the best aspect of it has been the great introductory fares we’ve seen. When Hainan started flying between Los Angeles and Changsha we saw ~$1,350 roundtrip business class fares, while when Xiamen Air started flying between Seattle and Shenzhen we saw ~$1,580 roundtrip business class fares.
Well, Sichuan Airlines’ flights are now bookable, and we’re seeing some incredible introductory fares as well. Specifically:
- Fly business class from Los Angeles to Hangzhou for ~$1,582 roundtrip
- Fly business class from Los Angeles to Chengdu for ~$1,582 roundtrip
- Fly business class from Los Angeles to Beijing or Shanghai for ~$1,478 roundtrip
If you are looking to travel between Los Angeles and Hangzhou, paying ~$1,580 for a roundtrip business class ticket on a nonstop flight is great.
The fare to Chengdu is just as good, though it’s a long journey time.
On the surface the best fare is actually from Los Angeles to Beijing or Shanghai. The catch is that it’s a really unpleasant routing, as you have to connect twice in each direction, in both Hangzhou and Chengdu. On top of that, due to the flight timing, you have an overnight layover in Chengdu in both directions. So it’s not ideal in terms of the routing, though the fare is great.
In terms of searching for flights or booking, your best bet is to go through Google Flights, and then I’d recommend following the link on Google Flights to book through Cheapoair, since Sichuan’s website is horrible.
A few more notes:
- Best I can tell, this fare is valid for outbound travel through December 22, 2016, and there’s availability every day the flight operates until then
- Sichuan Airlines has angled flat seats in business class, so it’s not a great hard product they offer
- Sichuan Airlines doesn’t belong to any alliance, so at best you can credit these flights to either Sichuan’s own Golden Panda Club (what a cool name is that for a frequent flyer program?), or otherwise to China Southern’s program
This is an incredible fare for business class between the US and China. If you’re going to Chengdu or Hangzhou this is an option that’s tough to beat. However, do keep in mind that Sichuan has angled seats in business class, so it’s not going to be the solid hard product you may have come to expect on some other Chinese carriers.
I’ve been extremely impressed by my business class flights on Hainan and Xiamen, so I’m sort of tempted to try this out as well. Would a review on Sichuan be interesting, or does their lack of partners for earning and redeeming miles make them less interesting?
Anyone planning on trying Sichuan’s new flight between Los Angeles and Hangzhou?