American Airlines has finally launched its first flight between Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK), after delaying the start of the service because the Chinese government initially gave the carrier take-off and landing slots that American deemed not to be commercially feasible.
The airline is operating the Beijing flight with Boeing 777-200ERs featuring 14 First Class, 37 Business Class and 194 Economy seats.
“Our new service to and from Beijing is an important milestone for our company and our customers. We long have wanted to institute Beijing service to complement our flights between Chicago to Shanghai Pudong International Airport, which began in 2006, in order to meet passenger expectations and to expand our route network,” says Virasb Vahidi, American Airlines’ senior vice president – planning.
“This new route also enhances American’s cornerstone network strategy that bolsters our presence in the five key markets of Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, New York and Los Angeles. Of these, our Chicago hub is our premier ‘Gateway to Asia and the Pacific’ with daily flights to Tokyo, Delhi, Shanghai and now Beijing,” says Vahidi.
American’s flight schedule sees the 777 flight depart ORD on Fridays and Sundays at 8:30 p.m., arriving at PEK at 11:00 p.m. next day, local time. On Tuesday and Thursdays the flight departs ORD at 9:30 p.m., arriving at PEK at 11:59 p.m. the next day, local time.
In the other direction, American’s flight to Chicago will depart PEK at 7:59 a.m. on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, arriving at ORD at 7:49 p.m. the same day, local time. On Tuesdays the flight is scheduled to depart PEK at 6:59 a.m., arriving at ORD at 6:49 p.m. the same day.
American’s Asian Pacific Islander Employee Resource Group (APIERG) has been working with Shanghai, Tokyo, Chicago, Los Angeles, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Fort Worth, Texas-based employees to plan and prepare for the new Beijing flight in the areas of menu design, Chinese-language and -culture consulting, sales and other pre-launch activities.
The airline has collaborated with celebrity chef Sam Choy to create new Asian-fusion menu items that will be featured on the flights between Chicago and Beijing. The new, enhanced menus blend the traditions of Chinese cuisine with the flavors of Western fare. Chef Choy is a four-time nominee for the James Beard Best Pacific Regional chef award. American has called on Choy’s culinary expertise in the past by collaborating with him to design premium-class menus for Hawaii flights in 2007 and for flights between the U.S. and Tokyo in February 2010.
American will have Mandarin-speaking flight attendants on each Beijing flight and premium passengers will be able to read a host of different newspapers while on board the aircraft, including the Wall Street Journal Asia, USA Today Asia, and the Beijing Morning Post.
Additionally, two Chinese movies in Mandarin will be available for viewing, ‘The Rebellion’ and ‘Storm Warriors’. In various cabins, American also will offer six films with Chinese subtitles: Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, The Invention of Lying, The Blind Side, Michael Jackson’s This Is It, and Planet 51.
AAdvantage members who fly round-trip from Chicago to Beijing between May 25 and August 31, 2010, can earn 15,000 AAdvantage bonus miles for travel on First Class or Business Class tickets, or up to 10,000 AAdvantage bonus miles for travel in Economy class. Customers need to register prior to travel to qualify. To register and obtain more details visit www.aa.com/offers.