American Killing Chicago-Beijing, Adding New Hawaii and Caribbean Flights

American Airlines announced today that they are ending their Chicago – Beijing flight in October, adding new flights to Hawaii and the Caribbean, and swapping out London flying with their joint venture partner British Airways (which has implications for quality of product and upgrades).

An End to Chicago – Beijing

American is ending Chicago – Beijing service, while continuing to operate to the Chinese capital from both Dallas and Los Angeles. The route hasn’t performed well, though you wouldn’t know it from how tough it’s remained to get premium cabin award seats on the flight. The last flight to Beijing will be October 20 and the last flight back from Beijing will be October 22.

Even though they don’t want to operate the flight anymore, they will still ask the Department of Transportation to allow them to keep the route authority, rather than letting another airline have it. Perhaps it will return to the schedule next year – the airline says they intend to seek access to the new Beijing airport when it opens.

American Boeing 787-8 in Chicago

New Chicago – Honolulu Service

Chicago may be losing Beijing but will gain Honolulu service, competing with United on the route. While speculated about for years — Chicago – Honolulu was on again off again under consideration and years ago a previous labor contract required too many pilots in the cockpit to make it economical — it will finally come to fruition as winter service and it will be operated with a Boeing 787-8 offering fully flat direct aisle access ‘Concept D’ seats in business class.

The daily seasonal flight goes on sale May 7 and begins December 19.

American Boeing 787-8 Concept D Business Class

Swapping Out London Flights With British Airways

British Airways and American are anti-trust immunized joint venture partners, sharing revenue and coordinating schedules and pricing across the Atlantic.

Effective October 18 American is dropping one of its two Miami – London flights. British Airways will replace American’s Boeing 777-300ER with a new Boeing 747-400 flight.

  • That’s more capacity on Miami – London
  • But it’s BA’s inferior product in business
  • And it means one fewer flight with passengers eligible for the already-deserted Miami Flagship Dining

American will be moving the Boeing 777-300ER to add an additional Dallas Fort Worth – London flight.

There’s still the long-running rumor that American might replace one of the two British Airways Washington Dulles – London Boeing 747-400 frequencies, so it’s possible this isn’t the last joint venture swap that gets announced.

Increased Flying to the Caribbean

American is adding four new Caribbean flights from Chicago: Aruba, Grand Cayman, Nassau, Turks & Caicos. They’re adding new year-round Saturday service Miami – St. Vincent and the Grenadines. There are two new routes from Charlotte, Eleuthera and Marsh Harbour in The Bahamas. And they’re starting up Dallas Fort Worth – Aruba service. In addition they’re adding seven additional daily frequencies on existing Miami – Caribbean routes.

These are the new routes:

And these are the increased frequencies:

Notably they’re not adding any Caribbean flying to New York JFK, a place where they focus on business routes rather than meeting the needs of business customers across the board (a frequent refrain of mine is that business travelers are leisure travelers, too).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. When should I expect award availability to be released on the Caribbean flights?

  2. This is American Airlines you shouldn’t ever *expect* award availability… though I certainly hope the routes with more capacity see more award space

  3. MIA SVD is great!
    AA is adding a lot of direct flights lately.
    MIA GEO is another one that was announced a few months back.

  4. @Gary – I would certainly expect these routes to have AAnytime space. Not the answer ABC was looking for, of course! But – during high season to the Caribbean, 50-60k each way for J just *might* make sense if cash fares are astronomically priced.

  5. Gary ORD-HNL is not new. The company operated it through the fuel price spike in 2008, then went seasonal and has come and gone since. There was also ORD-OGG service over the years. This is hardly a new route. But since you are new to AA (since 2012) as a passenger you just don’t know this.

  6. Isn’t ORD-PEK one of the first routes American launched to China like 10 years ago?

  7. I would like to suggest a change in the title of this piece.

    “Parker is killing AA, but adding new flights in the meantime”

  8. And before that @Josh it was delayed for years because of pilot contract issues, because you apparently don’t have the long sense of history that I have you apparently don’t know this.

