Good news for adventurous North Texans, and probably even better news for Dallas-based business travelers: American Airlines confirms it will begin nonstop flights between DFW and both Hong Kong and Shanghai by the middle of next year.
Listen to Rick: Airfare expert Rick Seaney tells you what’s so good about this.
New Non-stop Asia Flights Begin in June
Both routes must still gain regulatory approval (but one hears no special concern about this) and while American would only say flights will begin next summer, Dallas media says take-off is set for June.
The DFW to Hong Kong flight will operate on a daily basis. It’s not clear yet how frequent the flights to Shanghai will be but they’ve got nine months to figure it out. Plans call for both routes to use Boeing 777 series aircraft with the Hong Kong flights flying the new 777-300ER touting the most up to date amenities.
Why Dallas? An Analysis
According to air travel analyst Rick Seaney, Dallas was likely selected as this new jumping off point because of its convenience: “Dallas is a centrally located U.S. business center that provides fairly convenient connectivity to the growing Latin America markets,” said Seaney, adding that, “Even though Miami in the American network has more ‘lift’ to Latin America, Dallas is more suitable to those folks in the U.S. who would typically travel to Hong Kong via the West Coast or Japan.”
New York-Haneda (Tokyo) Route Dropped
While Dallas was getting all the attention in the latest announcement, Seaney notes that American is quietly dropping its New York-Toyko Haneda route (although the airline will continue to fly non-stops from JFK to the city’s Narita airport). Said Seaney, “Apparently they just couldn’t make the financials work.”
Visa Waiver Program
Hong Kong is not currently part of the popular Visa waiver program that removes headaches and barriers for travelers to gain entry ‘permission’ at no cost (unlike waiver program participant Korea which sports a new non-stop from DFW).
Further complicating matters is the tabling of the immigration bill which included a provision for adding Hong Kong to the waiver program (which is already contentious addition due to the Edward Snowden situation including his frictionless transiting through Hong Kong).
Meanwhile, Merger Still in Limbo
It’s been a rough year for American which had hoped to be well on its way to merging with US Airways by now. Instead, the airline is heading to trial against the Department of Justice which has strong concerns about higher airfares if the merger goes through. For the moment, though, American has news to celebrate. And so, no doubt, do a lot of passengers.