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American Airlines details plans for its 2 newest long-haul routes, Athens and Tel Aviv

Jan. 21, 2021
4 min read
American Airlines details plans for its 2 newest long-haul routes, Athens and Tel Aviv
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American Airlines is starting the year by putting two of its newest long-haul routes on sale.

The Fort Worth-based carrier confirmed to TPG that the new service from New York-JFK to both Athens (ATH) and Tel Aviv (TLV) would be available for sale beginning on Jan. 25.

On May 6, 2021, American will takeoff to Tel Aviv, marking the carrier's return to Israel since it last operated a nonstop flight there in 2016, from Philadelphia (PHL). The once-daily flight will operate year-round and will set the stage for the carrier's other new Tel Aviv route from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), which was postponed until Oct. 31, 2021.

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Roughly a month later, on June 2, American will start flying a seasonal daily flight to Athens that will operate through Oct. 30.

Both new long-haul JFK flights will be operated by a Boeing 777-200, featuring 37 seats in fully flat biz, 24 premium economy recliners, 66 extra-legroom Main Cabin Extra seats and 146 standard coach seats. Wi-Fi and seat-back entertainment will be available on all flights as well.

Tel Aviv flights will feature Kosher wines, in addition to Kosher meals available for preorder.

The new JFK flying is part of American's recently approved Northeast-focused alliance with JetBlue. The tie-up, announced last summer, is a milestone for the two carriers, who last partnered in 2014.

As part of the alliance, both American and JetBlue promised to boost connectivity in the region, with a focus on Boston and New York. JetBlue will provide much of the domestic connectivity to American's international routes from the area.

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Additionally, flyers will have access to reciprocal mileage earning and redemption benefits, though those details haven't been finalized yet. The two carriers are also working to offer status benefits for elites, regardless of which airline they fly.

Tel Aviv flying has been a bright spot for one of American's largest competitors, United. The Chicago-based carrier launched a new Israel nonstop from Chicago earlier in the pandemic, and now offers multiple weekly flights from its hubs in Newark (EWR), Chicago (ORD), San Francisco (SFO) and Washington/Dulles (IAD).

In this week's schedule update, Delta added a second daily flight from JFK to Tel Aviv for the summer season. The new frequency will be flown by the carrier's Airbus A330-900neo, sporting fully enclosed Delta One Suites and a premium economy cabin.

As such, American will face stiff competition to Israel, though it's new partnership with JetBlue should help bolster its position in the market.

For now, Israel remains closed to foreigners, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted that the country could open up by the late-March Passover holidays depending on vaccine rollout.

More: Israel: The tiny nation with a rapidly growing airline route map

Flights to Athens, on the other hand, will likely be popular among those looking for Greece vacations.

In Summer 2021, Delta is slated to fly two daily nonstop JFK to Athens flights, while Emirates and United will each fly once daily from Newark, according to Cirium schedules. Of course, timetables could change depending on vaccine rollout and worldwide COVID-19 case counts.

For its part, American flew once-daily seasonal service to Athens from Chicago (ORD) and Philadelphia (PHL) before the pandemic, and it remains to be seen if either of those will return, in addition to the new JFK flight, as demand recovers.

Schedules for the two flights are as follows, subject to government approval:

JFK - ATH 4:20 p.m. — 8:50 a.m. +1 day

ATH - JFK 11 a.m. — 3:05 p.m.

JFK - TLV 11:10 p.m. — 5:15 p.m. +1 day

TLV - JFK 12:50 a.m. — 6 a.m.

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

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

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
    Excellent/Good

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