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.”