There has been mostly good news coming out of Dallas-based American Airlines as of late. Naysayers will point to the negative aspects of the loyalty program changes announced late last year. Given, there were some down sides (the reduction in systemwide upgrades comes to mind). But, it really could have been worse.
Even if you look at the loyalty program changes as horrible (a position I would view as unreasonable), the expansion of the international network has to be viewed as positive:
- They announced a new joint venture with Qantas and spun up service between LAX and Sydney. As part of that announcement Qantas also launched service between SFO and Sydney, expanding the reach of your AAdvantage miles.
- They announced new service from LAX to New Zealand, traditionally a tough place to get to using miles.
- They announced premium economy on a number of long-haul aircraft, though there are still a bunch of details to be clarified here as to whether this is good news or bad news.
Today, they’re expanding their route network again, spinning up a bunch of new service detailed below:
What’s conspicuously empty from this announcement is LAX-HKG. There were heavy rumors this was coming, but it looks like it’s been delayed. According to One Mile at a Time, it might be held off a bit so that American can make a bigger deal out of that flight. They already offer DFW-HKG on the 777-300ER with its awesome business class product. I haven’t spent quite enough time with their upcoming deliveries to predict what plane they’ll use to serve the new HKG route when/if it’s announced.
I honestly can’t recall when/if American actually last served Seattle out of LAX. I thought they used to have a few frequencies 7 or 8 years ago but wouldn’t swear by it. While Alaska is an able partner with lots of frequency, there’s no chance for free domestic upgrades on Alaska based on your elite status with American (though you do get other benefits like choice seats and checked baggage allowances).
Having some AA metal on this route is a nice plus for people on the left coast, and for those of us who hop from city to city for business travel and also want the full EQMs, which are going away this year due to recent changes.
They’re not serving Seattle enough to compete with Alaska who has 14-ish frequencies on the route. But, it should be enough to serve folks who want to fly on AA and also should feed well into Alaska’s Seattle operation. No big surprises from the rest of the list. I think some of these fill the network out nicely, precluding a stop in DFW (Kansas City and New Orleans, for example).
I’m a little surprised by the daily Alaska flight given how discounted that destination gets for large parts of the year. I’ll be interested to see how long they plan to run it (and whether they plan to reduce service out of PHX). The rest of the seasonal destinations are really great for ski bums.
LAX is such a mish-mash of carriers and there’s plenty of competition amongst the other major players and plenty of discount airlines as well. In my opinion, there’s no way to “win” the LAX market, but AA must feel that they can earn enough profit on these routes to warrant such a decent sized expansion.
All in all, plenty of good news to go around for frequent American Airlines travelers while we wait for that Hong Kong announcement…..