American Airlines

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American Airlines
Founded1930 (as American Airways)
Commenced operations1934
Focus citiesLaGuardia Airport (New York City)
Frequent-flyer programAAdvantage
Airport loungeAdmirals Club
Fleet size605
Destinations260 excl. code-shares[1]
Company sloganWe know why you fly.
Parent companyAMR Corporation
HeadquartersFort Worth, Texas, USA
Key peopleTom Horton, CEO[2]
RevenueIncrease US$ 22.17 billion (2010)[3]
Operating incomeIncrease US$ 308 million (2010)[3]
Net incomeIncrease US$ −471 million (2010)[3]
Total assetsDecrease US$ 25.09 billion (2010)[3]
Total equityDecrease US$ −3.95 billion (2010)[3]
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American Airlines
Founded1930 (as American Airways)
Commenced operations1934
Focus citiesLaGuardia Airport (New York City)
Frequent-flyer programAAdvantage
Airport loungeAdmirals Club
Fleet size605
Destinations260 excl. code-shares[1]
Company sloganWe know why you fly.
Parent companyAMR Corporation
HeadquartersFort Worth, Texas, USA
Key peopleTom Horton, CEO[2]
RevenueIncrease US$ 22.17 billion (2010)[3]
Operating incomeIncrease US$ 308 million (2010)[3]
Net incomeIncrease US$ −471 million (2010)[3]
Total assetsDecrease US$ 25.09 billion (2010)[3]
Total equityDecrease US$ −3.95 billion (2010)[3]

American Airlines, Inc., operating as American Airlines (AA), is a major U.S. airline and a subsidiary of AMR Corporation. It is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, adjacent to its largest hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. American Airlines operates an extensive international and domestic network, with scheduled flights throughout North America, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, and Asia/Pacific. On November 29, 2011, AMR Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[4][5] Chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey stepped down and was replaced by company president Thomas W. Horton.[2]

Dallas/Fort Worth is the airline's largest hub, with AA and American Eagle, AMR's regional carrier, accounting for about 85% of the traffic and 83% of the landing fees at the airport and traveling to more destinations than from its other hubs.[6] American currently operates maintenance bases at Tulsa (TUL) and Fort Worth Alliance (AFW). American announced that it will close its maintenance base at Fort Worth Alliance Airport by December 2012.[7]

American Airlines has two affiliates: American Eagle, which is a 100% regional subsidiary, and AmericanConnection, which is the code-share regional brand.[8]




A 1927 FC-2W, the oldest American Airlines plane to ever fly.
A Stinson Trimotor first operated by Century Airlines

American Airways was developed from a conglomeration of 82 small airlines through acquisitions in 1930[2] and reorganizations: initially, American Airways was a common brand by a number of independent carriers. These included Southern Air Transport in Texas, Southern Air Fast Express (SAFE) in the western US, Universal Aviation in the Midwest (which operated a transcontinental air/rail route in 1929), Thompson Aeronautical Services (which operated a Detroit-Cleveland route beginning in 1929) and Colonial Air Transport in the Northeast. Like many early carriers, American earned its keep carrying US Mail.

American Airlines before World War II

DC-3 "Flagship", American's chief aircraft type during the World War II period.

In 1934, American Airways Company was acquired by E.L. Cord, who renamed it "American Air Lines". Cord hired Texas businessman C.R. (Cyrus Rowlett) Smith to run the company.

Smith worked with Donald Douglas to develop the DC-3, which American Airlines was the first carrier to fly, beginning in 1936. American's introduction of the DC-3 made it the first airline to be able to operate a route that could earn a profit solely by transporting passenger; other carriers could still not earn a profit without carrying US Mail.[9] With the DC-3, American began calling its aircraft "Flagships" and establishing the Admirals Club for valued passengers. The DC-3s had a four-star "admiral's pennant" outside the cockpit window while the aircraft was parked, one of the most well-known images of the airline at the time.

