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A little over a week ago, when American was doing its very best to make everyone believe that the loss of LATAM as a partner wasn’t a big deal, the airline announced a number of new flights to South America, an extended summer season for a number of European routes, and the return of its Boston – London route.
I didn’t write about any of this at the time because, well, it didn’t really seem all that interesting and it seemed less like proper news and more like an attempt by American Airlines management to distract from the LATAM news.
It turns out I should have paid a little more attention.
American Airlines’ Boston – London Route
At the time American announced the revival of its Boston – London route the airline didn’t let us know what the schedule would look like and it also didn’t mention the aircraft that was to be used…or so I thought.
Over the weekend American Airlines opened up reservations on its revived Boston – London route and we now know that the route will relaunch on 28 March 2020 with the following schedule:
AA108 BOS 19:30 – 07:30+1 day (Daily)
AA109 LHR 09:35 – 12:35 BOS (Daily)
[HT: Routes Online]
That’s more or less what I would have expected…but what I didn’t expect was that the airline would use a Boeing 777-200 to operate this route.
British Airways (American’s transatlantic Joint Venture partner) already operates 4 daily services between Boston and London using a combination of 777, 787 and A380 aircraft so there’s no obvious shortage of capacity on this route.
With this in mind I was a little surprised that American saw a need to offer a 5th flight between Boston and London and, because I hadn’t noticed that the airline had already said that it would employ a 777, I was even more surprised to find out that it would be using one of its bigger wide-body aircraft too.
Naively, I had assumed that with all the joint venture capacity already operating between Boston and London and because American has shown very little interest in expanding operations out of Boston (unlike Delta), we’d see a narrowbody 757 or A321neo operating American’s solitary daily flight…but apparently not.
In what has to be seen as good news for American Airlines flyers, the 777-200 which is currently scheduled to operate between Boston and London Heathrow offers 37 Business Class seats and 24 Premium Economy seats so we’ll be seeing a nice increase in premium cabin seating available on this route.
As this is American Airlines that we’re talking about the increase in the number of Business Class seats on this route by no means guarantees that we’ll see any saver award inventory open up…but it should mean that there will be least a little bit of downward pressure on premium cabin cash fares.
Anyone used to flying between LA and London may find those Boston-London flight numbers familiar and that’s because they’re the flight numbers that are currently used for one of American’s two daily flights between those two cities.
From 28 March 2020 these LA-London Flights will be renumbered AA134/AA137.
I’m surprised that American Airlines feels the need to bring back its Boston – London route when BA already offers 4 daily flights between the two cities and I’m even more surprised to see the airline revive this route with a big wide-body aircraft.
Still, I’m certainly not complaining.
The more seats we see offered across the Atlantic the harder it is for airlines to fill all those seats and that’s a very good incentive for airlines not to push fares in an upwardly direction.