American to fly from Seattle to Bangalore and London
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Seattle is not a hub for American Airlines, but it will soon be home to one of the carrier’s highest-profile international routes.
American plans to begin flying from Seattle/Tacoma (SEA) to the technology hub of Bangalore (BLR), an 8,078-mile route that would return the carrier to India for the first time since 2012. Service would be on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and begin in October of this year.
American did not give a specific start date for the service, but said it expected tickets for the route to go on sale by the end of February. The flights would be the first ever to operate nonstop between Seattle and Bangalore and would become the second-longest in American’s network, based on the carrier’s current schedule.
Bangalore is just one of two new international routes that American intends to add from Seattle. Next up: London Heathrow (LHR). The airline plans to begin serving Heathrow from Seattle in March 2021, operating the route with Boeing 777 wide-bodies. American’s flights would be in addition to the existing London-Seattle service already offered by Oneworld partner British Airways.
American’s decision to add long-haul international routes from Seattle come as it and Alaska Airlines unveiled plans Thursday for a new “West Coast international alliance.” The tie-up — which must gain regulatory approval — would be part of a renewed codeshare pact between the airlines and a move by Alaska Airlines to join the Oneworld frequent-flyer alliance that already counts American as one of its pillar members.
The alliance would allow Alaska Airlines to feed connecting passengers to the American’s new international flights via its Seattle hub. For American, the feed from Alaska should help it support the Bangalore and London flights from a city where it otherwise flies only to its domestic hubs.
“India is a grossly underserved market, despite the number of businesses with a major presence in both India and the West Coast,” Vasu Raja, American’s senior vice president of network strategy, said in a statement announcing the routes. “By adding Seattle to Bangalore, we’re giving customers from more than 70 U.S. cities access to India in one stop or less — versus the two, three or four stops they’d have to make to get there in the past.”
Also included in the pact is Los Angeles, where American and Alaska each operate hubs. As in Seattle, American hopes to tap Alaska’s presence in Los Angeles to help funnel more traffic to its existing network of overseas flights, with Raja adding that “beginning West Coast international service from Seattle will complement American’s strong existing international network from LAX.”
For Alaska, being able to connect its own passengers to a close partner’s international flights will help it expand the portfolio of destinations it can offer as it tries to win lucrative corporate contracts in its home market of Seattle, reports TPG’s Ned Russell.
“This alliance further opens the world for Alaska Airlines guests, whether traveling for business or pleasure,” Andrew Harrison, Alaska’s chief commercial officer, added in the carriers’ joint statement. “And importantly for our employees, and the communities we serve, this West Coast international alliance enables Alaska’s continued independent growth.”
Perhaps just as importantly, the proposed alliance between Alaska and American could also help each against rival Delta, which has gained competitive traction against the pair after being at the center of failed pacts for the other two.
Alaska was once a close partner of Delta, funneling passengers to Delta’s international flights from Seattle much in the same way Alaska now plans to do with American. That partnership unraveled in the early 2010s, with Delta slowly adding its own domestic network in Seattle before declaring it an outright hub in 2014. That move put it into direct competition with its one-time partner on dozens of routes.
In South America, American was dropped by longtime partner LATAM Airlines in favor of Delta after Delta bought a stake in the South American giant. As part of the move, LATAM said it would sever ties with American and leave Oneworld, sending shockwaves through the aviation industry. While partnering with Alaska won’t help American in South America, it does bolster the standing of its Oneworld alliance in the U.S. market. It also gives American ties to a partner that’s a major player along the West Coast, where rivals Delta and United have a larger region-wide presence.
Featured photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.