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You can now book American Airlines' third long-haul flight from Seattle to Shanghai

Aug. 27, 2020
4 min read
You can now book American Airlines' third long-haul flight from Seattle to Shanghai
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The pandemic is causing airlines to rethink their route networks. What worked in 2019 likely won't be a successful strategy in the coming years.

In early July, American Airlines announced a major "reset" of the international network. The news included plans to drop 19 long-haul routes with deep cuts in Chicago O'Hare (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX) and Philadelphia (PHL).

LAX was the hub hit the hardest. American shared plans to wind down much of its long-haul flying from Los Angeles, cutting three routes to Asia and two to South America.

Of the five routes getting axed, American announced an immediate replacement for one of them. Specifically, American's service from LAX to Shanghai (PVG) would be moved to Seattle (SEA). At the time, it wasn't immediately clear when AA would start the new service.

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Well, we now have the details. The daily flight launches on March 27, 2021 with the following schedule:

  • AA 183 Seattle (SEA) to Shanghai (PVG) departing 12:50 p.m arriving 4:25 p.m. (the following day)
  • AA 182 Shanghai (PVG) to Seattle (SEA) departing 6:25 p.m. arriving 3:10 p.m.

American plans to operate the flight with a Boeing 777-200, featuring 37 business-class pods, 24 premium economy recliners and 212 economy seats. AA operates two configurations of the Boeing 777 — one with a far superior business-class product. Unfortunately, there's no way to determine which of the two products will be assigned on any given day.

Related: Best American Airlines seats ranked from best to worst

Roundtrip fares begin at around $1,100 in coach, $1,400 in premium economy and $5,500 in biz. There's not much award or upgrade space right now, but that'll likely change as the route launch grows closer.

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Coach on the AA 777-200 (Photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy)

The Seattle to Shanghai route is just the latest in American's expanding presence in the Pacific Northwest. In Feb., AA stunned aviation observers when it announced nonstop service from Seattle to both Bangalore, India, and London Heathrow. The former is scheduled to begin in winter 2021 and the latter slated to start on March, 27, 2021.

Seattle is not a hub for American, nor did the carrier have an unusually large presence there. But the two high-profile international routes were announced in conjunction with news that American would deepen its ties with Alaska, which also said it would join the Oneworld frequent-flyer alliance that includes American.

As part of the partnership, Seattle-based Alaska Airlines will help feed connecting passengers to American’s new overseas routes from Seattle, where Alaska is the biggest carrier.

Brian Znotins, AA's vice president of network planning, told TPG that “as we’re moving away from L.A. as an Asian gateway, we have our new partnership with Alaska and Seattle, which has even better geography than L.A. does.” He added that American believes business demand to Shanghai “will snap back fairly quickly” once coronavirus concerns ease.

American and Alaska are teaming up (Photo by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy)

As for attempting to shift the route to Seattle, he pointed not only the feed from Alaska Airlines, but also to a less-crowded marketplace than what American encountered in Los Angeles.

Related: American Airlines, JetBlue plan 'slot moves' at New York JFK

American's tie-up with Alaska is similar to its recently announced Northeast-focused alliance with JetBlue. As part of this new pact, AA announced new transatlantic routes from New York to Athens and Tel Aviv. AA will use JetBlue's domestic routes to feed its JFK-based long-haul flights. The new JFK routes are expected to launch "upon implementation of the alliance agreement."

Regulators still must approve AA's Seattle to Shanghai service. But putting the flights on sale is one step in the right direction for American's third long-haul route from Seattle.

Additional reporting by Ben Mutzabaugh

Featured image by GC Images

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Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
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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    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.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    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.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

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