American abandons 3 class on transcon to Los Angeles
One of the best ways to rack up some extra tier points in relative comfort was the transcontinental flights between New York JFK and Los Angeles or San Francisco. For the same price as a direct ticket to the West Coast you can add in a stop off at New York for up to 24 hours and then fly on for an extra 280 tier points in business class or 420 in first. AA were using an A321T which had three classes with flatbeds in both business and first. You can read my reviews of both experiences here. Sadly from November onwards they are operating 2 daily Boeing 777-200ER instead of previously listed 12 daily 3-class Airbus A321T. This means only business class will be available. There is some good news though – the business class seats will be their long-haul international seats which all have aisle access. You can read my review here.
The new schedule will be:
AA002 LAX 0830 – 1647 JFK
AA004 LAX 2135 – 0545+1 JFK
AA001 JFK 0900 – 1221 LAX
AA003 JFK 1800 – 2119 LAX
San Francisco will still be on the A321T three class. The 777-200ER aircraft is also scheduled to operate New York JFK – Miami in November. At the moment they are still scheduled to go back to the normal schedule for the New York Los Angeles route from December but that seems very unlikely at the moment.
Reduced perks for BA Silver and Gold with American Airlines
One of the reasons I fly AA on domestic flights in the US is not just for the tier points, it is also due to the perks you get as a BA Silver or Gold member. You can get lounge access, extra luggage and up until now an automatic upgrade to an extra legroom seat known as main cabin extra. This also came with a free alcoholic drink and snack as well before COVID.
You will now still have complimentary access to “Preferred” seats which offer standard legroom but they are viewed as being in a more favourable location. If you want extra legroom you will need to pay to upgrade to main cabin extra which costs around $25 each way depending on the route.
It seems a very odd time to be taking a perk away from frequent flyers, albeit from a partner airline. I’m guessing they think it may drive more revenue from people in the future.
Qantas cancels international flights until Match except for New Zealand and other travel bubbles
Qantas is cancelling almost all of its international flights until the end of March 2021. Although flights had been removed from their schedule meaning you could not book them, they had not been cancelled until now. This means that people can finally get a refund for the flights. Instead of just offering refunds the airline are also trying to tempt passengers to take a credit voucher instead with an additional 10% of the value added.
There are some promising signs though as New Zealand and Australia have established a one-way travel corridor from New Zealand to Australia. Travellers from New Zealand must not have been in a designated Covid-19 hotspot in the 14 days before they fly to Australia. A hotspot is defined as having a rolling three-day average of three cases a day which is very different to what we call a hotspot here!
The bubble will start on 16 October and be available between New Zealand and New South Wales and the Northern Territory. New Zealand is unwilling to reciprocate the other way until at least Christmas.