American Airlines made a bunch of route announcements today. Most of them are positive, expanding on existing service and adding new destinations. Let’s break it down:
Whenever I think about American Airlines and the Caribbean, I can’t help but wistfully recall their phenomenal San Juan hub. American used to have an unbelievable network there. When combined with Miami, AA was the king of the Caribbean. They still have plenty of service, and these most recent changes connect a lot more dots for customers. Here’s a quick cheat-sheet on airport codes to help you out:
- ELH: Eleuthera. This is in the Bahamas. Even I was stumped initially, though the Bahamas was my guess.
- MHH: Marsh Harbour, Bahamas
- AUA: Aruba (but, you already knew that)
- SVD: St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- GCM: Grand Cayman
- NAS: Nassau, Bahamas
- PLS: Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
- BGI: Bridgetown, Barbados
- CUR: Curacao
- FPO: Freeport, Bahamas
- POP: Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
- POS: Piarco, Trinidad and Tobago
- SDQ: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
- UVF: Saint Lucia
Okay, now that we got that out-of-the-way, let’s look at the new service. First, the new routes to the Caribbean:
Then, the new frequencies:
I love that there are so many Caribbean routes moving to daily service, and that Charlotte, Chicago and DFW get expanded Caribbean coverage. Miami can be a bit of a bear to clear customs at. I’d much rather clear in Charlotte. The bottom line here is that more connections open up more opportunities for folks to redeem miles. If you live in DC, like I do, you might now want to backtrack to Chicago to get to the Caribbean. But, if the difference is buying tickets versus being able to redeem miles, you’d rather have more options. Many of these changes are on mainline aircraft, which mean more total seats.
Starting this winter, American Airlines will start serving Honolulu from Chicago-O’Hare. While only seasonal, it’ll be on a Boeing 787-8, so there should be plenty more premium lie-flat business class seats to a place people definitely want to go! As an aside, you need to listen to my latest podcast episode for tips on how to find the best award flight options to Hawaii.
British Airways will take over one of the Miami-London Heathrow flights currently operated by American. American will add a DFW-LHR flight. Again, more options for folks looking to redeem those hard-earned miles.
American Airlines is canceling the Chicago-Beijing route. That’s unfortunate. But, the carrier still serves Beijing from DFW and LAX. They’ll apply for the right to hold onto the route (dormancy waiver) in case they change their minds. The press release notes that American wants to operate at the new Beijing airport scheduled to open next year.
The Final Two Pennies
Lots of good news for the AA route network. I’m curious why the sudden significant increase in Caribbean service. But, I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Hawaii fares have been historically cheap lately, but premium seats (and upgrades) can be very tough to find. Seasonal ORD-HNL service won’t solve that all on its own. But, it does present a nice addition to the market. If you’re holding on to American Airlines AAdvantage miles and figuring out where to use them, you’ve got a bunch more ways to do that now!
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