American Airlines will be back in Australian skies from 29 October after a five-month suspension of its daily Los Angeles to Sydney service due to a shortage of long-range aircraft.
The Oneworld member pulled the pin on its daily trans-Pacific service back in May, but its return not only increases flight options between Sydney and LAX to complement Qantas’ schedule, it also doubles the opportunities for Qantas Frequent flyer members to earn and redeem points on seats to the States.
Flight AA72 will once again depart Sydney at 11:15am, landing in Los Angeles just after 7am local time on the same day; the return AA73 pushes back from the City of Angels at 10:35pm, putting wheels down in Sydney at 9am two days later.
The LAX-Sydney reboot features the Boeing 787-9 for now, although there’s a bigger bird waiting in the wings, with the Boeing 777-300ER taking over from December 16.
While the slightly larger Boeing 777 adds only a dozen more seats overall, it notably brings back first class – with eight spacious open suites – while also boosting business class from then Dreamliner’s 30 seats to 52, in a timely move to capitalise on the peak holiday season.
American’s Boeing 777 first class suites transition between dining and sleep modes as expected… and for passengers seated by the windows, these seats also swivel to face outwards, creating an inflight working space with unparalleled views.
(Seats in the centre pair instead swivel to face each other, although a privacy divider can be raised if flying solo.)
As for American’s 777 business class, the seat will be immediately familiar to anyone who’s flown on Cathay Pacific – American adopted the same seat, and it has the same benefits such as a fully-flat bed with direct aisle access, ample seat-side storage space and a surprising degree of privacy.
But from late 2024, American will be removing first class entirely from the Boeing 777s in favour of a larger business class cabin featuring all-new Flagship Suites with sliding privacy doors and all the other mod cons.
American Airlines' return to Sydney will see it resume its heated competition with long-time foe and freshly-minted Virgin Australia partner United Airlines, along with Delta Air Lines, for non-stop flights between Sydney and the USA, while Hawaiian Airlines continues to flex its one-stop network via Honolulu.
Prior to boarding at LAX, top-tiered AAdvantage members, Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers, holders of eligible credit cards, single-visit passes or those flying in first and business class can of course access American Airlines’ Flagship Lounge in Los Angeles at Terminal 4, near Gate 40.
The Flagship Lounge operates as a separate facility within the Admirals Club, offering more personalised service, a la carte meals, craft beers, wines and specialty cocktails and shower suites managed by a virtual queue system.
It’s unclear whether American Airlines will remodel this lounge based on its new Admirals Club design, unveiled recently and opening soon at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C.
The airline plans to expand the new Admirals Club concept to further locations, with lounges in New York-adjacent Newark Liberty, Denver International and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in various stages of completion.
Speaking of New York, three new lounges are soon to open at New York JFK Terminal 8 as part of the trans-Atlantic partnership with fellow Oneworld partner, British Airways, led by an exclusive lounge for first class travellers, featuring a champagne bar and à la carte dining.
Next door, a second facility featuring “sweeping airside views, a wine bar, cocktail lounge, library and buffet” will open, while the existing Flagship Lounge and Admirals Club will merge into a single facility for business class and other eligible travellers.