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American Airlines scraps its longest Tel Aviv route in surprise move

Jan. 06, 2023
4 min read
American Airlines scraps its longest Tel Aviv route in surprise move
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In a surprising turn of events, American Airlines is making a big adjustment to its long-haul network.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier is pulling out of the Miami-to-Tel Aviv market effective March 24, as confirmed by a carrier spokesperson.

The flights will be pulled from American’s schedule this weekend, and the carrier will reach out to affected customers with rebooking options once the schedule change is posted.

The 6,603-mile flight was the airline’s longest route from its Miami hub, and it launched in June 2021. American originally flew the route on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the eastbound direction using a 273-seat Boeing 777-200.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

The service was so successful that the airline upgraded the route to daily service on Oct. 28, 2022, roughly 16 months after it first launched. The route is now flown by a smaller 234-seat Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, but the daily frequency brought a big capacity boost to the market.

"The initial reception was very strong, but it has actually grown that much more. That is the principal driver of us going to daily service," explained Juan Carlos Liscano, American's vice president of the Miami hub, in an interview with ABC10 News about the upgraded service.

Yet now, just three months later, American is doing a 180 and canceling the route entirely. When asked for an explanation, a carrier spokesperson shared the following statement.

As part of the continuous evaluation of our network, American Airlines has made the difficult decision to discontinue its Miami (MIA) – Tel Aviv (TLV) service effective March 24, 2023. We will continue to operate daily service to Tel Aviv from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK). We’re proactively reaching out to customers affected by these changes to offer alternate travel arrangements.

Unfortunately, American isn't providing much of an explanation for this cut, aside from its usual "continuous evaluation of our network" talking point.

That's likely to irk some travelers who booked this flight with the confidence that it would continue to operate on a daily basis — especially when an executive was so publicly bullish about its prospects.

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When American cuts the flight from Miami to Tel Aviv, it'll cede all nonstop traffic to Israeli flag carrier El Al, which operates between three and four weekly frequencies in the market using Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Cirium schedules show.

That said, American isn't exiting the Tel Aviv station entirely. As mentioned above, the carrier will continue to fly there on a daily basis from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Before the JFK flight launched, American hadn't flown to Tel Aviv since January 2016, when it flew there from Philadelphia. In addition to the JFK service, the airline was planning to connect Dallas-Fort Worth and Miami with Israel.

Going from no flights to service from three hubs might seem extreme, but Brian Znotins, American's vice president of network planning, explained the rationale behind each one to TPG back in February 2021.

While there was lots of talk, American never moved forward to launching the Dallas-Fort Worth flight, canceling it in May 2022 before it even launched.

And now, with the elimination of the Miami service, American will be left with just one flight from the U.S. to Israel.

That contrasts pretty starkly against the recent moves from American's big domestic competitors. Delta plans to relaunch flights from Atlanta to Tel Aviv earlier than planned on March 26, and it launched new service from Boston last summer. Delta continues to fly to Tel Aviv from New York, too.

Meanwhile, United continues to boost service to Israel, with expanded connectivity from Chicago (four weekly flights) and San Francisco (upgraded to a Boeing 777-300ER) filed in last weekend's schedule update.

United also flies to Tel Aviv from Newark and Washington, D.C.

Featured image by ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY
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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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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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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  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
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  • 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