American

Is China Playing Dirty With American’s New Los Angeles To Beijing Route?

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Well here’s the latest never-ending drama in the airline industry…

Last March, Delta announced that they planned to operate daily nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Beijing as of December 16, 2016. Exactly two weeks later, American announced that they planned to operate daily nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Beijing as of December 16, 2016.

Obviously the announcements coming just days apart is no coincidence. As it turns out, there was only one slot available for Beijing, so when Delta requested permission to fly the route, American quickly followed. I doubt the route would have been on American’s immediate radar, but when they saw that Delta was going to operate it, they wanted to make sure they got it instead. After all, American is trying to turn LAX into their Pacific gateway.

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American & Qantas Are Cutting Ties So They Can Strengthen Ties

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In November I first wrote about how the U.S. Department of Transportation blocked the expanded transpacific joint venture of American and Qantas.

American and Qantas increased their cooperation when American added their first two routes to the South Pacific. Specifically, American launched flights from Los Angeles to both Sydney and Auckland. American and Qantas already had a joint venture, though American didn’t operate any of the flights across the Pacific.

The intent was that American and Qantas would be expanding together under their joint venture, giving passengers more transpacific options. For example, as part of this Qantas also relaunched flights between Sydney and San Francisco, instead taking some frequencies off their Los Angeles route, since American would be filling that gap.

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6 Alternative Facts About Basic Economy

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There is a good deal of confusion in the marketplace about basic economy fares, the no-frills tickets that Delta has been selling for several years now and American and United are poised to begin selling this quarter.

My biggest concern with basic economy fares is that there’s no good way to identify them when searching using Google Flights, or really anywhere other than the airlines’ websites. This seems like an easy feature for Google to add and would go a long way toward helping consumers make an informed decision about what they are about to buy. Of course I’d like to see all of the online travel agencies implement something similar, and honestly, I think that is coming.

But it turns out that there’s a lot more confusion about basic economy than just our inability to identify these fares. Let’s look at six alternative facts about basic economy.

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American’s Newest Planes Won’t Feature Personal Televisions

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While it might seem backwards on the surface, this move doesn’t really come as a surprise. American has sent out a memo to employees detailing how they won’t be installing personal televisions going forward on their narrowbody planes. This starts with the 737 MAX, the first of which American is taking delivery of later this year.

Up until now, American’s new delivery narrowbody planes, including 737s, A319s, and A321s, have featured personal televisions at every seat. It’s a great feature for customers, though at the same having TVs on planes is expensive (not just in terms of installation costs, but also in terms of the added weight, which causes increased fuel burn).

American claims that over 90% of customers travel with devices that let them stream entertainment, so instead American is committed to offering free, streaming high-quality movies and music. While that statistic might technically be true, watching a movie on an iPhone really isn’t the same as watching it on a bigger screen.

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American Is Increasing Standard Economy Award Rates To The South Pacific

Sydney

American has just informed me that in February they’ll be adding additional AAnytime reward levels for travel between North America and the South Pacific. As some of you may remember, a few months back they raised some AAnytime reward levels for travel in premium cabins in this market. Here’s their statement regarding this change:

“In February we’ll be adding additional reward levels to our AAnytime fares in the South Pacific. The levels will apply to the main cabin on flights to and from Sydney or Auckland. As you’ll remember in September we introduced higher levels in the premium cabins in the South Pacific. There will be no changes to MileSAAver.”

We don’t yet know the exact dates these changes will kick in, though I’m told on some dates awards in economy will cost as much as 150,000 miles one-way. As it stands, American has the following award rates for travel in economy between the U.S. and South Pacific:

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Earn Bonus Miles For Transatlantic Travel On American

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American AAdvantage has just announced a promotion for earning bonus miles on transatlantic travel. The promotion is similar to ones we’ve seen in the past. Through this promotion you can earn up to 40,000 bonus miles for transatlantic travel this winter, as follows:

— 5,000 bonus miles per roundtrip in economy (fare classes Y, H, K, M, L, W, V, G, Q, N, O or S)
— 10,000 bonus miles per roundtrip in business class (fare classes J, R, D or I)
— 20,000 bonus miles per roundtrip in first class (fare classes F or A)

Registration is required using promotion code NAS17. Furthermore, booking and travel is required between January 19 and March 31, 2017. In the past American counted previously purchased tickets towards the promotion, though they’re not doing so this time.

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Wide Open Peak Season American Business Class Awards To Australia!

