American Airlines Gives Up on Serving China From Chicago

Jun 28, 2019

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.

American Airlines is giving up on serving China from Chicago O’Hare for the time being, returning its rights for flights to Beijing and Shanghai to US regulators.

The Oneworld Alliance carrier returned the 14 frequencies it holds for flights to the Chinese cities from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to the Department of Transportation on Friday (June 28), it said in a regulatory filing.

“Despite American’s efforts, American is unable to resume its two services in the near future,” the company says.

American suspended service on both routes in October 2018 citing sizable financial losses.

“The two China routes… have been colossal loss makers for us,” Vasu Raja, American’s vice president of network and schedule planning, said last year about the then-suspension of the Chicago routes to Beijing and Shanghai.

The DOT allowed American to hold onto the sought-after frequencies in February, despite objections from Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. With all of the flights to Beijing and Shanghai available to US carriers allocated, Delta and United argued that the regulator should not allow American to hold onto its idled frequencies.

Related: The Best Credit Cards for Airline Lounge Access

The airline told the the DOT in November 2018 that it planned to resume the China flights from Chicago in the future, citing the opening of the new Beijing Daixing airport later this year as a possible opportunity.

Delta said at the time it wanted to begin a new flight between Minneapolis/St Paul and Shanghai while United proposed a second daily flight between Newark Liberty and Shanghai.

The return of American’s 14 China frequencies, enough for two daily round-trip flights, could allow Delta and United to reapply to the DOT for their proposed Shanghai flights.

Related: China Eastern: Reviews, Deals, News & Guides

American continues to serve Beijing and Shanghai from both Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles, according to Diio by Cirium schedules.

In addition, Chicago continues to boast competition to both Beijing and Shanghai. United flies both routes while China Eastern Airlines offers service between Chicago O’Hare and Shanghai, the data shows. Additionally, Hainan Airlines flies between Chicago O’Hare and Beijing.

American plans to grow capacity by roughly 2.5% in 2019, with the majority of that focused on its Dallas/Fort Worth hub.

Featured photo by

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, 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.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • 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®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • 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
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.