American Releases Business and First Class Award Seats to Australia! (Even 4-6 Per Flight)

Last week I wrote that American Lets Planes Go Out Mostly Empty Rather Than Letting Members Book Awards. Despite American’s new Los Angeles – Sydney flights going out mostly empty — 3/4ths empty in business class for instance, hours before flight — the airline wasn’t releasing any saver awards. Either day-of, or at any time over the course of the entire 331 day schedule. The premium cbains were going out full, occupied by nonrev travelers.

All of a sudden, with American’s revenue management folks back in the office, they’ve released some business and first class award space between now and the end of February, at least two seats per cabin per flight when available. Some dates have 4 first and 6 business class award seats.

Here’s what business class availability looks like for the most immediate flights:

And here’s February — available seats for Tuesday and Saturday departures.

First class is available, too, right away.

In fact throughout January:

Get your award seats now! The route is serviced by a Boeing 777-300ER which means business class seats are better than on Qantas, American offers inflight wifi, and this route gets an improved meal service as well (and matching Qantas, pajamas in business class).

First class receives American’s Five Star service. And on the inaugural flight December 17 American served the best wine any carrier has offered in the air (others have offered Grange before). Right now in first class I recommend the McLaren Value 2011 d’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz.

(HT: 3544quebec)

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. The timing of the release is quite interesting. I guess someone from AA didn’t like the idea that people would start writing into the DOT to oppose their joint venture with Qantas.

  2. is it possible to have one person in business and one in economy on the same award itinerary with AA? i have dates booked in economy but only have enough miles to upgrade one passenger.

  3. Nice reporting. AA reps reading your posts. They realize it is better to “sell” some seats for points then to simply give them all out as free upgrades.

  4. @Mason – No. You can’t have pax in one PNR (reservation) booked in separate cabins. You can book separate awards, but not in the same record.

  5. Great Gary! Now help us with PHL to FCO- November 16! No AA available at 50k. Must use double – 110k pp one way. It really doesn’t pay to be a loyal AA member. It’s not right.

  6. For your amusement, look at tomorrows flight seating chart LAX to SYD. Barely 50 seats taken on the whole flight and J is an empty wasteland. Never seen anything like it.

  7. Next up: How about United and all the phantom award space they show on partners? For example Dublin to LAX has been green all over their calendar for months (i’m looking at next May) but its all BS. C’mon Aer Lingus!

  8. Open availability for all of 2.5 hours before it’s gone, and I bet AA feels like they’ve been incredibly benevolent toward their members.

  9. I was looking and didn’t see anything either. Looks like they teased us for about an hour then took all the availability away. I’m still complaining to the DOT about their fraudulent marketing tactics. Either they offer saver awards or they don’t. Don’t advertise that they have them and then make zero available. It’s plain fraudulent. The only way to force a change in their policy is to complain tot he DOT and jeopardize their joint venture with Qantas.

  10. I still see some business seats in January with many more on the return and just a very few on the outbound and all within one month of the current date. They only opened up award space for close in dates and nothing at all further out. Wonder if this will be a pattern that will be repeated on a regular basis or a one time thing. If a pattern, it will be easier to get awards than on QF which is nearly impossible.

  11. Clearly this is a CYA measure in response to the “publicity” from Gary’s post and FT chatter a few days ago. Just a little “somthing” to point the regulators to if they were to nvedtigate our valid claims. This airline has become so pathetic.

  12. @Gary – know this is an older post, but at the time were you viewing availability on AA.com? Or something else?

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