There’s been a real knock on American Airlines lately for the lack of award availability using their miles to Europe.
They’ve been great to Asia — great space on their own flights, Japan Airlines seats are on the whole easier to get than they once were, and while Cathay has tightened up a bit it’s still doable (especially in business class and on new routes).
But Europe has been something of a challenge. Business class space on American’s own flights has been really tough the past couple of years. First class used to be easy, but that changed perhaps six months back.
On partners the transatlantic cupboard has been spotty — Iberia is feast or famine, Air Berlin has a few routes, and British Airways isn’t nearly as generous as they used to be with inventory… and flying them means paying extortionate fuel surcharges.
Recently American has gotten a bit better with award inventory. And really recently they’ve been almost too good with availability to London on their new Boeing 777-300ER in first class.
The plane has a fantastic business class, that I’ve reported on before.
And American has improved its first cabin as well.
Here’s what first class availability looks like for this April for 2 passengers. (The search is for non-stop American Airlines space only.)
Dallas Fort-Worth – London Heathrow
Miami – London Heathrow
New York JFK – London Heathrow
Chicago O’Hare – London Heathrow
Los Angeles – London Heathrow
Availability isn’t only in April, but that’s when availability really opens up and especially for Dallas – London.
And it isn’t only for first class, there is business class space available too — but first class is more abundant overall than business.
You can get to American’s gateways pretty easily, while American’s award availability domestically isn’t nearly as generous as it used to be I do still find it reasonable. And beyond London you have the British Airways route network of course — fuel surcharges won’t be awful for short-haul routes.
You can’t connect in Europe to Asia, though you can fly to the Middle East, India and Africa on a one-way partner award. No such routing restrictions exist for distance-based oneworld awards.