American Airlines Schedules New Shanghai Service From Seattle

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Back in July, American Airlines announced plans to move the service it operated between Los Angeles and Shanghai to Seattle and, subject to government approval, that’s what American Airways has done. The route is now in the schedules and is open for reservations.

Los Angeles has long been a key hub for American Airlines, but the airline made it very clear in July that it would no longer be using LAX as a transpacific hub and, instead, would be focusing its efforts on Seattle where it has a new alliance with Alaska Airlines. Because of this change in emphasis, Los Angeles is set to lose its American Airlines flights to Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo (heading south) and its American Airlines flights to Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai (heading across the Pacific) and, although we have yet to see solid plans in place for the other routes, we now have details of what American’s service between Shanghai and Seattle will look like.

From 27 March 2021, American Airlines plans to operate a daily service between Seattle and Shanghai on the following schedule:

AA183 SEA 12:50 – 16:25+1 day PVG (Daily)
AA182 PVG 18:25 – 15:10 SEA (Daily)

The route is set to be operated by American’s 777-200 aircraft which means that the route will not offer a First Class cabin, but that it will offer a very good Business Class cabin with all-aisle-access seating (36 seats) a Premium Economy cabin (24 seats) and an Economy Class cabin with 146 seats (of which 66 are classified as “main cabin extra” seats).

If you head over to the American Airlines website you’ll find that these flights are now available to be booked (they’re not cheap!), but the booking page comes with the warning that the flights are still “subject to government/regulatory approval” (this should be nothing more than a rubber-stamping exercise).

a row of seats in an airplane
American Airlines 777-200 Business Class (select aircraft)


The battle for Seattle is going to be interesting to one to watch because Delta’s recently released plans for its transpacific operations in the coming winter and summer seasons indicate that it has no interest in ceding control of Seattle to American and Alaska Airlines. The airline already operates two flights per week between Seattle and Shanghai (although these currently route via Seoul) and it plans to be operating a daily service between the two cities by the time American starts operations in March.

The more I think about it the more I wonder how American Airlines plans to turn it’s Seattle – Shanghai service into the success it needs it to be. The airline doesn’t have much of a presence of its own in Seattle so it will be relying heavily on Alaska Airlines to funnel in passengers via its West Coast network, but with Delta planning to continue operating its non-stop Los Angeles – Shanghai service in summer 2021 and with United Airlines operating a non-stop San San Francisco – Seattle service in summer 2021, where are all of the connecting customers going to come from? And why would anyone choosing to connect in Seattle choose American over Delta? Delta has newer aircraft and a better Business Class product (on this route) and it’s Business Class passengers that make or break routes such as this one.

Delta has the luxury of already having a significant base of operations in Seattle that can be fed by its US-wide network, while American’s operations in Seattle are comparatively small and its feeder network is very West-Coast heavy. I’m sure American’s route planning department has thought all of this through (and they’re in a far better position than me to comment on the likelihood of this routes success) but I’m genuinely struggling to understand how American will make Seattle – Shanghai work.

New Delta One Suite
The Delta One Suite that Delta offers in Business Class on all of its international routes from Seattle

Bottom Line

American Airlines has scheduled its planned new service between Seattle and Shanghai for March 2021 and flights are now bookable online. The airline will be going head-to-head with Delta on this route (and probably other routes out of Seattle too) so it will be interesting to watch how things play out in the North West.

Featured image courtesy of Jonathan Miske


  1. Here is my question regarding AA’s plans for long haul expansion at SEATAC there is no room, what gates are they going to use? S gates ? Marginal amenities for flyers, no real club the one there is old and lame. Are they going to use N gates where there is a real lounge and amenities for the passengers. 777-200 is getting long in the tooth as well.

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