American Officially Makes Their Auckland Flight Seasonal

Last June American launched flights between Los Angeles and Auckland, which was part of their transpacific expansion out of LAX. This came just several months after American launched flights between Los Angeles and Sydney.

However, the Los Angeles to Auckland flight clearly hasn’t been performing as well as they had hoped. In April we learned that American would be suspending their Auckland flight between August and October 2016, given low demand during that period.

At the time it seemed that this was just a temporary suspension, and that the flight would operate year-round after that. However, it looks like this was in fact just an indication of what was to come. The always knowledgable JonNYC notes that American is suspending their Los Angeles to Auckland flight starting March 23, 2018. The flight will operate between October 2017 and March 2018, and I suspect it will return around the same time in 2018 (though the schedule isn’t open that far out yet).

As of now American has zeroed out the inventory for the flight, and it’s my understanding that they’re working on removing it from the schedule.

It’s hardly surprising to see American make this route seasonal. United has done the same. The two airlines launched flights to Auckland around the same time (American out of LAX and United out of SFO), and United quickly made the route seasonal, given the limited demand during the Northern Summer. However, United also partners with Air New Zealand, which operates several daily frequencies between the US and New Zealand, while no oneworld airlines fly between the two countries.

Keep in mind that American’s success on the route is probably being further hindered by the Department of Transportation blocking the expanded transpacific joint venture between American and Qantas. American’s flights to Auckland and Sydney were launched under the assumption that they’d be able to do full revenue sharing with Qantas, though the Obama administration didn’t approve the expansion of this joint venture, noting it wasn’t in the public’s best interest.

American and Qantas are hoping to try their luck again with the Trump administration. The two airlines have cut ties quite a bit, in hopes of showing that an expanded partnership would be in the public’s best interest.

I’ll be curious to see what the future of the Auckland route looks like for both American and United. I suspect it will stay seasonal long term, given what a seasonal destination New Zealand is. Kiwis would rather fly with Air New Zealand, and they offer plenty of service in the market.


  1. It was a matter of time. The demand doesn’t exist which is why most folks have been flying thru Sydney for decades. Even the flights from Sydney to Auckland are limited and have long layovers when flying in from the west coast.

  2. I find it odd that NZers have a preference for flying Air NZ. Air NZ’s Business Premier is one of the worst flying experiences I have ever had. The crew aren’t very friendly and the seats are arranged in a way where you awkwardly face other passengers. I think NZers’ loyalty to it is a case of irrational nationalism.

  3. If AA can’t make this or any other flight they added as part of their LAX “Pacific Gateway” expansion successful, take it away from them please. Their terrible service, apathetic to downright rude service personnel and failure to acknowledge their own ineptitude should not be rewarded.

  4. If AA can’t make this route, or any of the others they have recently added as part of their LAX “Pacific Gateway” expansion work, it should be taken away from them.

  5. “the always knowledgable JonNYC” brown nose much?

    The routes are being cut back not because of poor bookings but to once again show the DOT the consequences of denying them the JBV with QF. Once that gets approved, this route will come back full swing and SYD-LAX will return to 77W.

  6. They also completely failed to go head-to-head with NZ to attract traffic from Europe. NZ makes LHR-LAX and LAX-AKL work with some fairly aggressive pricing, but there was virtually no way to book that from Europe without going flexible economy. If they had managed to tie in with BA’s pricing, so that you could have a westbound as well as an eastbound option from Europe to NZ, they’d have had a lot more traffic.

  7. New Zealanders were very affected by United’s accident from HNL-AUK. The story of the 747’s ticking time bomb of a door latch was eventually brought into light after a couple whom had lost their own son dedicated their live’s, as well as, all of their money to expose the truth. The story was in the Auckland media constantly and UA never recovered their presence there which included flights to HNL and SP service, non-stop to LAX. If you are interested in going down the rabbit hole wiki, United flight 811. It showed that their is algorithm that airlines, their insurance companies and Boeing use to figure out how costly a defective repair is worth fixing even though they knew the 747’s door hinge was. Finally, a Pan Am ground crew was preparing a 747 to leave when it’s cargo door just decided to open. Anyway, they finally had to fix the entire fleet of all 747s.

  8. @Tony
    Actually bookings are poor, return walkup flights have often been only NZ$500. Return Air NZ flights are between $1000 and $2000

  9. New Zealander’s have a very strong loyalty to Air NZ. Here in NZ the only noticeable thing Air NZ did in response to AA entering the market was price match every now and then. Plus Air NZ has the market share of corporate travel contracts to the USA.

  10. Harry – Says who? No-one I know goes out of their way to use Air NZ. If there wasn’t such a lack of competition (though that’s increasing now with Jetstar expanding and several new international airlines flying into the country) I doubt they’d be so overwhelmingly dominant.

    Though the absolutely tiny market size means there isn’t space for another Air NZ sized airline, so they’re probably remain in first place for the foreseeable future.

  11. It just goes to show that American only wants to operate flights if they are oversold.
    God forbid they should charge enough to fly a plane that is only 60% full !!!!

  12. Global Road Warrior: How many flights are flown between SYD and AKL? According to Travelocity:
    There are 13 airline companies that fly from SYD to AKL, with approximately 2,617 flights per month. That averages about 623 flights per week.

    Even if you want to fly 3 hours further on from the west coast then double back to Auckland I’m not convinced your argument about poor connections SYD – AKL are true esp given North American flights into both AKL and SYD arrive in the morning…

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