American Airlines will launch long-awaited daily nonstop service from Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Shanghai Pu Dong International Airport in Shanghai, China, on Sunday, April 2. On April 15, 1926, aviator Charles Lindbergh flew mail aboard a bi-plane from Chicago to St. Louis, for an outfit that has evolved into the world’s largest airline, and with this new flight, China becomes the latest destination added to American’s growing international network.
“The expansion of our network to China is a profoundly significant event that strengthens American as a global competitor and further enhances Chicago as one of the nation’s foremost international gateways,” said American Airlines Chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey.
“With daily nonstop service between Chicago and Shanghai, China’s largest and most dynamic business center, we will provide broad new access to China for tens of thousands of passengers and shippers in cities large and small, stimulating the market and building strong new commercial and cultural ties between our two countries.”
“I congratulate American Airlines on its new service between Chicago and Shanghai,” said Jinzhong Xu, Counsel General of China.
“This nonstop flight service will not only provide greater convenience and air travel options for passengers, it also opens a new bridge of friendship linking the two sister cities of Chicago, the largest city in the Midwest of the United States, and Shanghai, the largest city and fastest-growing business center in China. I am confident that this new service will further promote the friendly relations between the two cities as well as our two peoples.”
“American Airlines’ entry into the aviation passenger market in China is very good news for Chicago and other U.S. cities,” said Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois.
“This move will benefit not only American Airlines, but other domestic carriers as well, as this signals China’s increased willingness to open its market to foreign competition. And this competition will in turn benefit passengers, as the availability of flights to China begins to increase and ticket prices begin to decrease.”
The new Shanghai route also will be a boon to time-sensitive cargo shippers.
“As a provider of premium air cargo service on this route, we expect to facilitate the movement of both finished and raw materials between Shanghai and cities throughout our extensive network in the U.S. and Latin America,” said Dave Brooks, President - American Airlines Cargo Division.
“American provides an innovative flight specific cargo product mix and features Expedite FS(SM).”
American will operate the Shanghai flight using 245-seat Boeing 777-200 aircraft, the largest in American’s fleet.
In First Class, the 777 features 16 award-winning, customer-favorite Flagship Suite seats that transform into a fully flat six-foot, six-inch bed with drop-down armrests that allow for easier access and more sleeping space.
In addition, each suite features privacy dividers, power ports, leather headrests and a host of other comforts designed to enhance the travel experience.
Business Class passengers also will have convenient access to a number of amenities, including gourmet food, in-flight entertainment and power ports in every seat.
While First Class passengers will enjoy using a personal video player with up to 20 movie selections, Business Class and Main Cabin passengers will enjoy a personal video monitor with 10 in-seat channels.
Power ports are also available in the Main Cabin at selected seats.
In flight, passengers will enjoy American’s award-winning International Flagship Service, which features a selection of dining, beverage and entertainment options.
With assistance from the American Airlines Asian/Pacific Islander Employee Resource Group, and in conjunction with Chinese chefs based in the U.S., American created a special menu for the Shanghai flights that features both Chinese- and Western-inspired selections that will appeal to all passengers.
Examples of the new Chinese-inspired entrees include sweet and sour sea bass with steamed rice; Kung pao chicken with fried almonds, stir fried noodles, carrots and peppers; and stir fried chicken with Chinese sausage and stir fried rice.
The Western entrees include cowboy fillet with red chili onions and corn-bean ragout; boursin lasagna; eggplant ravioli; and a beef filet with red onions served in a garlic sauce.
American also will offer an award-winning wine selection and a variety of beer, soft drinks, juices and bottled water as well as Tsingtao, a popular Chinese beer.
In addition to “CBS Eye on American” television programming and movies such as “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and “Fun With Dick and Jane,” American’s Shanghai flights will feature movies in Chinese with English subtitles. In April, “B420” and “Dragon Squad” will be shown.
“From the menu to in-flight entertainment, our Asian/Pacific Islander Employee Resource Group played a vital and much-appreciated role in the planning process of the new Shanghai service, “said Arpey. “The diversity of our workforce and the input we received from our employees allows us to offer a memorable customer experience for our passengers.”
The daily nonstop service will depart Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport at 11:05 a.m. and arrive at Shanghai’s Pu Dong International Airport at 2:15 p.m. the following day, local time.
From Shanghai, American offers convenient connections to several cities within China through its long- standing partnership with China Eastern Airlines, which is based in Shanghai and is the city’s largest airline. Returning, American’s flight departs Shanghai at 4:25 p.m., arriving in Chicago at 5:00 p.m. of the same day, local time.
Passengers can connect in Chicago to more than 100 destinations served with nonstop flights by American and American Eagle.
At more than 7,000 miles, the route will be the second-longest in American’s network, behind American’s Chicago-to-Delhi route.
To commemorate the new flight, AAdvantage members can earn 15,000 bonus miles for round-trip travel in First or Business Class or 7,500 bonus miles for round-trip travel in Economy Class (Y, B, H, or K booking classes) when they fly between Chicago and Shanghai through June 30, 2006.