American Airlines and JetBlue have announced the two airlines are to form a strategic partnership to bolster their respective positions in the North East of the United States.
This follows a similar move by American Airlines and Alaska Airlines last year. However, unlike Alaska Airlines, JetBlue will not join the Oneworld alliance. Nor will JetBlue join American Airlines’ transatlantic joint business with BA.
This means that connections to JetBlue are likely to be only available for transatlantic passengers when connecting to / from American Airlines operated international flights, booked through American.
JetBlue’s plans to launch its own transatlantic routes from London in 2021 are also undisturbed by today’s announcement.
American Airlines customers will benefit from 130 new routes through codesharing with JetBlue. 60 new routes will become available to JetBlue customers through codesharing with American Airlines.
The codeshare partnership will also encompass JetBlue’s highly regarded Mint transcontinental routes and American’s own three class Airbus A321 transcontinental routes. Though, they do not appear to be seeking anti-trust immunity to co-ordinate schedules.
American Airlines will transfer all London Heathrow flights to Terminal 5 from Tuesday 7 July 2020.
At Terminal 5, AA will join its Oneworld alliance partners British Airways and Iberia.
AA had relocated to Terminal 2 following the temporary closure of Terminal 3. BA had also consolidated all Heathrow flights at Terminal 5.
AA and BA have long had an ambition to co-locate at least some transatlantic routes in the same terminals to compete against the Delta and Virgin Atlantic transatlantic joint-business. This had been constrained due to a lack of space at London Heathrow. As airlines are to operate reduced schedules over at least the next year, this is no longer an issue.
At present, AA is operating a limited schedule from London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare, Dallas Fort Worth, Miami and New York JFK.
AA has delayed again the planned resumption of flights from London Heathrow to Charlotte, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Raleigh-Durham until late October 2020. The relaunch of Boston has been postponed until Sunday 25 October 2020.
Based on current timetables, AA plans to stay at Terminal 5 up to and including Saturday 24 October. This is of course subject to change.
Outside of London Heathrow, AA and BA also plan to co-locate at Terminal 8 at New York JFK from 2022. Again, events may accelerate this move.
Check-In And Lounge Facilities
American Airlines passengers travelling in main cabin, premium economy and business class can use a dedicated check-in area in Zone C.
American Airlines Executive Platinum and Flagship First Class passengers can use the BA First Wing.
American Airlines has set out amended plans to reinstate its network from London Heathrow.
At present, American is operating a very limited schedule from London Heathrow to Dallas / Fort Worth and Miami. The airline has also temporarily relocated to Heathrow Terminal 2 for the foreseeable future.
American plans to reinstate routes from London Heathrow as follows:
Chicago O’Hare – Thursday 4 June 2020 (initially five times weekly) New York JFK – Sunday 7 June 2020 (initially twice weekly) Charlotte – Wednesday 5 August 2020 Los Angeles – Wednesday 5 August 2020 Philadelphia – Wednesday 5 August 2020 Raleigh-Durham – Wednesday 5 August 2020 Phoenix – Wednesday 7 October 2020 Boston – Sunday 25 October 2020
These plans have changed and are subject to further changes.
American Airlines has announced significant reductions to its transatlantic flight schedule from the UK & Ireland.
This follows the decision by the Trump Administration to ban foreign nationals from entering the US if they have been in the UK & Ireland in the past 14 days.
US citizens and lawful US permanent residents may still travel from the UK to the US. However, they must do so through a designated airport. At the time of publication, these are:
Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta (ATL)
Boston Logan (BOS)
Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)
Detroit Metropolitan (DTW)
Daniel K Inouye International Airport, Honolulu (HNL)
Los Angeles (LAX)
New York John F Kennedy (JFK)
Newark Liberty (EWR)
San Francisco International (SFO)
Seattle Tacoma (SEA)
Washington Dulles (IAD)
The ban takes effect in respect of flights departing for the US from 00:00 ET / 04:00 GMT Tuesday 17 March 2020.
