This is a very interesting development for my hometown of Pittsburgh!
Pittsburgh airport is long past its heyday, when it was a major hub for US Airways, with multiple flights to and from Europe operating daily. Since US Airways pulled out, the airport has seen a dramatic drop in traffic, and there are even considerations to consolidate the unused terminals.
Over the past few years, though, Pittsburgh Airport has actually seen a rebound in international traffic, especially during the summer months. Delta has long operated a seasonal route, offering direct flights between Pittsburgh (PIT) and Paris (CDG) on a 767. But Condor and WOW air have also both started service there, flying non-stop to Frankfurt (FRA) and Reykjavik (KEF) respectively.
Still, flying a 777 from Pittsburgh, let alone a nonstop flight to Asia, seems unfathomable. But that’s exactly what’s happening with China Eastern’s new charter service between Pittsburgh (PIT) and Shanghai (PVG), which will “launch” August 3, 2018.
The route, to be operated by the Boeing 777-300ER, will offer 316 seats in a three-class configuration. The aircraft will feature 6 First Class seats, 52 Business Class flat bed seats, as well as 258 Economy Class seats.
The First Class seats are non-enclosed suites, and the 2 middle seats can actually be put together to form a double bed. Business Class offers a reverse herringbone product that is actually quite competitive.
Since it is a charter flight, you won’t be able to book a seat without a travel agent. However, the fares from the travel agencies actually look very reasonable. For the “inaugural” one-week trip from Pittsburgh to Shanghai, here are the fares:
- $1,098 roundtrip in Economy Class
- $2,980 roundtrip in Business Class
- $5,680 roundtrip in First Class
The press release isn’t exactly clear if this is a one-off charter, of there will at least be multiple flights running in both directions. The sale being offered seems to be for one specific set of date, but I have to wonder where the aircraft would be coming from…
I am genuinely intrigued and tempted—who’s up for an interesting flight like this one?