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The Airline Ultimate Fighting Championship…Who Will Get the Right to Fly Direct to China?

China MapIn March of 2007, the U.S. Department of Transportation will allow one airline to initiate a daily flight from the U.S. to China. Needless to say, four of the mega-carriers are duking it out for the rights as we speak. Big surprise, considering the quantity of American business travelers regularly making the trip to take advantage of the growing American presence in the Chinese economy. Each airline offers a different point of origin, all of which will be attractive to people in different geographic areas.

Currently, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles are the only U.S. exit points flying to China. For many passengers, this means an extra connecting flight within the states. The proposed direct flights are as follows:

  • American Airlines – Dallas to Beijing. One stop options are available through Korean Air, Air China, American and United from DFW. But this one is my fav. This is the most geographically distant from the other U.S. exit points and could be a big time saver for people outside of the northeast. American claims 800 flights to and from 129 domestic destinations daily in their Dallas hub.

  • Continental – New York to Shanghai. You can already fly direct from New York to Beijing on Air China, Korean Air, All Nippon and American. Let’s don’t be greedy.

  • Northwest Airlines – Detroit to Shanghai. I disagree with this one on principle. I’m through with Northwest in general. Besides, Northwest already operates flights with one stop from Detroit to Shanghai, as does American. Other than that, Northwest does operate enough flights from various U.S. cities to Detroit to make this a decent option.

  • United Airlines – Washington to Beijing. One stop flights are currently offered through Air Canada via Toronto and Air China via Seoul. Besides, it’s a pretty easy train ride from Washington to New York.

I’m a member of each airline’s miles program, and I’ve got to say American seems to be stepping it up a notch. This morning I received an e-mail from them with the sole purpose of soliciting online petition signatures for their cause. They also have website dedicated to the cause at Way to bring it, American.