American’s revenue management has been notoriously stingy about releasing seats for premium cabin international travel — over the past three years to Europe, and over the past 18 months or so even to Latin America and Asia.
What’s more, because American doesn’t have as many partners across the Atlantic as Star Alliance airlines do, that leaves few options and fewer still that don’t hit you with big surcharges as their primary European partner is British Airways. So when American releases premium cabin awards on their own flights, that’s notable.
We’re seeing really good availability right now on American’s flights between New York JFK, Chicago, and Philadelphia and Manchester, UK.
Wide Open Business Class for Summer and Early Fall
Availability between the US and Manchester becomes decent in late spring and reasonably good over the summer, and then outstanding for the fall.
Here’s New York JFK – Manchester non-stop availability for 2 passengers in business class:
Availability is a little bit less good, but still quite good, for Chicago – Manchester:
My own preference would be to fly Philadelphia – Manchester on legacy US Airways aircraft:
American flies Boeing 767-300s New York JFK and Chicago – Manchester. The new 767s are fully flat with all-aisle access, but much narrower than a Boeing 777. I find the seats quite tight in bed mode.
For Philadelphia – Manchester, though, you’ve got US Airways Airbus A330s which means reverse herringbone 4-across seating. US Airways pioneered the seat (that’s similar in American’s Boeing 777-300ERs) which has been adopted as the world’s top standard by Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, and others.
Availability between the US and Manchester goes in both directions.
How Much Do These Awards Cost, and Where Can You Go?
American charges 50,000 miles per person each way between the US and Europe for business class. (Bookings made March 22 onward will be 57,500 miles each way.)
You can use British Airways Avios for the flights, of course, but those will incur fuel surcharges.
With American miles you can include flights within the US to any of the 3 gateway cities (New York, Chicago, Philadelphia) for no additional miles.
Beyond Manchester you can book an easyJet, Ryanair, Flybe, Jet2 or other low cost carrier elsewhere in the region. Or you can include a short haul British Airways flight to London Heathrow (and beyond) without incurring substantial fuel surcharges.
(HT: Points MD)