As a consequence of this, American Airlines will operate an extremely limited service with one flight a day from London Heathrow to Dallas Fort / Worth and Miami.
American Airlines will also progressively wind-down its own operated services from London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles and New York JFK by 23 March bring passengers back home. Services are currently planned to resume from 6 May 2020. The launch of Heathrow – Boston is postponed until early May.
American Airlines will also suspend flights from London Heathrow to Charlotte, Philadelphia and Phoenix as these are not approved airports for eligible travellers to travel to.
The announcement was made today, Thursday 13 February 2020, as part of a plan for increased co-operation between American Airlines and Alaska Airlines.
American Airlines has also announced that it plans to launch a daily service from London Heathrow to Seattle from March 2021. This will go on sale from May 2020.
This will complement British Airways’ existing services to Seattle. Though, BA may reduce frequencies to compensate for the increase in capacity.
Alaska Airlines intends to become a full member of the Oneworld alliance by the summer of 2021. This means that members of Oneworld alliance frequent flyer programmes will benefit from full frequent flyer recognition when flying on Alaska Airlines and vice versa.
However, the Oneworld alliance seems to have been caught by surprise by Alaska’s announcement. Normally, press releases are issued simultaneously by Oneworld and all current and prospective members. Some hours after Alaska’s announcement, Oneworld issued a statement welcoming Alaska’s intentions. However, it seems that the formal application process has not been completed.
Alaska Airlines and British Airways
British Airways already has a codeshare partnership with Alaska Airlines and places its code on a number of Alaska Airlines routes from the US West Coast to Hawaii and other destinations in North America.
It also currently possible for members of the British airways Executive Club to earn and redeem Avios on Alaska Airlines.
This latest announcement should also lead to further co-operation between BA and Alaska Airlines.
Full details of the planned co-operation between Alaska and American Airlines are available from Alaska Airlines.
It’s not often an airline lounge merits a second review within the space of 18 months.
Having reviewed American Airlines’ London Heathrow Arrivals lounge on a late morning visit last year, here’s second review at a much earlier hour in the day.
First, let’s quickly recap its location and facilities:
Lounge Location and Opening Hours
The lounge is located on the 2nd floor of the arrivals section of Terminal 3.
Once you have cleared immigration and customs, follow the signs for the American Airlines arrivals lounge and take a lift to the 2nd floor. The lounge entrance is immediately in front of you.
In the past year, the lounge opening hours have been extended from 05:00 to 15:30 daily.
Lounge Access Criteria
The simple explanation is that you can use this lounge when arriving at London Heathrow Terminal 3 in First or business class on American Airlines, BA, Cathay Pacific, or Qantas.
Arrivals lounges do not fall within normal Oneworld alliance reciprocal access rules.
However, there are lounge access entitlements for Oneworld Emerald, BA Premier, American Airlines Concierge Key card holders. These are detailed in full on the American Airlines website.
The lounge facilities include:
Self-service luggage storage area
Private shower suites and bathrooms
Valet pressing service
Hot & cold food buffet & a la carte menus with table service
A wide variety of seating, with many having at-seat power
Business centre with PCs & copier-printers
Newspapers, magazines, and two live TV screens
As you can see the shower suites are well-sized and well maintained:
The lounge features an extensive self-service buffet.
Starting from the left hand side of the lounge, you’ll find juices, cereals, dried fruit and, if you feel so inclined, all you need to make your own Bloody Mary.
Moving on, there’s a cold selection of cold meats and cheeses and pots of berries and vanilla bircher muesli with pumpkin seeds; greek yoghurt with berry compote and granola; and fresh fruit salad.
Also available are a “heartbeat” smoothie made from beetroot, mango and carrot or a “pash ‘n’ shoot” smoothie with pineapple, mango and passion fruit. Later in the day, these are replaced with brunch items.
In terms of hot options, there’s a full English breakfast comprising scrambled egg, Cumberland sausage, bacon, slow roasted tomatoes; parsley chestnut mushrooms and baked beans.
