In international route news, American next week adds new transpacific flights from Los Angeles; Swiss brings its fancy new 777 to the Los Angeles-Zurich route, while Emirates doubles down on LAX service with a big sports sponsorship; San Francisco gets a new route to the South Pacific; Germany’s Condor Airlines unveils some new U.S. routes, including Seattle and San Diego; TAP Air Portugal adds two U.S. gateways with upgraded aircraft; Delta trims service to a South American city from Atlanta; and two U.S. airlines start selling tickets for scheduled service to Cuba.
American Airlines next week will kick off its newest transpacific route: On June 23 it will start flying a 787-8 Dreamliner between Los Angeles International and Auckland, New Zealand as part of its growing joint venture partnership with Qantas, ending Air New Zealand’s non-stop monopoly on that route. The aircraft’s business class offers personal suites with 77-inch lie-flat seat-beds, direct aisle access for every seat, and a walk-up bar stocked with drinks and snacks. The economy cabin offers a Main Cabin Extra seating option with five extra inches of legroom, and both cabins have Wi-Fi and AC/USB ports at every seat.
Also at Los Angeles International, Swiss has started flying the LAX-Zurich route with its new 777-300ERs, the flagships of its international long-haul fleet. The aircraft boasts redesigned and upgraded interiors with first, business and economy class. Take a look here at some photos of the plane that we ran last year when the carrier introduced them. Swiss had planned to start flying the 777-300ER to San Francisco in August, but as we reported last month, that introduction has been postponed until February 2017.
Meanwhile, Emirates is due to lay on a second daily A380 flight starting July 1 between Los Angeles and Dubai, and it is counting on a new sponsorship deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers to draw attention to the airline in that big market. The airline even brought some of its flight attendants onto the field during a recent game at Dodger Stadium to promote the tie-in.
At San Francisco International, Fiji Airways this week kicked off seasonal service to Nadi, Fiji, using a two-class A330 for the 10-hour flight. It will operate twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays, through mid-August, then will resume from mid-December through mid-January.
Germany’s Condor Airlines, a leisure-oriented carrier that belongs to the Thomas Cook Group, plans to add some U.S. routes in 2017, including the only non-stops between Seattle and Munich. That route will begin in July 2017 with twice-weekly service. Condor already flies between Seattle and Frankfurt, and recently extended that to year-round service. Also in Condor’s 2017 plans: twice-weekly seasonal flights between Frankfurt and New Orleans from May through September; three flights week starting May 1 between Frankfurt-San Diego; and twice-weekly service beginning May 2 between Munich and Las Vegas.
TAP Portugal just started new daily service between Lisbon and Boston Logan, and will add daily Lisbon-New York JFK service July 1. Both routes are using A330s that feature TAP’s new executive class cabin with lie-flat seats. The aircraft also features a new, advanced in-flight entertainment system; and the economy cabin has two kinds of seating, offering 34-inch and 31-inch pitch. The airline already serves Newark and Miami from Lisbon.
At its Atlanta hub, Delta on August 30 will reduce service to Medellin, Colombia, cutting back from the current daily frequencies to just three a week. Delta uses a 737-700 on the route.
Following the Transportation Department’s recent award of Cuba route rights (except Havana) to U.S. carriers for regular scheduled service, some of them have started selling tickets to the island nation. American will start flying once or twice a day from Miami to Cienfuegos and Holguin on September 7; from Miami to Camaguey and Santa Clara September 9; and from Miami to Varadero September 11. Silver Airways will start service September 1 from Ft. Lauderdale to Santa Clara, followed by flights out of Ft. Lauderdale to Camaguey, Cienfuegos and Holguin in October; to Santiago and Cayo Coco in November; and to Varadero, Cayo Largo and Manzanillo in December.
NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: United’s newest, longest flight + Tipping Uber drivers + Qantas 747 Trip Report + Confusion over PreCheck policies + No-fee earlier flights