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You read this right folks, American will commence flights to Tokyo’s Haneda airport beginning February 11, 2016. You can book these flights starting on November 8th.
Why does this matter?
Well, if you’ve been to Tokyo then you already know. Haneda is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay (breath) waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay closer. We’re talking the difference of a 20-30 minute taxi ride vs a minimum 90 mins and with traffic…take an Ambien cause you’re gonna be in that cab for a while.
Miles and I had the opportunity to visit Tokyo in the Around the World trip this summer and flew into Haneda and out of Narita. Boy, did we miss Haneda when we were just half way to Narita and you could hear the money being sucked from our wallets. We stayed at the Ritz Carlton on points, so I used this as the destination for both airports.
How did this happen?
Well, Delta has been squatting on some Haneda gate space for quite some time. American carriers only have 4 gate spaces at Haneda and Delta wasn’t utilizing all the space to it’s fullest capacity. American, therefore, has been battling in court to force Delta to open up that space so that they could service more people. See…Delta could squat and force other carriers to Narita – which is a trip in and of itself to Tokyo, but now, with American’s new 787 Dreamliner and new business/first class on the 777 AA was keen on putting butts in seats and getting them to Tokyo. American ultimately won back in March, and now they are starting service. Delta had lobbied an unsuccessful reversal bid with the courts because American hadn’t started utilizing the route they had fought for within 60 days, so it’s no surprise that American makes this announcement which basically settles the case.
Delta also relinquished it’s exclusivity on the Seattle route which was mandated to run daily to maintain exclusivity. They couldn’t turn a profit and now American will start flights out of Seattle as well. These are great verdicts for the consumer. With the recent news that Delta forfeiting it’s Atlanta to Dubai route, and Emirates possibly swooping in to grab it up, it’s another blow move that will endow the consumer with more options, competition, and ultimately better prices.
What will the product be?
The 787-800 ( the shorter of the two 787 models currently in production) is a brand new aircraft for AA. It’s fuselage is made of composite materials allowing for lower altitude cabin pressure, higher humidity, and bigger windows. Composite materials allow for a sturdier frame with less expansion do to altitude which allows for a longer life and better in cabin experience for passengers.
AA 787 is a “3” cabin plane with Business, Main Cabin Extra, and Main Cabin Economy. All the seats have a great IFE system built in, and as someone who has flown on a Dreamliner, I can attest that they are in fact outstanding planes for passengers. As I mentioned before, they are pressurized to a lower altitude ( which helps with jetlag because your brain gets more oxygen), have increased window size for better light, and also have higher cabin humidity ( because the materials around the windows are composite which tolerate higher humidity levels without corroding side effects.
Keep an eye on the award availability for this route. Often times when a new route is introduced the algos for seat avail will mistakenly create a plethora of availability that ordinarily wouldn’t be there. When every seat on a given route is avail, the computers may think they need to entice customers…so a deal may be had come November 8th when the seats become avail.
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