American Airlines will fly nonstop from Los Angeles to Hong Kong beginning on Sept. 7 using its flagship Boeing 777-300ER, the carrier said Tuesday.
This route has been long rumored, and it will end the Cathay Pacific monopoly on the Los Angeles-Hong Kong sector. Cathay flies the route four times per day.
American and Cathay are marketing partners, and they're both part of the OneWorld alliance. But they're also competitors, and unlike some airline relationships, they do not have antitrust immunity. They cannot coordinate schedules or pricing, so it doesn't help American much that Cathay is already in the market. American does have antitrust immunity with Japan Airlines, and the carriers said they will coordinate on the L.A.-Hong Kong service.
The new flight comes as American seeks to bolster its Los Angeles hub, its trans-Pacific gateway. As recently as five years ago, American had only one trans-Pacific route - Tokyo Narita.
Since then, American has added:
Tokyo Haneda (2016)
Hong Kong (2016)
The airline has grown in other international markets, too. In the past five years, Americna also has launched new flights to Mexico City and Sao Paulo, while adding a second daily nonstop to London Heathrow.
Hong Kong could be tricky because of the flight times. It can be difficult to obtain favorable takeoff and landing slots in Hong Kong, and American may not have the most competitive schedule. I don't mind the times, but I can see why some travelers would think departing L.A. at almost 2 a.m. is a problem.
Here's American's schedule.
LAX-HKG. Departs LAX at 1:55 a.m. Arrives at HKG at 8:10 a.m. (next day)
HKG-LAX. Departs HKG at 8:20 p.m. Arrives at LAX at 6:40 p.m.
The ride should be comfortable for most passengers. American's Boeing 777-300ERs are the class of the fleet, with competitive first and business class cabins. Eventually, the 777s will get American's new premium economy product, which looks snazzy.
I reviewed the Boeing 777-300ER business class experience last year, paying my own way.
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