American Airlines was first to cooperate with Fiorello LaGuardia to build an airport in New York City, and partly as a result became owner of the world's first airline lounge at the new LaGuardia Airport (LGA), which became known as the Admirals Club. Membership was initially by invitation only, but a discrimination suit decades later changed the club into a paid club, creating the model for other airline lounges.

Postwar developments

Boeing 707 freighter at EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg in France (near Basel) in 1976

After World War II, American acquired American Export Airlines, renaming it as American Overseas Airways, to serve Europe. AOA was sold to Pan Am in 1950. AA launched another subsidiary, Líneas Aéreas Americanas de Mexico S.A., to fly to Mexico and built several airports there. American Airlines provided advertising and free usage of its aircraft in the 1951 film Three Guys Named Mike.[10] Until Capital merged into United in 1961 AA was the largest American airline, which meant second largest in the world, after Aeroflot.

American Airlines was under pressure to enter the jet age so they orderd British Built De-haviland Comets. The orders were cancelled when the Comets started to get serious metal fatigue. American Airlines introduced transcontinental jet service with Boeing 707s on January 25, 1959. With its 707s American shifted to nonstop coast-to-coast flights, although it maintained feeder connections to cities along its old route using smaller Convair 990s and Lockheed Electras. American invested $440 million in jet aircraft up to 1962, launched the first electronic booking system (Sabre) with IBM (the basis of today's Travelocity) and built an upgraded terminal at Idlewild (now JFK) Airport in New York City which became the airline's largest base.[11] In the 1960s, Mattel released a series of American Airlines stewardess Barbie dolls, signifying their growing commercial success.[citation needed] Vignelli Associates designed the AA eagle logo in 1967. Vignelli attributes the introduction of his firm to American Airlines to Henry Dreyfuss, the legendary AA design consultant. The logo is still in use today.

By September 1970, American Airlines was offering its first long haul international flights from St. Louis, Chicago, and New York to Honolulu and on to Sydney and Auckland via American Samoa and Nadi.[12]

A fictitious "American Airlines Space Freighter", the Valley Forge, was the setting for the 1971 science fiction movie Silent Running, starring Bruce Dern and directed by Douglas Trumbull. The freighter featured the then-new "AA" logo on the hull, along with the crew uniforms and several set pieces.

In 1971, American acquired Trans Caribbean Airways.

On March 30, 1973, American became the first major airline to employ a female pilot when Bonnie Tiburzi was hired to fly Boeing 727s. American Airlines has been innovative in other aspects initiating several of the industry's major competitive developments including computer reservations systems, frequent flyer loyalty programs and two-tier wage scales.[13]

Revenue passenger-miles[14] (millions)(Scheduled service only)
AmericanTrans Caribbean
197520871(merged 1971)

Expansion in the 1980s and 1990s

After moving headquarters to Fort Worth from New York City in 1979, American changed its routing to a hub-and-spoke system in 1981, opening its first hubs at DFW and Chicago O'Hare. Led by its new chairman and CEO, Robert Crandall, American began flights from these hubs to Europe and Japan in the mid-1980s.

In the late 1980s, American opened three hubs for north-south traffic. San Jose International Airport was added after American purchased AirCal. American also built a terminal and runway at Raleigh-Durham International Airport for the growing Research Triangle Park nearby and to compete with USAir's hub in Charlotte. Nashville was also a hub. In 1988, American Airlines received its first Airbus A300B4-605R aircraft.

In 1990, American Airlines bought the assets of TWA's operations at London Heathrow for $445 million, giving American a hub there. The US/UK Bermuda II treaty, in effect until open skies came into effect in April 2008, barred U.S. airlines from Heathrow with the sole exceptions of American and United Airlines.

Lower fuel prices and a favorable business climate led to higher than average profits in the 1990s. The industry's expansion was not lost on pilots who on February 17, 1997 went on strike for higher wages. President Bill Clinton invoked the Railway Labor Act citing economic impact to the United States, quashing the strike.[15] Pilots settled for wages lower than their demands.

