American Airlines just put widebodies on 3 Alaska, Hawaii routes
With international travel still largely off-limits, American Airlines has plenty of spare wide-body jets.
Instead of keeping them parked in the desert, the Fort Worth-based carrier will fly them on some interesting domestic routes.
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The Last Frontier is getting dreamy
American Airlines is sending its Dreamliners to Alaska this summer.
Over the weekend, the carrier filed an update for its once-daily seasonal service between Chicago (ORD) and Anchorage (ANC). Instead of flying the 196-seat Airbus A321neo, American will fly one of its largest jets, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the route.
The upgauge is happening during the peak summer season, from June 3 through Aug. 16, per Cirium schedules and confirmed by the carrier. The daily ORD-ANC service ends on Oct. 6, but it'll be flown by an A321neo for the remainder of the season.
American's 787-9 Dreamliners are outfitted with 30 lie-flat biz pods, 21 premium economy recliners, 36 extra-legroom Main Cabin Extra seats and 198 standard coach ones.
This represents a massive upgrade for those flying upfront — the 787-9 Dreamliners sport American's top-notch reverse herringbone biz, with direct aisle access for each passenger.
Premium economy is being sold as a separate cabin and features a very similar product to AA's domestic first-class recliner.
All in, Anchorage is really feeling the (AA) love.
American recently updated its other daily ANC service from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) with a Boeing 787-9 as well, from June to August. AA also flies a seasonal, daily service from Phoenix (PHX) to the Last Frontier, but that flight will still be operated by the Airbus A321neo.
In general, airlines are feeling confident about Alaska travel this summer. Delta recently unveiled a massive expansion across the state with new and expanded routes to four airports — Anchorage (ANC), Fairbanks (FAI), Juneau (JNU), Ketchikan (KTN) and Sitka (SIT) — from a variety of hubs across the lower 48.
Related: First look at American’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Hawaii is heating up
AA will also send some more widebodies to The Aloha State.
This time, it's the Phoenix (PHX) hub feeling the love. The carrier will fly a Boeing 777-200 on one of its two daily frequencies between PHX and both Honolulu (HNL) and Maui (OGG). The wide-body service begins on June 3 and ends on Aug. 16. The second daily service remains unchanged and will be flown by the Airbus A321neo.
AA's 777-200 sports 273 seats, with 37 biz pods, 24 premium economy recliners, 66 Main Cabin Extra seats and 146 standard coach ones. These planes feature two types of business-class products, one in an industry-leading reverse-herringbone configuration and another in a ying-yang, forward- and rear-facing layout.
Unfortunately, it's impossible to know which jet will be assigned to the route until just a few days before departure, but fingers crossed that it's the former.
Like the Anchorage service, American is selling premium economy as a separate cabin, with one-way fares hovering at $800 or so. Award availability for the flights operated by the 777 is sparse, with many dates approaching (and others exceeding) 70,000 AAdvantage miles for a one-way biz redemption.
Historically, American used to operate both the Airbus A330 and Boeing 757 from Phoenix to Hawaii per Cirium timetables. Both of those fleets were retired due to the pandemic, and American instead subbed in an A321neo.
Now, American's move to upgrade its Phoenix-Hawaii flights comes just days after rival Hawaiian Airlines announced a new, seasonal PHX-to-Maui route.
Hawaiian's four-times-weekly flights run from May 21 through Aug. 15, so American's upgauge is seemingly timed to put up a fight at one of its hubs. Hawaiian also flies a daily PHX-HNL route that originally launched in 2002, using the Airbus A330-200.
American's other widebody flights
Of the major U.S. airlines, American has historically operated an assortment of domestic flights using internationally-equipped jets between long-haul segments.
And now, with long-haul travel largely suspended, American is beefing up its domestic wide-body schedule.
In recent weeks, the carrier has added its largest jets on a variety of unexpected routes, including Miami (MIA) to Boston (BOS) and Las Vegas (LAS), as well as flights between Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Seattle (SEA).
You’ll find a full list of domestic American Airlines routes operated by widebodies below for May and June 2021, from Cirium timetables.
|DFW||ANC||Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner|
|DFW||HNL||Boeing 777-200, Boeing 777-300, Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner|
|DFW||LAX||Boeing 777-200, Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner,|
|DFW||MIA||Boeing 777-200, Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner|
|DFW||OGG||Boeing 777-200, Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner|
|DFW||ORD||Boeing 777-200, Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner|
|DFW||PHL||Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner|
|MIA||LAS||Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner|
|MIA||LAX||Boeing 777-200, Boeing 777-300|
|MIA||ORD||Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner|
|ORD||ANC||Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner|
|ORD||HNL||Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner|
|ORD||LAX||Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner|
|ORD||PHL||Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner|
|PHL||LAX||Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner|