In international route developments, United has inaugurated the longest U.S. non-stop service and has revived Auckland flights; Delta starts selling its Comfort+ seats on transatlantic flights and launches its first A350 flights; American begins a new China route; Air France replaces Delta on a Paris route; Air Canada adds capacity to India from the West Coast; and Pakistan’s national carrier drops a U.S. route;
New non-stop service launched last week by United between Los Angeles and Singapore takes the number one spot as the longest flight from the U.S. at 8,700 miles. That surpasses the 8,446-mile route that United started up last year from San Francisco to Singapore, and tops Qantas’ 8,576-mile Dallas/Ft. Worth Sydney route. As with its San Francisco route, United is using a 250-passenger 787-9 for the LAX-Singapore flights. The new flight departs LAX at 9:25 and takes almost 18 hours. Don’t miss: Chris’ Trip Report on SFO-SIN from last year 17 moments in 17 hours on Singapore Airlines
In other news, United just revived its seasonal service between San Francisco and Auckland, New Zealand, which is also served by Star Alliance partner Air New Zealand. United will fly the route six days a week from now through December 17, boosting the schedule to daily service through March 22. The carrier’s Auckland flights are using a 777-300ER fitted out with United’s new Polaris business cabin, featuring lie-flat seats that all have aisle access. United and Air New Zealand have created a new website at www.united.com/airnz that provides information on both carriers and destination tips about New Zealand.
Delta has just started selling its Comfort+ product – extra-legroom main cabin seating – on transatlantic flights effective for travel January 22 and beyond. That includes all its flights from North America to Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Delta started selling Comfort+ seating two years ago for travel within North America, and by earlier this year had expanded it to Asia/Pacific and Latin America/Caribbean flights. (Nice for those who buy it, but less nice for those hoping to get comp upgrades.)
Meanwhile, Delta this week put its first new Airbus A350 into commercial service on its Detroit-Tokyo Narita route. The new plane features a new Delta One front cabin with lie-flat seats in private suites, as well as the airline’s new international premium economy cabin called Premium Select, which is being installed in Delta’s A350s instead of Comfort+ seating. As of this week, Delta is now using the 747 on a single route, Seoul-Detroit and that is only through December 17 when it will be replaced by a shiny new Airbus A350.
After months of negotiations with Chinese officials to secure commercially viable slot times, American Airlines is finally due to kick off its newest route to China in a few days. November 5 is the launch date for American’s daily flights from Los Angeles to Beijing, which it will initially operate with a 787-8, switching to a 787-9 next spring. Delta had also filed for the route, but lost out when the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the rights to American in December of last year.
Air France said it will step in and replace joint venture and Skyteam partner Delta this winter on the Chicago O’Hare-Paris CDG route. Air France will use an Airbus A330 to fly the route up to five times a week.
Air Canada has foiled plans for a schedule increase this winter on its Vancouver-Delhi route. The carrier will increase frequencies on the route from five a week to daily service effective December 9 through at least December 23. Air Canada uses a 787-9 on the route.
Over the past weekend, Pakistan International Airlines ended its service between Karachi/Lahore and New York JFK, which it had been serving with a 777-200LR via a westbound stop in Manchester, U.K. PIA had been flying to New York since 1961.
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