The three new hubs were abandoned in the 1990s: some San Jose facilities were sold to Reno Air, and at Raleigh/Durham to Midway Airlines. Midway went out of business in 2001. American purchased Reno Air in February 1999 and integrated its operations on August 31, 1999, but did not resume hub operations in San Jose. American discontinued most of Reno Air's routes, and sold most of the Reno Air aircraft, as they had with Air California 12 years earlier. The only remaining route from the Air California and Reno Air purchases is San Francisco to Los Angeles.

During this time, concern over airline bankruptcies and falling stock prices brought a warning from American's CEO Robert Crandall. "I've never invested in any airline", Crandall said. "I'm an airline manager. I don't invest in airlines. And I always said to the employees of American, 'This is not an appropriate investment. It's a great place to work and it's a great company that does important work. But airlines are not an investment.'" Crandall noted that since airline deregulation of the 1970s, 150 airlines had gone out of business. "A lot of people came into the airline business. Most of them promptly exited, minus their money", he said.[citation needed]

Miami became a hub after American bought Central and South American routes ("El Interamericano") from Eastern Air Lines in 1990 (inherited from Braniff International Airways but originated by Panagra). Through the 1990s, American expanded its network in Latin America to become the dominant U.S. carrier in the region.

On October 15, 1998 American Airlines became the first airline to offer electronic ticketing in the 44 countries it serves.

In 1999 American Airlines, together with British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Canadian Airlines and Qantas, founded the global airline alliance Oneworld.


Taxis await arriving passengers at the American Airlines station at LaGuardia Airport in Queens.

Robert Crandall left in 1998 and was replaced by Donald J. Carty, who negotiated the purchase of the near bankrupt Trans World Airlines (it would file for its 3rd bankruptcy as part of the purchase agreement)[16] and its hub in St. Louis in April 2001.

The merger of seniority lists remains contentious for pilots; the groups were represented by different unions. In the merger, 60 percent of former TWA pilots moved to the bottom of the seniority list at AA. Many were furloughed, and most remain on furlough. The senior TWA captains were integrated at the same seniority level as AA captains hired years later.[citation needed] All TWA captains and first officers hired in March 1989 and later were appended to the seniority list junior to American Airlines first officers hired in June 2001. The senior TWA pilots were able to stay in captain's seats at a higher pay rate with American and were working for a solvent company. The junior TWA pilots were mostly furloughed. On the AA side the captains were mostly unaffected except that AMR inherited TWA debt which decreased the solvency of their parent company. The AA first officers saw hundreds of TWA captains maintain their captain seats even as the company downsized after the 9/11 attacks and subsequent financial crises. The extensive furloughs of former TWA pilots in the wake of the 9/11 attacks disproportionately affected St. Louis and resulted in a significant influx of American Airlines pilots into this base. For cabin crews, all former TWA flight attendants (approximately 4,200) were furloughed by mid-2003 due to the AA flight attendants' union putting TWA flight attendants at the bottom of their seniority list.

American Airlines began losing money in the economic downturn that followed the September 11, 2001, attacks (in which two of its planes were destroyed). Carty negotiated wage and benefit agreements with the unions but resigned after union leaders discovered he was planning to award executive compensation packages at the same time. This undermined AA's attempts to increase trust with its workforce and to increase its productivity.[13] The St. Louis hub was also downsized.

In 2002, the airline received a 100% rating on the first Corporate Equality Index released by the Human Rights Campaign in 2002 and has maintained their rating in respect to policies on employees.[citation needed]

AA has undergone additional cost-cutting, including rolling back its "More Room Throughout Coach" program (which eliminated several rows of seats on certain aircraft), ending three-class service on many international flights, and standardizing its fleet at each hub (see below). However, the airline also expanded into new markets, including Ireland, India and mainland China. On July 20, 2005, American announced a quarterly profit for the first time in 17 quarters; the airline earned $58 million in the second quarter of 2005.

