After some wrangling to get slot times that work for them, American Airlines will launch their service from LAX to Haneda airport in Tokyo shortly.
The flights go on sale this Sunday with the first flight scheduled for February 11, 2016. The flight times look like this:
Departs LAX at 6 p.m.
Arrives at HND at 11 p.m. the following day
Departs HND at 1:30 a.m.
Arrives at LAX at 6:20 p.m.
The flight times out of LAX line up closely with Delta, who operates a flight that departs shortly before 5pm. ANA has a flight that leaves at midnight and arrives at 5am.
From HND, Delta and ANA both leave at roughly midnight.
Overall, I think these flight times are commercially viable for American. The flight out of LAX leaves late enough to connect from elsewhere in the country and to get most of a day’s worth of work in before taking off. ANA’s flight times are probably a bit better for me in that I could work a full day elsewhere in the country and connect in LAX. However, given the length of the flight, a 6pm departure would give me the time to eat dinner before falling asleep (a bit on the early side) for a full night of sleep. ANA’s flight is probably better for those that need to connect at HND for onward flights. The return flight time is rough, but all the flights leave pretty late in the evening.
So, why all the stink over Haneda?
A couple of reasons:
2. Connecting flights. There’s some belief that Haneda is a better airport for onward flights since it has more traffic.
The hope is that over time American Airlines (and other US airlines serving Haneda) will get better flight times to make it easier to connect. This would be especially helpful for American Airlines given it’s partnership with Japan Airlines.
I won’t be on the inaugural, but I’ll look to add this line to the map at some point in the future.