  9. I’m very familiar with the APA agreement.

    You however seem to not understand how bids and occupational seniority work. You used words “go ahead” speaking of LODs who are language qualified, however those are separate bids from the non-LOD bid positions on long haul flight. If what you articulated was the case there would be grievances filed left and right.

    Stick to hawking credit cards. Maybe after more AAdvantage reforms you will move onto another company to target.

  10. That’s great about SVD. I just sailed from St Vincent to Grenada and it was a bit of a hassle getting to SVD….had to go to DFW-MIA-POS and then take Liat up to SVD. Will make next sailing trip to the Grenadines a much easier trip to plan next time.

  11. @Josh G – what I wrote was accurate, that there are positions for language qualified flight attendants and as a result much lower seniority crew can work those flights due to their language skills. Now crawl back under your rock.

  12. Hmm… AA trading off with BA.
    My initial response was, the lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. I will welcome an additional DFW to LHR 777-300 three-cabin aircraft but may miss the LHR to MIA flight which I use on occasion.
    I will not fly BA any more unless it is absolutely my last and final option and certainly not on a BA 747 out of T3 LHR. The nice lady checking me in at LHR last week to PHX via DFW asked why I hadn’t taken the BA codeshare direct. That earned her a 5-minute monologue on BA’s disgraceful shortcomings…

    From Gary’s favorite Admiral’s Club, the newly renovated club in Term A DFW… 🙂

  13. i don’t know what type of “business travelers” AA is trying to target out of NYC ….. cuz apparently for that group of folks, global cities like

    – Shanghai PVG,
    – Mumbai BOM,
    – Frankfurt FRA,
    – Mexico City MEX,
    – Tel Aviv TLV,
    – Zurich ZRH,
    – or even Houston IAH/HOU for that matter …

    are waaaaay too leisure for AA to bother offering a nonstop from NYC

  14. We used to regularly fly AAdvantage award travel to/from HNL direct flights with ORD and DFW. If AA lost this connection, they must have given it up somewhere along the way.

    Of course, given the now near-impossibility of finding 2-flight AAdvantage award travel from the East Coast to HNL, which used to be a given (thanks to American’s gutting their AAdvantage award program), it makes more sense to collect UA miles and use them for United’s direct flights from ORD and EWR.

  15. but then again … the trolls love selling us the message that UA is “being eaten alive at LAX” but AA “has a strong presence” in NYC despite the numbers telling a drastically different story :

    JFK LGA EWR SWF total Mar’17 – Feb’18
    UA 23.7%
    DL 22.4%
    B6 13.0%
    AA 12.9% (1080 bps lower than UA)

    LAX only Jan’17 – Dec’17
    AA 18.83%
    DL 16.66%
    UA 14.18% (465 bps lower than AA)

    so ya … let’s recap what the AA trolls try to tell us – UA being 465 bps lower than AA at LAX is at their “last throes” but AA being 1080 bps lower than UA at NYC is a “strong and robust #4” …. go figure


  16. “There’s still the long-running rumor that American might replace one of the two British Airways Washington Dulles – London Boeing 747-400 frequencies, so it’s possible this isn’t the last joint venture swap that gets announced.” If I remember correctly, it wasn’t that long ago that AA flew IAD-LHR (and DL flew IAD-CDG). Not sure I understand why AA and DL abandoned their IAD flights to Europe. It would be good to see both of them come back and give UA some competition on IAD-Europe flights.

  17. Thanks for this great post! Hawaii is my ultimate travel goal for 2018! I personally started traveling around two years ago and have been to several different countries including Egypt, Turkey and Spain. But sometimes I find that many flights are way too expensive, the one thing that helps get flights at really affordable prices is with Travel Hacking. I’m sure this will provide a lot of value to anyone who travels! Feel free to check it out here:

  18. If they paid half of list I’ll eat my hat. They are bottom feeding on a struggling production line so they must have gotten a better deal than that. Probably a sharp move.

    Not the best plane but not the worst. Just like American. I’ll take it over a 737 MAX as long as Dougie keeps it 2 and 2.

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