American's Washington National-LAX flights: save time & hassle

By John Walton, March 1 2012
American's Washington National-LAX flights: save time & hassle

Qantas' oneworld partner American Airlines' new flights between Washington DC's inner-city Reagan National Airport and Los Angeles LAX could prove a real boon to Australian business travellers.

Washington National (DCA) is a much more convenient airport than its larger cousin Washington Dulles (IAD), which is a fair drive out into the state of Virginia.

With a location just across the Potomac River from Washington DC proper, a stop on the Metro subway system and a smaller, easier to navigate terminal, National is a far better option.

American will use Boeing 757 aircraft on the route, with 22 first class seats similar to Australian domestic business, and into which trans-Pacific business class passengers will be booked.

Check out our guide to AA's domestic 757 first class to pick the best seat on the plane.

And with a decent westbound connection to Qantas' trans-Pacific flights, American's new service -- which starts on 14 June, with tickets on sale from 4 March -- is a good deal.

Flight timings and Qantas connections

American flight 245 leaves DCA at 1710 and gets into LAX at 1940.

That's enough time to connect to Sydney-bound Qantas flight QF12 at 2220 (with a backup of QF108 at 2340 in case of delays) or Qantas' Melbourne flight QF94 at 2330.

Unfortunately, the eastbound flights aren't as useful for Australians heading to Washington -- a connection in LAX of under two hours just isn't feasible.

But savvy travellers may well start heading eastbound on QF7 via Dallas/Fort Worth, connecting on one of the numerous Washington National flights from DFW, before returning from National via LAX.

That's an especially smart move for Sydneysiders, who can thus skip the extra stop in Brisbane on Dallas flight QF8, returning directly home via LAX on QF12's more comfortable Airbus A380 second-generation Skybeds.

Melburnians too can look forward to an easier go of it: AA245 connects to MEL-bound Airbus A380 flight QF94 at 2330.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

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