In international route news, Korean Air plans to boost West Coast frequencies next year, Norwegian’s Las Vegas routes will be cut back to a seasonal basis; Aer Lingus adds a new U.S. gateway; Air Canada adds a pair of summer Europe routes from Vancouver; Fiji Airways will boost San Francisco service; two German airlines add new U.S. routes next summer; and ANA will start direct service to Mexico City.
Korean Air’s 2017 schedule plans include more flights to the West Coast, according to Routesonline.com. On March 26, Korean’s San Francisco-Seoul Incheon schedule is tentatively set to increase from seven flights a week to 12, then grow to 13 in June and 14 in September. The carrier will utilize a mix of B747-8 and B777s on the route. KAL likely added more capacity since Singapore Air moved its daily SFO-Seoul nonstop to LA to make way for its nonstop SFO-SIN service. From June through August, the airline will increase Los Angeles-Seoul Incheon frequencies from 14 to 19 flights a week. And Korean’s Seattle schedule shows daily flights during May, September and October, up from five a week for the same months this year. (FYI, Korean Air is a partner in Chase Ultimate Rewards- many readers love to unload their points to fly KAL in first or business class because space is frequently available. Get a new card, earn the bonus, and redeem away!)
Here’s how TravelSkills reader JS flew KAL in first class by transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards to Korean Air SkyPass. He told us: “As you probably know it’s incredibly easy to find first class space on Korean since so few people in the U.S. either have those miles or know about the transfer process from Chase. In addition, even though Delta and Korean are both members of SkyTeam, Delta members cannot redeem their miles for first class on other SkyTeam carriers.”
Norwegian Air Shuttle has been growing at Las Vegas, but it has now decided that its four routes to Europe will operate seasonally instead of year-round. Why? Because it discovered this year that sometimes Las Vegas is just too hot in the summer for its planes to take off, so they’ve had to sit on the ground until temperatures dropped. The cutoff temperature for the airline’s 291-seat Dreamliners is 104 degrees, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, so for 2017 the airline will suspend its service to London, Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen from late March until November. The publication said the airline is studying the possibility of rescheduling summer departure times to early morning or late in the day for 2018.
Ireland’s Aer Lingus will add Miami as its newest U.S. gateway next year. The airline set a September 1 start for the new service, operating three times a week between Miami and Dublin with a 266-seat A330-200. Aer Lingus also said it will boost its Los Angeles schedule from the current four flights a week to daily departures from May 26 through the end of August; increase Chicago O’Hare service from 12 flights a week to twice-daily departures beginning May 26; and add a fourth weekly flight from Orlando effective March 14.
Air Canada will give travelers new options to Europe from Vancouver next summer. The carrier said it will start daily flights from Vancouver to Frankfurt on June 1, using a 787-8 with business class, premium economy and regular economy seating; and three flights a week from Vancouver to London Gatwick with an Air Canada Rouge 767-300ER with premium and regular economy seating.
Fiji Airways must be doing well with its San Francisco-Nadi, Fiji route, because it plans to increase capacity next summer. Instead of operating two flights a week for eight weeks, it will keep them going from June 1 through late October, and will add a third weekly frequency from June 19 to August 8 – and it will upgrade the aircraft it uses from an A330-200 to a -300.
New travel options to Germany next year include service from Seattle to Cologne and from Pittsburgh to Frankfurt. The Seattle route be flown by Lufthansa Group subsidiary Eurowings, with three A330-200 flights a week operating seasonally from July 11 through October. And the Pittsburgh-Frankfurt route will be flown by Condor Airlines, with two 767 flights a week from June 23 through September.
Want to get from Mexico to Japan without flying through the U.S. or Canada? Japan’s All Nippon Airways announced plans to begin the first non-stop service between the countries, with daily flights from Tokyo Narita to Mexico City beginning February 15. It will be ANA’s longest non-stop flight, and will use a 787-8 Dreamliner with business class and economy seating.
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