Those Boeing Delays Are Forcing Big Cuts To American Airlines Flying

American Airlines is making changes to its international schedule, and they’re telling employees that it is because they’re having to plan for fewer widebody planes. Boeing delivery delays on the 787-9 aircraft that American has ordered mean they’re not going to be able to support the full schedule they’ve been selling.

As part of these changes, American is also making further adjustments to its network. This includes increasing service on some routes as well – so these changes aren’t entirely Boeing’s fault. Those service adjustments are being bundled in with bigger changes.

Aviation watchdog JonNYC shares the specific routes that American is cutting, seasons they’re shortening, and the handful of routes that will be bolstered:

I was surprised to see the second New York – Rome flight that American just added cut, and also to see summer seasons shortened on several flights. While American is cutting back their expectations for widebody deliveries, and that means having fewer planes available later in the year, broadly speaking (and even though there are winter seasonal flights to operate) flights that they’re able to fund in the summer should be easier not harder to fund in winter.

American Airlines Boeing 787

American Airlines struggled in 2023 when everyone wanted to go to Europe, and their route network was so much more domestic-focused than Delta’s and United’s. They couldn’t shift capacity over the Atlantic, because they didn’t have the planes.

New Boeing 787-9s Will Be Delivered With Business Class Suites, Credit: American Airlines

During the pandemic, American Airlines retired their full fleets of Airbus A330s, Boeing 767s, and Boeing 757s capable of those missions. (They also retired their Embraer 195s.) While they may not have been able to fully anticipate problems that Boeing would face that would impact deliveries of 787s, other carriers like United took more of a ‘wait and see’ approach to their fleet rather than rushing into retirements. They were even still paying leases on A330s they’d removed from their fleet. And, of course, American Airlines has also chosen to defer some of their 787 orders into the future as well.

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. Brain trust at AA has long been brain dead.

    They’ll spend the time installing and the ripping stuff out. And vice versa.

    Folks are already booking away because of seat back entertainment. They will still spend more money ripping them out.

  2. I wonder if lack of equipment is also related to the reconfiguration of the 773? I bet they had hoped to use the 789 to suppliment them while they were being refit with the new suites. At this point, I would seriously think about the 15 A330-200 and just getting them back into service. It might be work the expense.

    No one books based on seat back entertainment. . .especially the #$%^ system that DL has, which is usually not working, has content from 1980 and wired #$%^ headphones. Me (and many other) like using our own device, headsets and having extra space under the seat. DL isn’t any better these days then AA or UA, they just think they still are.

  3. AA decided to reduce its widebody deliveries to reduce cash flow and the Boeing delays only compound those delays.
    The routes that are being stopped after Labor Day have nothing to do with aircraft availability; the routes or flights just don’t make money.
    AA has tried to make NYC and ORD to continental Europe routes work for years and, other than peak summer when prices are sky high, that is still true.

    DFW to continental Europe makes no sense outside of the peakest period; overflying multiple hubs on flights that are as long as to Asia is not efficient.

    and United is being hit by 787 delivery delays while Delta is supposed to get 14 new Airbus widebodies this year.

    And sunviking, 2/3 of passengers on Delta flights use the seatback entertainment systems on Delta and JetBlue. Don”t try to manipulate reality because AA has made bad decisions.

  4. AA is blaming Boeing on cutting short the duration of some of their seasonal flights. For example, Jfk – Athens and Barcelona ending in September: AA has no new flights to my knowledge that launch in September, meaning they have to have the planes for those flights all summer.

    Why is AA cutting these seasons so short? Delta and United keep increasing the season length or upgauge (ie Delta adding 2x daily BCN flight from JFK), yet American does the opposite – removes service.

  5. Wow. Some surprising cuts, but a lot of this also might be due to 77Ws going in for mods which is scheduled to begin in Q4, and that means a lot of 77Es need to backfill. The JFK-FCO second frequency operated for just six weeks in Summer 2023. Cutting JFK-BCN and making it seasonal is really surprising.

    The route that makes no sense, even with the subsidies it is getting, is DFW-BNE. That one will absolutely not last more than a season.

  6. @Tim Dunn,

    DL putting a 339 on JFK-ACC is laughable. Shows it doesn’t have enough premium demand to put a plane with its most premium product, on enough routes.

  7. Africa gets average fares higher than flights that are much longer than the Pacific.

  8. @sunvining82. I do and a lot of others I know. (Book away from AA due to seatback). Families whose kids dont t all have their own phone or tablet. And I use my device for other things plus can’t trust AAs power.

    No need for an entertainment system to take up space under the seat anymore.

  9. the partial loss of production at Boeing is a very serious problem around the world. Its an embarrassment. The senior people need to be replaced asap and the number of lawyers and accountants moved out of the way and reduced. Stock price is not the top priority of Boeing, Airbus, Embraer or Bombardier. Safety is, followed by a quality product. With theses two things in place the stock price will move in the right direction. This lapse at Boeing could provide a LT opening for the Chinese C919 and the Boeing shareholders will only have themselves to blame.

  10. This blog post is missing so much critical thought it’s astonishing. Aren’t you a foremost expert in something after all?

    Tim Dunn and other commenters are on to something here but what exactly? I suppose we’ll have another winter of CLT-LAX 772 flights, oy

  11. AA has a very limited wide body fleet…minimal premium offerings…their portion of the market is what it is….not the first choice of many. These decisions have led to this …the choice of the 787 to dominate its international fleet rather than be a part of it and their cancellation of the A350 order and the lack of larger aircraft for the ultra long haul result in a product that doesn’t compete.

  12. Mark Rascio,

    As the decision to replace the 777-200ERs approaches (they will eventually be replaced), these developments put the A350 seemingly back in play at AA fleet planning over more 787s even if it isn’t the best option for the network AA has now and will probably have long haul wise once those 77Es exit the fleet.

  13. Willy,

    You probably won’t see 777s on CLT-LAX. If anything the 777-200s will backfill W’s that are going in for mods to the new premium cabins.

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