In June American Airlines is operating an average of 40 flights a day out of Austin, including flights on its regional partners.
Austin destinations with American now include Boston, Charlotte, Dallas Fort-Worth, New York JFK, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, Miami, Nassau, Chicago O’Hare, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Cabo, Tampa, Aspen, Nashville, Fort Walton Beach and New Orleans.
They’ll be adding Raleigh and Washington Dulles service later this summer, too. And that doesn’t count flights on partners Alaska or on JetBlue (where AAdvantage members can also now earn miles). We’ll see British Airways service to London again as well.
Before the pandemic American was looking at marginal adds of non-hub routes in Austin – Boston, San Jose, and weekend Cabo service – to augment its flights to hubs. However with the rise of leisure travel and a need to find spots to fly with business travel still grounded they aggressively added new destinations from Austin.
For years Austin has been one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the country, tracking the city’s growth more generally. This growth has continued – Austin isn’t just UT Austin and Dell Computers, it’s Google, Facebook, Apple, and Tesla now. It’s Oracle, Facebook, Indeed, Amazon, VRBO and eBay. And it’s startups like Eterneva which is disrupting both the diamond and grieving industries.
And Austin has been a strong market for American Airlines, with existing corporate contracts and customer loyalty. While Delta has made splashes with its fancy new Sky Club and American has consistently put off renovation and expansion of their lounge, American’s Admirals Club agents are the best in their entire system and generate a lot of that loyalty.
What’s interesting is that two things are happening simultaneously with a third unintended result,
- American is adding new Austin destinations
- Leisure travel is growing generally with planes full
And that’s led to passengers turning Austin into a connecting hub on their own either because connecting itineraries through Austin in a given instance are less expensive or because they can’t get their normal connections at all or at least at a reasonable price.
For Tuesday, the day after Memorial Day, American expected a 97.6% load factor for its Austin flights. This was substantially helped by connecting traffic such as:
- 14 passengers on a single flight connecting between Las Vegas and Miami
- 27 passengers on a single flight connecting between Miami and Dallas
- 47 passengers on a single flight connecting between Las Vegas and Orlando
- 21 passengers on a single flight connecting between Las Vegas and New Orleans
- 15 passengers on a single flight connecting between Las Vegas and Nashville
- 18 passengers on a single flight connecting between Los Angeles and Miami
- 18 passengers on a single flight connecting between Phoenix and Miami
- 16 passengers on a single flight connecting between Nashville and Los Angeles
- 42 passengers on a single flight connecting between Miami and Los Angeles
- 10 passengers on a single flight connecting between Dallas and Phoenix
- 10 passengers on a single flight connecting between Dallas and Las Vegas
- 14 passengers on a single flight connecting between Orlando and Las Vegas
LA-Miami is actually a reasonable 40 minute connection in Austin, and Austin is a much easier and quicker city to connect in than Phoenix, Chicago, Charlotte or Dallas. It’s only natural that customers would ‘make their own connecting hub’ in Austin. And it serves as a great reliever when bad weather hits North Texas, since DFW ‘Doesn’t Function Wet’.
Now if only American would relax its standby policy so that customers could take advantage of its numerous official – and unofficial! – hubs, and allow customers to change their routing when they try to get onto another flight without having that change confirmed in advance.