American starts flying from LAX to Sao Paulo tonight

American Airlines starts service tonight from LAX to Sao Paolo on a Boeing 777-200. Photo courtesy of American.

American Airlines starts service tonight from LAX to Sao Paolo on a Boeing 777-200. Photo courtesy of American.

American Airlines will start its new flight between Los Angeles and Sao Paulo, Brazil tonight.

American is using a Boeing 777-200 for the new daily flight, which leaves Los Angeles at 10:40 and arrives in Sao Paulo the next day at 4:25 p.m. The return leaves at 12:15 a.m. and arrives in Los Angeles at 6:40 a.m.

The 777-200 is not to be confused with the 777-300, the new long-range aircraft the carrier has been advertising. Those Jon Hamm voiced commercials are nice, but the airline actually has relatively few of these planes. (Nine, according to Wikipedia, which is a decent source for these things.)

The Brazil-bound 777-200 offers a bit of an antiquated product, especially in business class where seats are angled, not flat. When they were installed in the early 2000s, the American seats were state of the art, but since then United and Delta — as well as major international carriers — have moved to install flat seats. American has started to move toward flat beds, too, but the process is taking some time.

This might be more of a problem if American had competition on the route. Korean Airlines is the only other airline to fly between Los Angeles and Sao Paulo, though it only does so three days per week. This may seem like an odd route for Korean, but many analysts have told me that transporting passengers from Asia to South America is particularly lucrative. Los Angeles, along with Houston, Dallas and Mexico City, is well positioned as a connecting point for this traffic.

Presumably, American will fill the flight with a mixture of connecting Asian traffic, connecting U.S. traffic, and local L.A. traffic.

Here are some facts on the 777-200 lifted from American’s website:

  • The 777 is capable of cruising at altitudes up to 43,100 feet.
  • Today’s 777 operators enjoy a 99.3 percent dispatch reliability rate — the highest amongst all twin-aisle airplanes in service today.
  • A lightly loaded 777 can accelerate from zero to 60 mph (96 km/h) in less than six seconds.
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