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Finding premium cabin award seats between the U.S. and Australia can be extremely difficult, in particular in the high season. While we sometimes see a decent amount of space in the off season, it’s very rare to see saver level premium cabin space in December, etc.

Well, at the moment American has a lot of business class award availability between Los Angeles and Sydney.

The space seems to be available starting in November through the end of the schedule, which as of now runs through December 13, 2017. Many dates have up to five business class award seats available. For example, here’s what availability looks like for two business class award seats for the last month of the schedule:

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OFFICIAL: Full Details Of American’s New Basic Economy Fares

American-Economy

Earlier I posted about American’s new basic economy fares, with a lot of information provided by the always knowledgable JonNYC. Well, American has just put out a press release with all the details of basic economy:

“American Airlines today announced it will begin selling Basic Economy fares in addition to the wide range of Main Cabin fares currently offered. These no-frills tickets provide a simple and affordable way to experience American’s network, and provide customers the option to pay for the services they want.

Basic Economy fares will go on sale in February in 10 select markets, with the first flights occurring shortly thereafter and expansion to additional markets expected later this year. Not every American Airlines flight will offer Basic Economy fares.”

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The Global “Airline Of The Year” Award Goes To… American?!?

American-787

Popular airline publication Air Transport World gives awards to airlines every year, including the sought after “airline of the year” award. Last year this award went to Etihad, while prior to that it went to Southwest, Delta, ANA, Air New Zealand, Emirates, Singapore, etc.

American Airlines won the airline of the year award for 2016, which I’m sure is leaving many of us scratching our heads. Per ATW’s press release, here’s the reasoning:

“The ATW Airline Industry Achievement Awards recognize excellence across a broad range of airline operations and are widely considered as the most coveted in the air transport industry. To win ATW’s Airline of the Year award, an airline must demonstrate exceptional achievements and capabilities across operations, financial performance, customer service, safety and labor relations. Its executive leadership must also clearly show innovation and strategic thinking that sets the company apart.”

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More Details About American’s New Basic Economy Fares

American-Economy

As we’ve known for a while, American will begin selling basic economy fares as of later this month.

Among US carriers, Delta was the first to introduce “basic economy” fares. On paper, this is an attempt to compete with ultra-low cost carriers like Spirit and Allegiant.

The intent is that the cheapest fares in some markets will come with even fewer benefits, like not being eligible for any sort of ticket changes (even for a fee), not allowing advance seat assignments, not allowing free upgrades, etc. The logic is that this will allow them to compete with low cost carriers on price, when they might not otherwise be able to.

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GREAT NEWS Regarding American Premium Economy Upgrades

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In late 2015 American announced that they planned on adding a premium economy cabin to much of their longhaul fleet. While the airline has long offered an extra legroom economy section, this is the first time they’re offering an actual premium economy cabin.

The premium economy cabin has debuted on American’s new Boeing 787-9 aircraft, though will eventually also be added to their A330s, 777s, 787-8s, and A350s.

Up until now American has been operating the 787-9 on routes to Madrid and Sao Paulo, though hasn’t actually been selling the premium economy cabin. Instead they’ve been letting passengers who have access to Main Cabin Extra seats sit there. This is because they wanted to work out the service kinks and also needed to realign fare classes to allow the sale of this new cabin. American is actually selling premium economy fares for travel as of April.

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One Strange Reason For American’s Operational Issues On Hong Kong Flights?

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American now flies from both Dallas and Los Angeles to Hong Kong. Both flights are operated by American’s beautiful 777-300ERs, featuring first class and reverse herringbone seats in business class. The routes even have American’s “premium” service in first & business class, similar to what they offer to Australia (this means you get pajamas and mattress pads in business class).

However, both of these flights have been plagued by a surprising number of delays. It seems a bit puzzling that routes operated by brand new 777s would have so many issues.

For those of you not familiar with American’s operational issues on their Hong Kong flights, FlightStats gives both AA125 (Dallas to Hong Kong) and AA193 (Los Angeles to Hong Kong) zero out of five stars for their on-time performance:

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Great Deal: $1,300 Roundtrip Oneworld Business Class Tickets From Paris To New York

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Here’s a great deal for readers on the other side of the Atlantic who are oneworld loyalists (or crazy people on this side of the Atlantic who are willing to position themselves). 😉

Premium fares in the New York to Paris market have been driven down by La Compagnie, the discounted all business class airline flying between the two cities.

Well, at the moment oneworld airlines are offering especially good business class fares when flying roundtrip from Paris to New York. Roundtrip tickets are available for just ~$1,300. The basic details are as follows:

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