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Air France’s LAX-London Open Skies Experiment Ends

Delta put out a press release last week entitled “Delta to Offer 180-Degree Full Flat Beds to Heathrow From New York and Atlanta.” Sounds thrilling right? Not so much. But buried in that release was a little note that says “Air France has announced that it intends to discontinue Air France Ends LAX LHRservice between Los Angeles and Heathrow as it adds the new nonstop Heathrow flight from New York.”

Very interesting. So the first true Open Skies experiment, where one European airline flew from another European country to the US, has ended in failure. Is anyone really surprised?

This route was questionable from the beginning but it was doomed within a few months. When Air France first announced it would fly the route, I was surprised. You can already fly nonstop from LAX to London on BA, Virgin Atlantic, United, American, and even Air New Zealand. So was there really a need for yet another flight?

Probably not, but there wasn’t a SkyTeam presence on the route, and Delta was in the midst of building up its LA hub operation. So, Air France must have thought it was worth a shot. Apparently, they were wrong.

I would be surprised if the route ever looked good, but once Delta dismantled its hub operation in LA, that had to be the death knell. Without any Delta feed, I can’t imagine this one had a shot. Now Air France will instead fly one flight a day from New York to London to complement Delta’s two flights. What’s the point? They want a piece of the rapidly shrinking financial services business? This seems like somewhat of a waste of a 777 to me, but maybe they’ll find a way to make this one work better than they did in LA.

Something tells me that Air France shouldn’t be focusing on London, but that’s for them to figure out.

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