CONFIRMED: American Airlines Launching Los Angeles – Hong Kong (Cat’s Out of the Bag)

I had heard back in November or December that a route announcement for Los Angeles – Hong Kong was imminent. So I was surprised that when they made their big splash about growth at LAX they didn’t announce the service then.

American has focused on Los Angeles for building up its Pacific route network. They recently added a Sydney flight (with an improved inflight service). They’re adding Auckland, New Zealand. And they’re adding Tokyo Haneda service. And those are all international routes that face competition.

Last night American put Hong Kong service up on their website in error, and quickly pulled it down.

I asked American spokesperson Casey Norton, and he confirmed the service.

As for LAX-HKG, the answer is yes. Guess we can’t keep quiet when it comes to great news for travel to Asia.

We’ll have more details with a formal announcement later.

The American website indicated service would begin September 7. Interestingly according to Flyertalk the website also listed Los Angeles – Osaka service although that would be news to me (and could be a mistake reflecting service from American’s joint venture partner Japan Airlines which operates a daily Boeing 787 on that route).

Hong Kong makes tremendous sense if only for aircraft utilization reasons.

American flies Dallas – Hong Kong with a Boeing 777-300ER featuring fully flat direct aisle access business class seats and a new first class product. The planes are equipped with inflight internet. And it’s a premium enough route that they actually sell first class and not just business.


American Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

American isn’t utilizing their aircraft effectively with the single roundtrip. The flight arrives in Hong Kong at 6pm, the aircraft overnights, and doesn’t depart Hong Kong until 2:30pm the next day.

By adding LAX – Hong Kong service they can perform the flight by adding just a single Boeing 777-300ER and improving utilization of the existing aircraft in Hong Kong.

oneworld partner Cathay Pacific already flies Los Angeles – Hong Kong non-stop with 3 daily flights and a fourth flight that operates 5 times a week. American codeshares on those flights. But the two airlines aren’t revenue-sharing joint venture partners. American will be competing with Cathay.

They actually offer a very similar business class product. If they upgrade their meal service like they’ve done with Los Angeles – Sydney and perhaps add pajamas into business class as with the Sydney flight, the competitive advantage of inflight internet could give American the edge over Cathay flying business. Cathay, of course, has the far better first class product.


Cathay Pacific First Class flying Los Angeles – Hong Kong

American’s new Los Angeles – Hong Kong flight is not yet loaded and available for booking.

Update 10:15am Eastern: regarding Osaka service listed at AA.com, Casey Norton adds “There are no plans for that route at this time.”

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 point about the internet on AA is an excellent one. All things being equal, I would choose CX every time, but its stressful to be disconnected for such a long chunk of time — especially on a flight that leaves the US during the daytime — and I might choose AA because of this.

    I really don’t know what CX is thinking when it comes to the total lack of internet. They don’t even seem to be trying in this area.

  2. That’s great news, possibly. I wonder how award availability will compare with CX in premium cabins, especially in miles charged in F and J. CX awards are available on AAdvantage right now, and will be interesting to see if AA proposes screwing their award customers like they are royally doing now on Australia-US routes.

  3. AA needs 3 planes to operate the DFW HKG route

    Even if th plane would make a direct turn around they would need 3 planes

    DFW HKG is blocked at 17H05

    HKG DFW is blocked at 14H55

    Total hours in the air 32

  4. Correction

    A direct turn around would require 2 planes

    Currently they need 3 planes with the ground stop

  5. It would be nice if AA had connections to other cities in Asia from NRT or HKG. AA seems to be pretty weak in Asia except for a handful of direct flights.

  6. @Dov-

    What Gary is implying is that the plane that arrives from HKG at 6pm could be turned around to fly the HKG>LAX leg at, say, 10pm (or whatever). The LAX>HKG flight that arrives at say 10am could be turned around to fly the HKG>DFW leg at 2:00pm. Times are totally theoretical, but what AA is doing is not having an empty plane on the ground for 16 hours because the aircraft ping pongs between US destinations.

  7. Now if only they would improve the quality of the LAX Flagship Lounge food. It is truly atrocious.

  8. Just take the terminal connector to TBIT and go to the OW lounge which is worlds better than the AA Flagship lounge in T4.

  9. @Garry @Scott P

    I was replying to an earlier version of this post which said that AA is currently using 2 aircrafts for the DFW HKG DFW route

    Garry was the post edited ?

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