News: Air France Flys To The Maldives, Etihad Cancels A US Route & A New Air China Route To US

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A roundup of some of the news stories I’ve noticed over the past week that didn’t really merit a post of their own but that could be of interest anyway. These include Air France commencing service to the Maldives (and with good Business Class seats!), Air China adding a new non-stop route to the US West Coast and Etihad pulling out of another US market.

Etihad Drops Service To Dallas

You can probably file this under things that aren’t really all that surprising but Etihad will be “suspending” (a.k.a cancelling) its service between Abu Dhabi and Dallas Ft. Worth from 25 March 2018.

The scheduled service currently operates on this schedule….

EY161 AUH 09:20 – 15:50 DFW (Daily)
EY160 DFW 19:05 – 20:00 AUH (Daily)

…but 25 March will be the last day this route is offered.

Etihad Business Class 777-300

Two things are in play here:

  1. American Airlines recently canceled its codesharing agreement with Etihad so there’s no big reason for the airline to fly to DFW anymore.
  2. Etihad is cutting costs all over the place right now and I can’t see this route as ever having been all that great for the airline…and it’s now even worse with no AA codeshare.

Proof of this comes in the statement Etihad issued alongside the news of the route suspension:

The unfortunate decision by American Airlines to terminate a commercial relationship that benefited both carriers has left Etihad with no choice but to suspend flights between our Abu Dhabi home and Dallas/Fort Worth.

The fact of the matter is that we’ve already seen Etihad reduce service to Los Angeles for Winter 2017/18, as of 29 October the airline no longer serves San Francisco at all, it scrapped complimentary chauffeur service for First & Business Class passengers at the beginning of summer and, as of the beginning of October, it has devalued the Etihad Guest program – this isn’t a healthy airline.

Etihad has made a series of bad bets on other airlines in recent years (think airberlin and Alitalia just for a start) and it’s now feeling the pinch – expect more route “suspensions” and cost cutting announcements before this year is out.

Air France Now Offers Service To The Maldives

Image Courtesy of Air France

As of 1 November 2017 Air France now offers a twice weekly service between Paris and the Maldives on the following schedule:

AF222 CDG 20:55 – 10:45+1 day MLE (Wed & Sat)
AF223 MLE 12:30 – 19:20 CDG (Thu & Sun)

So why it this interesting?

Well, apart from the fact that the more options we have to the Maldives the more downward pressure there will be on fares, Air France will be operating its 777-200 aircraft on this route.

Air France’s Airbus A380 aircraft may offer premium cabins that are hopelessly out of date but their 777 aircraft offer a very nice Business Class product indeed.

Air France 777 Business Class – Image Courtesy of Air France

If the cost of Business Class is too high (in points or in cash) there’s also the option of the airline’s latest premium Economy product which offers seats with 38″ of legroom and 19″ of width.

In Economy Class things are both ok and not ok. The seats offer 32″ of legroom which, by today’s standards, isn’t bad….but they’re also only 17″ wide which is tight.

Air China Will Fly Between Shenzhen & Los Angeles Non-Stop

Air China has announced that it will launch a new non-stop service between Shenzhen and Los Angeles from 7 December 2017.

The airline’s latest route will be operated by its 787-9 Dreamliners offering Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy Class options.

The schedule as currently published is as follows:

CA769 SZX 23:30 – 20:00 LAX (Mon, Thu & Sat)
CA770 LAX 22:50 – 05:40+2 days SZX (Mon, Thu & Sat)

Air China operates its 787-9 aircraft with 30 Business Class seats but it doesn’t offer an all-aisle-access cabin – the seats are set out in a 2-2-2 formation.

There is a premium Economy product on offer too – 34 seats offering up to 38″ of leg room and 19″ of seat width.

Air China is a member of the Star Alliance so you can use United Miles to book Business Class awards at 80,000 miles one-way (+ taxes and fees).