New international flights coming to Atlanta

Recently, two interesting new international flights for Atlanta have been announced. As you might expect, one involves Delta Air Lines. The other involves a SkyTeam partner that would generally be similarly unsurprising. What was unexpected was the destination and aircraft for that flight.

Delta to launch Atlanta-Shanghai flight

Delta will launch service between Atlanta and Shanghai in July 2018 using a Boeing 777-200LR (Photo: Delta Air Line) (click to enlarge)

Beginning in July 2018, Delta Air Lines will begin service between Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport. From Delta's press announcement:

The new Atlanta flight will be Delta’s fourth U.S. gateway to Shanghai, complementing existing service from Detroit, Seattle and Los Angeles. The flight will provide convenient one-stop access to more than 150 destinations in the U.S. and Latin America from Shanghai. In addition, the flight will also provide access to more than 50 destinations in China with codeshare partner China Eastern.
— "Partnership with China Eastern Airlines will provide convenient connection options to interior China" - Delta News Hub
Delta Air Lines Atlanta-Shanghai service

Delta Air Lines Atlanta-Shanghai service

The proposed schedule is:

Atlanta - Shanghai

Flight: DL 185
Departs: 3 PM
Arrives: 6:50 PM (+1 day)

Shanghai - Atlanta

Flight: DL 186
Departs: 11:40 AM
Arrives: 2:55 PM

The flight is slated to be operated by a Boeing 777-200LR which features "37 lie-flat seats with direct aisle access in Delta One, 36 seats in Delta Comfort+ and 218 seats in the Main Cabin." Unlike many airlines today, Delta offers more passenger comfort in 777 economy by maintaining nine-abreast seating as opposed to the increasingly common ten-abreast. Starting in 2018, Delta will bring the Delta One suite, recently launched on its new Airbus A350, to its 777 fleet.

As usual with Delta international announcements, I have mixed emotions. New international destinations from Atlanta, where I live, are always welcome. However, given that I do not travel internationally more than once a year and being a commercial aviation buff, I want to use those limited opportunities to fly on "exotic" international carriers rather than Delta which I fly almost exclusively domestically. That being said, I am very intrigued by the Delta One suite and my dream trip is to China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore (in some combination), so perhaps I can combine these aspirations in the coming years!

Air France to launch flights to Atlanta from...the Caribbean?

A couple of days ago, I was reading one of my must read travel/points/miles blogs, One Mile at a Time, and I saw the following headline: "Air France is Launching a New Route to Atlanta...With an A320!" As you might expect, I was shocked that Air France would - or even could - fly an A320 from, presumably, Paris to Atlanta. I was also disappointed because I thought that, if I were flying Air France out of Atlanta, I would want to fly a more exciting plane than an A320. But, alas, I had jumped too quickly to a conclusion.

Air France will launch service between Pointe-à-Pitre and Atlanta using an Airbus A320 (Photo: Wikipedia) (Click to enlarge)

Pointe-à-Pitre to Atlanta service by Air France

Pointe-à-Pitre to Atlanta service by Air France

Turns out, Air France bases two A320s in the Caribbean for regional Caribbean service centered on Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe. Beginning November 21, 2017, Air France will inaugurate twice weekly service between Pointe-à-Pitre and Atlanta. Who knew Air France would ever serve Atlanta from anywhere except France and with a narrow-body aircraft to boot! The flights make sense. As a SkyTeam partner to Delta, Air France could feed passengers into Atlanta as the natural connection point for either US domestic flights or international service aboard Delta flights.