Overnight American Airlines and Qantas have made a significant joint announcement regarding their joint venture on flights between the United States and Australia.
Qantas have announced that from 20 December 2015, they will restart service between Sydney and San Francisco. It has been about four years since Qantas stopped flying that route (and started flying non-stop to DFW instead). It will bring much needed competition to the route given that currently the only non-stop flights operated on that route are operated by United. The service will initially operate four days a week before scaling up to six days a week. The flight will be operated by Boeing 747 aircraft, which do not offer first class (which is only offered on Qantas’ A380 aircraft).
American will begin a daily, non-stop flight between Los Angeles and Sydney on 17 December 2015 (presumably with the first Sydney to Los Angeles service to be operated on 19 December 2015), using its flagship Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. This aircraft is fitted with a reverse herringbone business class product, which is the same seats as it offers as first class on its domestic Airbus A321T services between Los Angeles / San Francisco and New York JFK. The same seating design is also found on airlines like Cathay Pacific.
The new American flight will be a boon for Executive Platinum members of American Airlines’ AAdvantage program, who depending on availability are able to use one of their eight systemwide upgrades to move from economy to business class on any fare when flying on American metal. We don’t expect there to be much award or upgrade inventory in advance. Although we would expect that revenue business class passengers would prefer to fly Qantas-operated flights, leaving a higher likelihood of spare business class seats for upgrades on the American plane.
The American flight will boost oneworld capacity between the United States and Australia. However it is important to note that Qantas will be cutting four flights a week between Sydney and Los Angeles and one flight a week between Melbourne and Los Angeles in order to free up a Boeing 747 aircraft to operate the San Francisco route.