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American to fly from Seattle to Bangalore and London

Feb. 13, 2020
5 min read
American to fly from Seattle to Bangalore and London
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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.

Main story: 'Alaska goes global' with Oneworld membership, renewed American Airlines pact

FAQs: How will the American, Alaska and Oneworld partnership affect you

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.”

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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.

More:The 10 longest (and 10 shortest) American Airlines flights

Featured image by NurPhoto via Getty Images

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
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4 / 5
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Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees