American Airlines adds 2 Washington routes as new DCA concourse nears completion

Mar 9, 2021

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 busy tweaking its Washington flying.

The Fort Worth-based carrier will add two new flights from Washington National (DCA) as it looks to capture leisure-focused travelers looking for an outdoor-friendly escape.

The carrier confirmed to TPG that it’s launching new flights from DCA to Asheville, North Carolina (AVL), and Orlando/Melbourne, Florida (MLB). The former begins on June 3 and runs through Sept. 7 and will be flown daily by American Eagle partner PSA Airlines on a 76-seat CRJ-900.

Stay up-to-date on airline and aviation news by signing up for our brand-new aviation newsletter.

Service to MLB technically represents a route resumption for the carrier. American last flew the 769-mile flight in September 2019, according to Cirium schedules.

PSA Airlines will fly once-weekly flights from DCA to MLB on Saturdays from June 5 through Sept. 4. with the CRJ-900, outfitted with 12 first-class recliners and 64 coach seats.

MLB service complements AA’s existing service to Orlando’s primary airport, MCO. Cirium schedules show that American plans four daily flights in each direction between DCA and MCO from May 2021 through the end of the year, all operated by mainline aircraft.

Both Asheville and Melbourne present flyers with a host of socially distant activities.

While the Orlando/Melbourne airport is a considerable distance from Orlando’s famed theme parks, it’s located on central Florida’s Space Coast, within an earshot of beaches and golf courses. Asheville is popular for the Biltmore Estate, a vibrant arts scene, nearby hiking and nature walks. It’s one of the primary airports for those looking to visit the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

With demand for business routes, like DCA to New York or Boston, down significantly during the pandemic, American is working to capture business from pandemic-weary travelers looking for a vacation.

In addition to pivoting flying to leisure-focused destinations, the DCA boost is perfectly timed with the airport’s new concourse that’s slated for a soft opening in April. The new 14-gate terminal will replace the universally-hated Gate 35X, which previously served as a bus stand for small regional jets.

American’s regional flights will shift to the new concourse once it opens, and the new DCA flights are timed perfectly with the first major milestone in the airport’s $1 billion Project Journey capital improvement program. (Amex will also open a brand-new Centurion Lounge once the project’s completed.)

It wasn’t immediately clear which slots American plans to use for the new DCA flights, but the carrier’s reduced pandemic schedules likely make it easy to shift slots around.

Related: Take a peek inside American’s new concourse at its Washington D.C. hub

Of the Big 3 U.S. airlines, American has been one of the fastest in boosting leisure-focused flights, including launching new service to two new cities: Eureka, California (ACV) and Idaho Falls, Idaho (IDA).

Over the weekend, the carrier added new summer frequencies to airports in Puerto Rico, Mexico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, from four major hubs — Charlotte (CLT), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Miami (MIA).

This joins recently launched flights from Phoenix to the carrier’s 27th destination in Mexico, Culiacan (CUL), as well as flights from Austin (AUS) to Orlando (MCO).

Featured photo by PlanespotterA320/Wikimedia Commons

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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.

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®. 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.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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.