This second installment of “Award Seat Analysis” looks at the premium Los Angeles to New York JFK nonstop market and I’ve researched availability from American Airlines and United Airlines in April 2012.
I specifically searched for award seats at the minimum amount of miles required, namely MileSAAver awards on American and Saver awards on United. Any available seat is open for premium redemptions requiring double the miles and is therefore outside the scope of my research. The data below was captured on Monday, January 2, 2012 using ExpertFlyer.
American offers 10 flights per day on peak days using three-cabin 767-200 aircraft (10/30/128), while United offers 6 flights using three-cabin 757-200 aircraft (12/26/72). First, here are total award seats available for the month of April.
Even though American offers more flights and a slightly larger Business cabin, I was very surprised to see how many MileSAAver seats they opened up – far more than I would have guessed. First was similar given the cabin’s size. I was equally surprised to see the lack of economy seats on American for the LAX-JFK segment. Those 61 seats are available on only four calendar days the entire month, whereas United offers seats 18 days during the month. Graphically, the difference between carriers is more stunning.
I also like to take a deeper look into premium cabin awards where at least two seats are available on the same flight, as well as the total number of days with availability. American is incredibly generous on the LAX-JFK route, whereas you’d be hard pressed to book an award on United.
Mimicking the LAX-JFK route, American is also incredibly generous on the reverse with ample availability. I noted many peak travel days and times had excellent availability, so all these seats weren’t just on the redeyes.
Winner: American Airlines (with a nod to United). American obviously takes top prize for First and Business Class availability, but I have to wag my finger at them for coach availability on the LAX-JFK sector. That just doesn’t make sense to me unless they truly have such enormous one-way demand. As such, I have to give United a win for economy, especially given their significantly smaller cabin.