In anticipation of a jump in demand over the summer months, American Airlines will operate a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on its route to Anchorage, Alaska. When the seasonal route resumes in May, the airline will begin by using an Airbus A321neo. The Dreamliner will only operate this route from June 3rd to August 16th.
American Airlines is preparing for a summer travel boom across some of its domestic network. The airline is increasing its capacity on the daily flight connecting Fort Worth, Texas, with Anchorage, Alaska.
Usually, the airline operates an Airbus A321neo on the route, which is configured with 196 seats. The number of seats available will temporarily increase to 285 from June 3rd when the airline begins operating its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the route.
The Dallas Fort Worth – Anchorage flight AA867 departs at 15:35, arriving in Alaska at 19:30. It then leaves Anchorage at 20:40, arriving in Texas at 06:40 the following morning. The route is seasonal and is set to resume on May 6th.
A seasonal route becoming permanent
The airline usually ups capacity on this route during the summer months and flew the slightly smaller 787-8 Dreamliner on this route in Summer 2019. The smaller 787-8 Dreamliner has 234 seats. American will only use the Dreamliner until August 16th. According to Airwaysmag.com, after this date, the A321neo will return to the route.
However, the airline is hoping demand will continue. Normally, the airline suspends the route from October as demand drops in the winter months. However, the current schedule suggests the A321neo will continue flying this route until at least January 2022, making it permanent for the foreseeable future.
Increased domestic capacity
As the US is looking to introduce widespread mandatory testing for domestic air travel, we will likely see more airlines upping capacity on domestic routes. The US carriers have been slashing routes to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia in favor of domestic routes and routes to South and Latin America.
As such larger widebodies such as American’s Dreamliners are available to provide increased capacity on routes, they don’t normally operate. The US carriers are now offering so many seats on domestic routes that they top the list of largest carriers in the world right now.
American Airlines isn’t the only US carrier looking to increase capacity and capture more passengers over the summer. Alaska Airlines is also looking to increase capacity, although it may do this by resuming flights rather than switching aircraft. Hawaiian Airlines is also looking to add more flights to its schedule to increase capacity on domestic routes.
Arguably the airline with the most to gain in terms of capacity is Delta Air Lines. The other carriers have the choice of resuming more routes, upping the frequency, or operating larger aircraft. All these options come with additional costs.
Delta has a fourth option. Delta is still blocking middle seats until the end of April. This means that come May, Delta can lift its restrictions and boost its capacity with minimal additional expense. This could give it an edge over its competitors. Of course, a boom in travel demand before the end of April could also mean it is losing out.
What do you think of the domestic travel market in the US? Will we see a boom over the spring and summer months? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.