News: Delta Launches New Route To Africa, American Airlines Just Gets Worse & Qatar Airlines Offers Pre-Select Dining Service

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Just a few of the more important and interesting news stories I noticed from the past couple of days which could affect your travel plans – the news out of American is particularly egregious!

Delta Adds Lagos To Its JFK Network

American Airline recently raised the white flag over JFK in its latest schedule update when it added more international routes to its Philadelphia hub and cancelled a few out of JFK…and Delta just gets stronger.

Delta already offers a non-stop service to Lagos from its Atlanta home (probably one of the reasons Lagos was the standout city that wasn’t subject to the electronics ban) and now it’s adding a second way to fly to the Nigerian capital from the US.

a plane taking off from a runwayDelta A330 – Image Nicky Boogaard via Flickr

From 24 March 2018 Delta will offer a 3x/week service between New York JFK and Lagos on the following schedule:

DL415 JFK 22:59 – 14:15+1 day LOS (Mon, Wed, Fri)
DL215 LOS 23:15 – 05:30+1 day JFK (Tue, Thu, Sun)

The airline will operate the route using its Airbus A330-200 aircraft offering:

  • 34 Delta One (Business Class) seats
  • 32 Delta Comfort+ seats
  • 168 Economy Class seats

American Airlines Just Gets Worse

Hilary Clinton may have made a serious miss-step when she coined the phrase “basket of deplorables” but I’m starting to wonder if any major airline is worthy of that moniker more than American – the airline simply can’t stop cutting back on what it offers.

Ordinarily when an airline cuts its offering it does so for the passengers that it cares about least – the ones who don’t spend the big bucks – but this time American has gone the other way.

From 30 August 2017 (thanks for the 9 days notice American!) American Airlines will be removing benefits from passengers paying for full-fare Economy Class tickets.

Yes, you read that correctly. American Airlines will be taking away benefits from passengers who, in a lot of cases, will have bought the most expensive tickets on the flight.

Per American [HT: VFTW]

For travel ticketed in booking code Y on or after August 30, 2017, you’ll no longer get complimentary Main Cabin Extra or Preferred seats. This includes AAnytime awards booked in Main Cabin.

That’s just staggering.

Here’s a seat plan of a Boeing 757 showing the Main Cabin Extra and Preferred seats that will now cost extra (“P” indicates a seat that will cost more – click to enlarge):

a diagram of a testSeat map courtesy of

Row 30 is a “preferred” seat!

Passengers who pay for full-fare tickets are exactly the sort of customers American Airlines wants and needs and yet here we have the airline giving those passengers a very good reason to book elsewhere.

If you have status with American Airlines it appears to trump this truly idiotic rule (who knows how long that will last) but this still means that those looking to, perhaps, try out American for the first time and who are paying a LOT of money to sit in a cramped Economy Class will be asked to pay even more just to select a vaguely acceptable seat (preferred seats don’t all offer extra leg room and they aren’t all towards the front of the cabin either!).

I knew we’d see some low shots from incoming management when US Airways took over American Airlines but this is the lowest (and possibly the dumbest) yet.

Qatar Airways Rolls Out “Pre-Select Dining”

Qatar Airways is upping its game a little by allowing passengers in First and Business Class to pre-select a main course from the à la carte on-board menu up to 14 days in advance.

a person holding a plate of foodImage – Qatar Airways

This new service will initially be offered on select routes (more on those below) but I suspect that this will eventually be rolled out system-wide.

Routes offering Pre-Select Dining:

  • Flights to/from Europe over 5 hours long
  • Flights to/from North America
  • Flights to/from South America
  • Flights to/from Australia and New Zealand
  • Flights to/from Guangzhou and Bangkok

Selecting a meal should be easy as passengers simply need to log in to the “My Trips” section and order the meal from there.

I have yet to travel on a Qatar Airways Business Class flight where my first choice of meal wasn’t available (if on that were the case on British Airways and American) but this will still give passengers a chance to guarantee that what they really want is what they’ll actually get.