American Airlines announces new partnership and 3-cabin BOS/LAX service
American has officially partnered with China Southern Airlines, the largest carrier in Asia by fleet size and revenue, to offer reciprocal benefits to frequent flyer members. Loyalty members of both airlines can now earn and spend miles on the other carrier. Redemptions currently must be done with the airlines’ phone reservation agents; however, online availability is expected later this year.
In other news American has become the first airline to offer First, Business and Economy class service between Boston and Los Angeles aboard its A321T aircraft. The premium cabins include fully lie-flat seats with direct aisle access in Flagship First and lie-flat seats in Flagship Business. Customers in the First and Business will also enjoy chef-inspired multi-course meals paired with exclusive wines along with other elevated amenities. The three-class service is currently available on two of the five nonstop frequencies between Boston and Los Angeles.
New York to launch congestion pricing
New York City announced it will implement congestion pricing for vehicle traffic in the busiest parts of Manhattan. Congestion pricing has been successfully utilized in other cities such as London, Milan, Singapore and Stockholm. New York will become the first U.S. city to adopt the plan.
The tolls will apply to vehicles traveling south of 60th Street. While full details are yet to be finalized officials expect the toll to range between $10 to $12 for passenger cars, with variations based on time of day and day of the week. Higher rates will apply for commercial vehicles.
Transition to Istanbul’s New Airport expected this weekend
As a reminder Istanbul New Airport is expected to fully open this weekend. Most airlines will move the bulk of their operations from Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport to the new state-of-the-art facility starting April 6. During the transition period, many carriers will offer limited service. Travelers should watch for any last-minute changes, reconfirm travel details with their airline and double check any land arrangements they may have made.
United officially launches premium economy on some long-haul routes
Playing catch up to other airlines, United’s long-awaited premium economy product was officially launched on 15 long-haul routes from Newark, San Francisco and Washington Dulles this past weekend. The carrier said premium economy will be available on 21 routes by the end of May and expects the majority of its 186 widebody aircraft to be fully outfitted by the end of 2020.
United passengers may have already flown in the enhanced economy seating as the carrier first started equipping some of its aircraft last July. However, those seats were sold as extra-legroom economy seats during the transition period. The new premium economy package comes with an elevated meal service and other amenities in addition to the extra legroom.