To end the self-service options, there are a full range of hot drinks. Also not pictured are well stocked fridges offering Diet Coke, Coke, Schweppes Tonics, and Evian/Harrogate Spring bottled water.
A La Carte Options
You do also have the option of ordering a la carte items.
The menu does change occasionally but a typical menu includes Eggs Benedict, Eggs Royale, American Pancakes and a full English Breakfast and, of course, that London brunch staple, Smashed Avocado On Toast:
Other Lounge Facilities
The lounge also includes a business centre which, from experience, seems rarely used.
Overall, this is a great facility to have. It’s well run and staff do a very good job of attending to tables and keeping the lounge tidy. It is much smaller than the BA Arrivals Lounge in Terminal 5, but seems more than adequately sized to cater for the volume of passengers.
To pick a couple of faults. First, as this lounge is geared towards business traveller, the seating is geared towards passengers travelling solo. There are no large tables or benches. If you’re travelling as a family or in a group, you’ll need to shift the chairs around a bit to sit together!
Also, the decor does veer a little towards the corporate side. The design of most airline lounges has to reflect the fact they are used for almost all of the day. For a lounge that is primarily used early in the morning, it could perhaps be a little brighter.
American is due to open a new Flagship lounge in the departures area of Terminal 3 in the medium term. If it combines the design of its Flagship lounges in the US with the catering and service of this lounge, then it should impress.
Disclosure: This review was carried out as part of a self-funded trip.
American Airlines is the latest airline to order the Airbus A321XLR aircraft.
It has placed an order for 50 aircraft. This has been secured through the conversion of delivery slots for 30 Airbus A321neo aircraft to the Airbus A321XLR and an additional order for 20 aircraft.
The Airbus A321XLR is expected to serve as a replacement for the Boeing 757 which American has previously used on routes from London Heathrow and other UK regional airports. It currently operates on transatlantic routes such as the summer seasonal Edinburgh – Philadelphia route. As well as transatlantic routes from the US East Coast, American Airlines is also expected to use the aircraft on routes to South America.
This follows an order by IAG for Aer Lingus and Iberia. It is certainly clear that when the Airbus A321XLR enters service in 2023 is going to become a significant force in transatlantic travel and route development.
US airlines have never been known for topping lists of the best airline lounges in the world.
With operations largely focused on domestic flights in the US, where typically only First and business class on select premium transcontinental routes offer lounge access, US airlines have primarily offered membership club lounges with relatively limited food and beverage.
However, there are signs of improvement. With growing international long-haul networks and a need to offer comparable service to joint-venture partners in Europe and Asia, US airlines have been raising their game.
United has been rolling out its “Polaris” lounges. American Airlines has also been rolling out its “Flagship” lounges. These are available at Chicago O’Hare Terminal 3, Dallas Fort Worth Terminal D, Los Angeles Terminal 4 and New York JFK Terminal 8. Further lounges are due to open at London Heathrow and Philadelphia.
American also has a Flagship lounge on Concourse D in the North Terminal of Miami International airport, which is the subject of this review.
Lounge location and access
The Flagship lounge is located near Gate 30 on Concourse D in the North Terminal, with one of American’s two Admirals Clubs in the terminal.
The lounge can be accessed by Oneworld Emerald & Sapphire cardholders and international First and business class passengers. When you arrive at the lounge complex entrance you’ll be handed a laminated card to access the Flagship lounge upstairs.
Note if you’re flying on BA to London Heathrow from Concourse E you can also use this lounge instead of the Oneworld premium lounge on Concourse E, albeit with quite a walk to the gate.
To the lounge itself, and a quick tip that applies to almost any large airline lounge.
In lounges, passengers naturally gravitate towards the bars and where they see food. If you want peace and quiet, and don’t want to have to listen in on others’ conference calls, just head in another direction.
If you immediately turn left on entering the lounge you will find plenty of largely unoccupied seating areas: