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American Airlines has announced that it will operate three new routes between the US and Europe for the 2018 summer season but, while the airline appears to be building up its network out of Philadelphia, American’s routes out of New York JFK will soon see some serious-looking cuts.
American’s New Routes To Europe
From summer 2018 American Airlines will serve Budapest & Prague from Philadelphia (new destinations for the airline) and will also operate a service between Chicago and Venice (to go alongside the existing Philadelphia – Venice route).
- All three routes will be available for booking from 21 August
- All three routes will run from 4 May to 27 October 2018
Philadelphia – Budapest
The planned schedule:
PHL 18:25 – 09:35+1 DAY BUD (Daily 767 service)
BUD 11:35 – 16:00 PHL (Daily 767 service)
Philadelphia – Prague
The planned schedule:
PHL 18:30 – 09:05+1 DAY PRG (Daily 767 service)
PRG 11:30 – 15:10 PHL (Daily 767 service)
Chicago O’Hare – Venice
The planned schedule:
ORD 19:00 – 11:00+1 DAY VCE (Daily 787-8 service)
VCE 14:50 – 18:15 ORD (Daily 787-8 service)
Firstly it’s important to acknowledge that it’s always good news when an airline expands the list of destinations it serves so it’s great that American has added these routes….but it’s not all good news.
The new Philadelphia routes will be operated by American’s ageing 767 aircraft which are well past their prime.
The Business Class cabin may offer all-aisle seating (definitely a good thing) but, as I mentioned when I reviewed this aircraft on a trip to Milan, the seat is at best average (there isn’t enough room for a passenger’s feet when in lie-flat mode) and the fact that there’s no in-built IFE (Samsung tablets are handed out by the crew) is sub-optimal.
American Airlines 767 Business Class
The news in the Economy Class cabin isn’t good either.
The 767 offers just 31″ of legroom and a little over 17″ of seat width and, just like in the Business Class cabin, there are no personal IFE screens – passengers are expected to re-live the 1990’s by watching whatever the airline chooses to serve up on overhead monitors.
American Airlines 767 seat info per seatguru.com
The news is better for passengers on the new Chicago – Venice route….at least in the Business Class cabin.
American’s 787-8 Dreamliner features a reasonably good reverse herringbone layout and it’s considerably better than the cabin in the 767…..but it still lags behind the airlines better Business Class products – the 777-300ER, 777-200ER and the 787-9 all offer a better experience in my opinion.
American Airlines 787-8 Dreamliner Business Class seat
In Economy Class passengers get the usual American Airlines treatment….
- 31″ of legroom
- 17″ of seat width
….so as far as I’m concerned, if you can’t get an exit row/main cabin extra seat, this is a cabin to avoid if at all possible.
American Cuts JFK Routes
This news has seen a lot less press than I expected it to considering what it appears to signify.
American Airlines is set to:
- Halve the number of flights it offers between JFK and Paris (that will leave one daily flight)
- Cancel the JFK – Manchester (UK) route or, perhaps, cede the route to British Airways (its transatlantic JV partner)
- Move its flight to Zurich away from JFK and into Philadelphia
Taking this news alongside the news of the new routes out of Philly it appears almost as if American is giving up on New York and is, instead, focusing on Philadelphia as its major East Coast hub.
Philadelphia was a major hub for US Airways before it successfully took over American Airlines and it looks as if the US Airways executives (who are now running American) are happy to raise the white flag over JFK.
The big winner here will surely be Delta who now appears to be almost unchallenged on international routes out of JFK – that can’t be good news for flyers.
[HT re. JFK info: View From The Wing]