AA was a strong backer of the Wright Amendment, which regulated commercial airline operations at Love Field in Dallas. On June 15, 2006, American agreed with Southwest Airlines and the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth to seek repeal of the Wright Amendment on condition that Love Field remained a domestic airport and its gate capacity be limited.[17]

On July 2, 2008, American announced furloughs of up to 950 flight attendants, via Texas' Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act system.[18] This furlough is in addition to the furlough of 20 MD-80 aircraft.[19] American's hub at San Juan, Puerto Rico's Luiz Muñoz Marin International Airport, will be truncated from 38 to 18 daily inbound flights, but the carrier will retain service in a diminished capacity.[20]

On August 13, 2008, The Kansas City Star reported that American would move some overhaul work from its Kansas City, Missouri, base. Repairs on Boeing 757s will be made in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and some 767 maintenance will move there as well; one, possibly two, Boeing 767 repair lines will be retained at Kansas City International Airport. The narrow-body repair hangar will be shut. The city's aviation department offered to upgrade repair facilities on condition that the airline maintain at least 700 jobs.[21]

On June 26, 2009, rumors of a merger with US Airways resurfaced to much speculation within the online aviation community.

In August 2009, American was placed under credit watch, along with United Airlines and US Airways.[citation needed] All Airbus A300 jets were retired by the end of August and are currently stored in Roswell, New Mexico.[22]

On October 28, 2009, American notified its employees that it would close its Kansas City maintenance base in September 2010, and would also close or make cutbacks at five smaller maintenance stations, resulting in the loss of up to 700 jobs.[23] American closed its maintenance base at Kansas City (MCI) on September 24, 2010.[24]

MD-80 maintenance controversies

American Airlines has had repeated run-ins with the FAA regarding maintenance of its MD-80 fleet (the company is the single largest operator of the craft); the costs associated with operating these jets has affected American's bottom line. American Airlines canceled 1,000 flights to inspect wire bundles over three days in April 2008 to make sure they complied with government safety regulations.[25] This caused significant inconvenience to passengers and financial problems for the airline. American has begun the process of replacing its older MD-80 jets with Boeing 737s. The newer MD-80s will continue to serve until the recently ordered Airbus A319s, A321s and Boeing 737-800s are delivered.

In September 2009, the Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal reported that American was accused of hiding repeated maintenance lapses on at least 16 MD-80s from the FAA. Repair issues included such items as faulty emergency slides, improper engine coatings, incorrectly drilled holes and other examples of shoddy workmanship. The most serious alleged lapse is a failure to repair cracks to pressure bulkheads; the rupture of a bulkhead could lead to cabin depressurization. It is also alleged that the airline retired one airplane in order to hide it from FAA inspectors.[26][27]

Potential negotiations with Japan Airlines

On September 12, 2009, American Airlines' parent company, AMR Corporation announced that they were looking into buying some of the financially struggling Japan Airlines.[28] AMR is not the only company planning to buy a stake in the airline: rival Delta Air Lines was also looking into investing in the troubled airline, along with Delta's partner Air France-KLM. Both Delta and AF-KLM are part of SkyTeam, Oneworld's alliance rival.[29] Japan Airlines called off negotiations of the possible deal with all airlines on October 5, 2009.

On October 21, 2009, Gerard Arpey, the CEO of American Airlines, said the airline and its Oneworld Alliance of global airlines remains committed to a partnership with Japan Airlines, as long as the carrier remains a major international carrier[citation needed].

