Browsing Tag: A319

Big network expansion out of LAX for American, with eight new destinations all starting June 2.

Big network expansion out of LAX for American, with eight new destinations all starting June 2

On June 2, American commenced a major expansion of its route network, with 21 new nonstop routes this month. This includes 10 new destinations just from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), marking the largest expansion ever at LAX.

Thursday saw the largest number of inaugural flights, with eight ribbon-cutting ceremonies in Los Angeles that day, something the carrier had never done before in its history. I was invited to be part of the festivities and join the entourage, which included Jim Moses, the Managing Director (MD) for American at LAX. What does a day full of ribbon cutting ceremonies look like, you ask…?

London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5.

London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5

I recently had the opportunity to fly both British Airways and Iberia in short-haul economy, and talk about a 180-degree difference, especially striking when both are owned by the same parent company. While short flights don’t generally get much consideration, when one carrier offers so much more than another on the exact same route (namely between London and Madrid) for the exact same price, it’s probably better to go with the airline that will offer more and avoid the one that (spoiler alert) won’t even give you water.

Our Air France A319, parked at Gate L21 at CDG.

Our Air France A319, parked at Gate L21 at CDG

We had purchased a Premium Economy fare to fly from San Francisco to Istanbul (IST) via Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) with a 60-minute layover. While I was looking forward to checking out Air France’s medium-haul Premium Economy service from CDG-IST, the carrier quietly eliminated the class on everything but long-haul flights and placed passengers into regular Economy. Not nice.

Fast-forward to our landing at CDG — our inbound flight on the A380 was delayed taking off from SFO and spent its time circling the airport grounds, finally docking 45 minutes before our next flight.  Would we make it in time, or would we have to spend four hours waiting for the next flight and losing an entire evening in Istanbul?

Air Canada rouge's first flight takes off, from YYZ to KIN All photos courtesy: Air Canada rouge

Air Canada rouge’s first flight takes off – A319 from YYZ to KIN
All photos courtesy: Air Canada rouge

With Monday morning’s A319 flight from Toronto (YYZ) to Kingston, Jamaica (KIN), Air Canada rouge became the second new Canadian airline to begin operation in as many weeks. Rouge’s startup fleet has 2 A319-100s and 2 767-300s, all previously flown by Air Canada. Initial Caribbean destinations for the A319s are in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Costa Rica and Jamaica.

The 767s will fly to Athens, Edinburgh and Venice, all departing from Toronto or Montreal (YUL). More destinations will be added to the schedule as rouge receives additional aircraft from Air Canada. Many of their vacation routes will be transferred from Air Canada as the rouge fleet grows. They’re planning to ultimately have 20 767s and 30 A319s, as Air Canada takes delivery of 787s and additional 777s. The new airline has its own operating certificate, but is wholly-owned by Air Canada. It’ll be integrated into AC’s website and Aeroplan frequent-flier program.

Air Canada calls rouge a “new leisure airline”. It’s part of the new Air Canada Leisure Group, which includes Air Canada Vacations, which has been around for many, many years. The new Group competes with established Canadian tour operators/airlines Transat, Sunwing, and of course, Westjet. As rouge expands it’s US destinations, I wouldn’t be surprised if it tries to repatriate Canadian passengers heading to Plattsburgh and Niagara Falls NY, and Bellingham, WA for cheaper flights.