Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

American Airlines cuts fares to US and offers bonus flights

House of Travel has Auckland-LA fares for $999 for next year, although it has only 200 seats at that price. Photo / 123rf
House of Travel has Auckland-LA fares for $999 for next year, although it has only 200 seats at that price. Photo / 123rf

Flights on American Airlines to Los Angeles have dipped below $1000 return through one travel agent and the carrier is offering free flights within the US or to Mexico or Canada for less than $100 more.

The airline is also offering business class seats about one third off normal prices as competition remains strong across the Pacific.

House of Travel has Auckland-LA fares for $999 for next year, although it has only 200 seats at that price.

Booked through the airline, return economy fares start at $1098 return - with bonus internal flights within mileage limits - and business class $4148 return.

"Book your American Airlines trip to any destination in the United States, Canada or Mexico and also enjoy the first two stopovers for free,'' the airline said.

The airline started flying daily to New Zealand in June, resuming flights after being here briefly in the 1970s.

House of Travel's marketing director Ken Freer said the $1000 mark was a trigger point for booking to the US.

"The market is really sensitive to cheap air fares at the moment - we've already been seeing what's been going on with Europe, now it's the turn of North America to have another go.''

''It's a byproduct of having three airlines flying to the United States and a continuation of the great pricing we saw early in the year.''

American Airlines planes wait to depart at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. Photo / AP
American Airlines planes wait to depart at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. Photo / AP

Freer said American's normal lead-in business class fare on a 21-day advance purchase was around $6500.

There was pressure to keep fares down to North America.

He said while fares to the US had been lower at times this year, a large number of cheap fares to Europe that had gone on sale recently for next year would ensure airlines flying to the US would keep prices sharp to ensure planes were full.

"'The New Zealand market is only so big. Because pricing has never been so competitive as it has been to Europe and when we factor in the strong New Zealand dollar against the Euro and the pound it just means these airlines flying to North America need to make sure their pricing is competitive.''

American Airlines is the world's biggest carrier and last week reported a quarterly profit of US$737 million, (NZ$1.033 billion) less than half of what the company earned in the same period last year.

- NZ Herald

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