American Airlines will be the first to bring back its longest flight

May 29, 2020

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American Airlines is the first of the major U.S. carriers to restart its longest route.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen airlines make drastic cuts to both domestic and international routes. Domestic travel is slowly starting to pick up now, so it’s no surprise that the airlines have in turn resumed flying some of their most premium routes.

But it’s been different story for long-haul international travel. The big 3 U.S. carriers plan to just fly 40 such routes in June as travel restrictions remain in place in many countries.

But there’s one route resumption that’s slated for July that’s caught our eye, and it’s the return of the American’s service from Dallas (DFW) to Hong Kong (HKG). At over 8,100 miles, this has been the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier’s longest route.

As of July 10, the route will operate three times weekly on Sundays, Mondays and Fridays in the westbound direction, an American spokesperson confirmed. Specifically, the schedule is as follows:

  • DFW — HKG on Sunday, Monday and Friday
    • AA 125 10:30 a.m. — 4:10 p.m. (next day)
  • HKG — DFW on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday
    • AA 126 2:20 p.m. — 4:55 p.m.

The route will be flown by AA’s top flagship jet — the Boeing 777-300ER, which is configured in a four-cabin arrangement with first, business, premium economy and coach. In fact, it’s the only widebody plane to feature a true Flagship First cabin in the carrier’s fleet.

American’s Boeing 777-300ER (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Before the coronavirus halted travel, I had the opportunity to fly this route in the pointy end of the plane. I enjoyed the flight, but there were some issues that I’ll save for my review publishing shortly. If you do plan to fly the route, note that many of the service elements, including the Flagship Lounges, will likely be either closed or heavily modified.

American first suspended its Hong Kong operations on Feb. 4, when the coronavirus outbreak began affecting flights there. Though July 10 will be the first time that AA restarts commercial passenger service, it hasn’t entirely left Hong Kong. The airline has been operating extra cargo-only operations to HKG.

Even if demand doesn’t pick up right away, it could make sense for AA to ferry some passengers halfway across the globe. There’s clearly enough cargo demand to warrant flying there, so perhaps American could make some extra money from paying passengers along the way. When I flew the route in January, the carrier asked for over ten volunteers to switch to another flight because the flight was too full of cargo.

Flagship First on the Boeing 777-300ER (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Though American is restarting Hong Kong flying from Dallas, it isn’t yet committing to doing so from its other transpacific hub of Los Angeles. Right now, the LAX frequency is slated to return on Oct. 24.

At the moment, there’s limited saver award availability on the DFW — HKG route in first and business. There’s plenty of upgrade inventory, however. Additionally, if you play with the new AA award search tool, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up finding some reasonable premium cabin award prices if you add a connection before the nonstop DFW to HKG flight. 

Delta and United aren’t restarting their longest flights yet. The Atlanta-based carrier just retired its Boeing 777 fleet that used to fly the route, but Delta is betting that it can get the latest Airbus A350 variant ready to fly the route by Oct. 24. United’s longest flight from Houston to Sydney is also on the schedule for late October, but it’s anyone’s guess whether that’ll actually happen.

Featured photo of an American Boeing 777-300ER courtesy of American Airlines

 

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