American Suspends Los Angeles – Auckland Flight Effective March 23

Back in April we learned that American Airlines service to Auckland would become seasonal. From the outset it was clear that Auckland was simply getting too much capacity from the US with new flights not only from LA on American but also San Francisco on United and Houston on Air New Zealand.

    “Bayswater Marina Auckland New Zealand” by Bayswater marina, Creative Commons

The announcement at the time was that American would suspend service from August 5 through October 4, 2017. And beginning October 5 they’d switch from a Boeing 787-8 to a 787-9 for the route.

However what was once a suspension from August through October for 2017 now expands to a suspension from April through October for 2018. American Airlines tells me that the flight is slated to return October 30, 2018 operated by a Boeing 787-9.

American Airlines Boeing 787-9 Business Class

From March 23, 2018 onward Los Angeles – Auckland, and March 25, 2018 onward Auckland – Los Angeles — while still on the schedule — appears to have all inventory zeroed out (or on occasional flights, showing one business and/or one premium economy seat for sale yet those seats don’t seem to sell through). They’re in the process of removing the flight from the schedule.

Not only is US-Auckland capacity beyond what’s reasonable based on economics of the route (United and American seem to be doing exactly what they complain about Etihad, Emirates, and Qatar doing and argue is illegal) but American has not yet had its joint venture with Qantas approved by the Trump Administration (they had been informed the Obama administration would not approve it). They’ve argued the success of the route relies on anti-trust immunity to coordinate schedules and pricing with Qantas.

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. Why should the govt. worry about American or United flying to AKL? If the route proves unable to produce a profit with either passengers and cargo or both the carrier will end service on their own terms. The govt. should be thrilled that QF is willing to a joint venture with a USA based carrier. The venture brings or keeps jobs and adds revenue to an US owned company, what is wrong with that.

    There are more important things to worry about, just sign the agreement and keep’m flying!

  2. The LAX-SYD AA flight was only half filled 3 of the last 4 times I flew that route. What’s the word on that flight staying on the schedule – or is it doing better lately?

  3. I’m scheduled to fly late may – biz saaver award – 4 tickets. What are my options now / what is likely to happen?

  4. Gary, the article confuses me. I was already aware that AA will not operate LAX-AKL (early) August, 2017 to (early) October, 2017. Are you saying that is still the case, and in addition AA will not operate LAX-AKL April, 2018 through October, 2018?

    It’s the following sentence that is really tripping me up. “However what was once a suspension from August through October for 2017 now expands to a suspension from April through October for 2018.”

    You wrote, what was once a suspension, which implies that suspension no longer exists. Then you use expand instead of in addition or added, which implies the suspension has expanded from August, 2017 through to October, 2018.

    Lastly, why not just “white list” the actual dates of operation? AA will fly LAX-AKL October X, 2017 to April X, 2018, and October X, 2018 to end of schedule, presumably to April X, 2019?

    I suspect this is a lot of words to simply say AA will not fly LAX-AKL during low season, the New Zealand winter.

    Sorry for the rant. I feel better now.

  5. Let me rephrase – heading LAX-AKL-BNE-CNS

    Would they put us on the Brisbane flight? Will we keep our biz class seats?

  6. I was on MIA-LAX-AKL 9/6 w/ same return. My trans-Pacific segments’ upgrades had cleared. They rerouted me …LAX-SYD-AKL & return on AA J to/from LAX. Originally they put me in QF Y on the trans-Tasman flights SYD-AKL, but I protested that I was already ticketed in J, so they put me in J on those flights, too. I would think this route could be a win for OW as it’s nice to have a OW option direct to NZ. (I have flown AKL-SCL-MIA, too).

  7. @gary – Where can I find that “Special considerations” box on I have a SYD-AKL-LAX Biz award (I’d of course rather fly SYD-LAX direct if possible). Thanks!

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