American Airlines will add two more seasonal routes to New Zealand from next summer. In addition to non-stop Auckland-Dallas/Fort Worth flights, American will fly 3 times per week from Christchurch to Los Angeles. The new Christchurch-Los Angeles route will be the only direct service between New Zealand’s South Island and the United States.
In addition, American Airlines will next year begin its seasonal Auckland-Los Angeles service three weeks earlier than usual, with flights beginning next year on 7 October instead of at the end of October.
Qantas will codeshare on all of these American Airlines flights, so Qantas Frequent Flyer members can earn full Qantas Frequent Flyer points and status credits. Qantas Frequent Flyer members will also be able to redeem Qantas points for these flights (if American Airlines releases award availability). Tickets will go on sale next month.
All of American Airlines’ services to New Zealand will continue to operate only during the IATA northern winter period (southern hemisphere summer), which runs from October until the end of March.
Air New Zealand and United Airlines also operate direct flights between New Zealand and the USA, with all flights departing from Auckland. Air Canada will also commence Auckland-Vancouver flights in December. While the new flights are good for competition, Air New Zealand still has a monopoly on New Zealand-USA flights during our winter (the northern summer) as all of the North American carriers operate seasonal flights only.
The new American Airlines routes will launch at the same time as Air New Zealand starts non-stop Auckland-New York flights.
American Airlines Christchurch-Los Angeles flights
American’s flights from Christchurch to Los Angeles will run 3 times per week using Boeing 787-8 aircraft with Business, Premium Economy and Economy class seating. The first flight will depart Los Angeles on 25 October 2020, and the seasonal service will run until 26 March 2021. The schedule will be as follows:
- Christchurch 14:10 – Los Angeles 06:00
- Los Angeles 23:30 – Christchurch 10:25 (+2 days)
The flights will connect with Jetstar services to Wellington. Easy connections with Qantas flights to/from Melbourne are also possible.
Passengers travelling between Christchurch and the USA normally have to connect via Auckland. The new direct flights will save passengers more than two hours of travel time in each direction.
The fuel-efficient Boeing 787-8 is a relatively small long-haul aircraft that was designed for long, thin routes. Without this aircraft, it is unlikely that American Airlines would consider the Christchurch-Los Angeles route to be economical.
American Airlines Auckland-Dallas/Fort Worth flights
American Airlines will initially fly 3 times per week from Auckland to its Texas hub of Dallas/Fort Worth from 25 October 2020, but will increase service to daily from 1 December 2020. These Boeing 787-9 flights will also run on a seasonal basis, ending on 27 March 2021. Here is the schedule:
- Auckland 12:15 – Dallas/Fort Worth 07:10
- Dallas/Fort Worth 22:30 – Auckland 08:40 (+2 days)
Same-day connections from Australia to Dallas via Auckland will not be possible due to the timing. But Qantas already flies 6 times per week from Sydney to Dallas/Fort Worth using an A380. QF7/8 will increase to daily in mid-2020.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: AA expansion in NZ