American Airlines Announces A Bunch Of International Service Changes

Wow!  It’s a big day for news.  I’ve got some other news to report on, but American Airlines takes the cake for news today.  They’ve got a major reshuffle of their international network.  Let’s dive right in!

New Routes

I really love some of the routes I’m seeing on the new route list.  Who am I kidding?  I love all of them:

Some of these are surprising.  I was talking earlier on Twitter about how service to Dubrovnik (a beautiful destination in Croatia) was not on my radar with American Airlines.  These route announcements solve a problem for American Airlines, though not one of their own making.  When airberlin went belly up last year, American Airlines and the oneworld alliance lost a big player to move traffic around Europe.  British Airways is a fine partner.  However, they’re obviously very focus around a Western European hub.  And, they have funky fuel surcharges that can make it hard to redeem miles for their flights.

None of the new routes creates a new way to move around Europe.  But, they do a couple of things.  First, they obviously provide more nonstop service to Europe from the US.  A bit less obvious are the ways this improves the ability to get around Europe.  DFW service to Dublin will match up with Aer Lingus, a partner of British Airways. I still have hope that you’ll be able to redeem your AAdvantage miles for Aer Lingus flights at some point.  Many of the destinations listed have extensive coverage by low-cost carriers in Europe.  While those won’t be covered my mileage redemptions, the flights can be unbelievably cheap.  The last two times to Europe our family has bought one-way tickets from Rome to Sicily on low-cost carrier blu Express/blu Panorama for less than $20 each.

Now, I understand that may mean taking an extra flight.  That’s a non-starter for some.  But, I have no issue with short-hop low-cost flights in Europe.  There’s also a fantastic train network.  My favorite of the new routes?  That’s like asking me to pick a favorite child.  If pushed, I’d narrow it down to ORD-ATH and PHL-DBV.  While I haven’t been to Dubrovnik yet our family had an excellent trip to Greece a few years ago.  I’d love to go back and hit the islands like Santorini and Mykonos.  And, I’ve circled Dubrovnik as high on my bucket list.

What Goes Away?

Alas, this is a zero sum game.  American is pulling back on unprofitable routes in order to fill out this new slate of flights.  Here’s a look at what goes away:

Things I’m not surprised by here:

  • American Airlines is drawing down more service to Asia. They’ve been very public about how much money they’re losing on these flights.  Still, it’s sad to see them go.  As these flights go away, American is further required to lean on their alliance partners like Cathay Pacific to get their customers to Asia.
  • American Airlines is dropping 3 more international destinations from JFK.  This is part of a much larger draw-down of international flights at JFK.  Again, AA is on record saying that they want to serve the business traveler well out of JFK.  With that primary focus, I wouldn’t imagine any of the flights being dropped were filled with suits and ties.
  • View From The Wing notes a drop in LAX to Mexico City.  That surprises me a bit since Mexico City is a pretty happening place for travel right now.  It could be an issue of too much competition out of LAX.

The Final Two Pennies

I think there are more positives than negatives for most normal folks on today’s announcements.  I imagine flights to Athens and Dublin will be more appealing than flights to Haiti and Puebla.  Toronto is a bit of a bummer from LAX as is Shanghai from Chicago.  Those are/were good flights to have in the network.  While they’ll be missed, I’m excited to figure out how to use my AAdvantage miles to get to Dubrovnik!

The post American Airlines Announces A Bunch Of International Service Changes was published first on Pizza in Motion



  1. Ed: I don’t quite understand this statement: “I think there are more positives than negatives for most normal folks on today’s announcements.” I’ve commented in the past about the clear pro-European/anti-Asian bias in your posts. Losing Chicago to Beijing and now to Shanghai is a huge loss, especially as Asia/China is where all the economic growth is focused and where the best value on luxury hotels are. This is also a huge loss for AA flyers in the Northeast, as they now have to go to DFW or LAX to transfer to China/Asia, which doesn’t make any sense at all – not to mention the loss of flights out of JFK to Europe. Also don’t forget that the vast majority of CX fares earn ZERO miles when crediting to AA, so CX isn’t really a viable alternative, despite your claim above. It is a bleak day for AA flyers in the Northeast who travel to China, and all my business (what’s left of it) continues moving to UA and EWR.

    1. Daniel, losing Chicago to Beijing is a blow to folks who fly between the US and Asia. No doubt at all. But, based on feedback I get from my readers, more of them are going to Europe versus Asia. So, I’m guessing most of the people reading these pages will find the news positive.

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