Yesterday American Airlines teased a big announcement on social media (HT: One Mile at a Time).
👀🎧 Stay tuned… pic.twitter.com/F2vCTYzVem
— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) August 6, 2019
The internet is responding with speculation like ‘more legroom, seat back TVs, and free text messaging and wifi’. And while a modification of the Oasis retrofit (densification) program has been rumored, there have been internal discussion of bringing back seat back video screens, and American is prepared to offer free wifi once Delta does none of those things are what this announcement is about.
If nothing else the fact that American put Vasu Raja on camera, their Vice President of Network Planning, tells you that the announcement is about the routes American will fly.
Things to look out for:
- Australia/New Zealand: American has a new joint venture approved with Qantas and they’ve promised more South Pacific flying.
- Europe: American has been growing in Eastern Europe (Krakow has gotten a lot of attention). Their Western Europe flights haven’t worked out as well. Bologna, Italy is a goner. JonNYC, who has his hands into more than Dominique Strauss-Kahn, says Berlin is being axed as well. However I’m always on the lookout for flights to Spain, Italy, and Germany.
- Asia: We can expect a reshuffle at Tokyo-Narita now that American has acquired a couple of new Tokyo Haneda slots. I don’t see American’s Asia presence growing substantially, since long term it’s been weak for them.
- Africa: With Royal Air Maroc now in oneworld rumors of an American flight to Casablanca have been around for some time.
There are also rumors of Tel Aviv coming back.
By the way you can buy the plush toy that Vasu has with him in the video, but as of this writing there are only 14 in stock.
I’ve previously predicted Chicago – Krakow and Philadelphia – Casablanca so I’ll stick with those. (They weren’t final by any means when I heard about them.) Since there’ll be several routes announced there should be something from the Qantas JV, it’ll include Europe changes, and also bundle small ball North America stuff. I expect that changes will probably be less heavy in South America – even though airline President Robert Isom just made a trip there – pending the LATAM joint venture.