I had a dream last night that American Airlines was on the verge of announcing that all of their international flights would either offer either:
- 3 business class award seats, or
- 2 first class award seats
The rule was going to be that each aircraft’s forward cabin would guarantee to offer some premium cabin award space.
American Airlines Boeing 787 Business Class
I woke up ready to blog about this, and talk about how it’s similar to the move that British Airways made with their huge 2015 devaluation, guaranteeing at least 2 business and 4 economy seats per flight that year when schedules loaded, and United’s guarantee that ‘every flight to every destination’ would have award seats when they devalued in 2006.
American had promised a year ago that we’d be seeing more transatlantic and transpacific business class award availability (right away) but that hasn’t happened, outside of momentary glitches or dumps of space that are removed as quickly as they appeared. And of course the change was just a dream.
I woke up and things were… the new normal.
Since American’s award search calendar is broken (and has been for months), you can’t search for American flights only anymore. So if you want to see what availability looks like on American’s flights and not British Airways flights then you need to search non-stop availability on routes that BA doesn’t serve. That rules out most of American’s London Heathrow routes and it rules out New York – Paris.
There is not one single business class award seat from today through end of schedule, eleven months, on:
- Raleigh Durham – London Heathrow
- Dallas – Madrid
- Dallas – Paris
- Dallas – Hong Kong
- Los Angeles – Sydney
- New York JFK – Milan
Not a single business class saver seat. And this isn’t “cherry picking” routes, these are the first routes I selected at random.
American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER Business Class
I don’t want to suggest there’s literally no business class award space on American metal, just very little. For instance searching the entire year New York JFK – Barcelona had a business class award seat on May 13, 30; June 3, 10, 18, 24, 25, 30, 31; November 24, 25, 26 (12 out of 331 days).
Thank goodness for secret partner Jet Airways.
American used to offer the best award availability of any US airline. Now it offers the worst. To some extent the change began before the US Airways merger. As American brought new business class products into the fleet they became careful with availability. I expected things to worsen with the merger because US Airways was always tight-fisted with awards, though the one unique thing about US Airways was that they were generous with domestic first class awards — and American is no longer even good there.