American has announced how they will utilize the new flights they were awarded to fly to Tokyo Haneda airport. When the Department of Transportation made some additional slots available, American, Delta Hawaiian and United all bid on them. American tried for 4 new frequencies, twice daily from Dallas, an additional flight from Los Angeles, and one from Las Vegas. Ultimately they were granted one DFW flight and an additional LAX flight. Starting in 2020, AA will have 3 daily flights to Tokyo Haneda. These new flights will be available for purchase starting September 30, 2019, and flights start March 30, 2020.
American’s New Flights to Haneda
The new flight from DFW is a pretty typical flight time for US to Asia flights, with a midday departure, and afternoon arrival. The somewhat surprising part of this is that it will be operated by the 777-300ER, which means First Class, and those flyers get access to the new Flagship First Dining before departure at DFW. Further back, the 77W has my favorite seat that is offered in American Business Class, the Zodiac Cirrus seat.
The second daily flight from Los Angeles to Haneda has somewhat unusual flight times, with early morning arrivals on both ends. Not my preferred flight time, but it might work for some. Both flights between LAX and HND are operated by American’s newest longhaul plane, the Boeing 787-9. This plane has a nice business class seat, Super Diamond From Collins Aerospace, which is available on AA’s 789s and some 777s, as well as on many other carriers. This has newer finishes than the 77W business class seat, but I still prefer the Cirrus seat.
Will These Tokyo Haneda Flights Supplement or Replace Narita Flights?
Mostly the latter. From the always reliable AA insider JonNYC, American will move all of their LAX flights to Haneda, completely eliminate the ORD flight, and only keep one daily flight from DFW to Narita. Both ORD and DFW still have daily flights to Narita operated by JAL. Here is a summary of AA’s plans for Japan flights:
Haneda is much closer to the center of Tokyo than the more remote Narita. For those going to Tokyo, this is typically much more convenient. It makes sense AA (and others) is shifting more traffic to Haneda. The days of Tokyo Narita as a major connecting hub seem to mostly be numbered. As more international flights shift to Haneda, it is more convenient for most flyers. Convenience is a factor, but this change is also due to more point to point flying on planes with longer range, rather than a need for a connecting hub.
Final Thoughts on These Changes
This change consist of mostly shifting around their Japan flights, with more flights to Haneda, and less to Narita. There is a slight decrease in capacity. This includes cutting the last Asia flight from Chicago, which is now down to 3 times per week on a 234 seat 787-8. The new Haneda flight from DFW will bring slightly more capacity via the 77W, with 304 seats daily. That is replacing one of the DFW to NRT flights, currently with 273 seats on a 777-200ER and no first class. In LAX, the NRT flight is going away, and seating is increasing slightly on the more dense 789 configuration with double flights to Haneda. More detailed analysis on these changes to come from Vinay.