On November 18, 2009, Delta Air Lines, with help from TPG, made a bid of $1 billion for JAL to partner with them. Two days later, reports came from Japan that AA and TPG had teamed up and made a $1.5 billion cash offer to JAL, which they might consider doing.[30]

On February 9, 2010, Japan Airlines officially announced that it will strengthen its relationship with American Airlines and Oneworld.[31]

On January 11, 2011, both JAL and American Airlines announced that they will start their joint-venture operation starting April 1, 2011.[32]


Numerous American Airlines aircraft at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in 2005

In early July 2010, it was reported that American Airlines was trying to find buyers for its regional airline American Eagle. The move followed Delta Air Lines and its spin off of its wholly owned regional airlines Compass Airlines and Mesaba Airlines.[33][34]

In February 2010, the USDOT granted AA preliminary antitrust immunity to allow the airline to work with British Airways, Iberia Airlines, Finnair and Royal Jordanian Airlines on transatlantic routes.[35] The partnership was officially approved by the USDOT on July 20, 2010.[36] On October 1, American, British Airways, and Iberia launched their joint venture, enabling, among other things, frequent flyers to earn and redeem miles on each other's flights.[37]

Less than a week after American's transatlantic joint venture was launched, the DOT gave preliminary approval to American's new transpacific joint venture with Japan Airlines on October 7,[38] Japan gave final approval to the venture later that month.[39] and the immunity grant was finalized in early November 2010[40]

On March 31, 2010, American and JetBlue announced a partnership regarding the interlining of routes between the airlines.[41][42] 27 of JetBlue's destinations that are not served by American and 13 of American's international destinations from New York and Boston are included in the agreement. Also, American is giving JetBlue 8 slot pairs (a slot pair is one arrival slot and one departure slot) at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and 1 slot pair at Westchester County Airport. In return, JetBlue is giving American 12 slot pairs at JFK Airport.

On July 19, 2010, AA announced that, by the end of 2010, flyers will be able to receive either AAdvantage miles or TrueBlue points on their interline itineraries connecting in JFK or Boston.[43] Effective November 18, 2010, the two airlines will give the traveler miles in either program when flying on a qualifying route, regardless of whether the travels include an international connection.[44]

On February 16, 2010, American applied to the US Department of Transportation to begin nonstop service to Tokyo's Haneda Airport. American planned to begin service beginning October 1, 2010 from New York-JFK and Los Angeles with Boeing 777-200ER aircraft.[45] On May 7, 2010, the US Department of Transportation tentatively awarded American Airlines the right to begin nonstop service from JFK Airport to Tokyo-Haneda, but denied American's bid to serve Haneda from LAX.[46] American planned to begin service to Tokyo-Haneda from JFK on January 20, 2011; however, the airline decided to postpone the service until February 18, 2011 citing low booking demand.[47] The airline will resume service from JFK to Haneda from June 1, 2012 (during that time the JFK-Narita route will be terminated).

On October 1, 2010, American announced that it will file an application to the US Department of Transportation to operate daily nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Shanghai, China. The airline was granted approval from the US DOT to begin the Los Angeles-Shanghai route on April 5, 2011.[48] The airline is also considering on flying to Hong Kong and Guangzhou.[49]

Since late 2010, American Airlines has been involved in a dispute with two online ticketing agencies, Expedia and Orbitz.[50] This relates to American's "Direct Connect" fare booking system for large travel agents, which Expedia claimed might raise costs and was less transparent for passengers.[51] The Direct Connect allows American to exert more control over their distribution, save costs and better sell ancillary services to their customers.[52] In December 2010 American pulled their price listings from Orbitz, and on January 1, 2011, Expedia removed American Airlines' fares from their site.[53][54]

Bankruptcy (Nov 2011–present)

On November 29, 2011 AMR Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

In July 2012, American announced capacity cuts due to the grounding of several aircraft associated with its bankruptcy and lack of pilots due to retirements. American's regional airline, American Eagle, will retire 35 to 40 regional jets as well as its Saab turboprop fleet.

As of Summer 2012, American's unions are looking to merge with another airline. Reports are the possible merger partners AMR is looking at are, US Airways, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, Frontier and Virgin America.[55] Indeed, in a July 12 court filing US Airways said it supported an American Airlines request to extend a period during which only American could file a bankruptcy reorganization plan ("exclusivity period"); in the filing US Airways disclosed that it was an American Airlines creditor and "prospective merger partner. On August 31, 2012, US Airways CEO Doug Parker announced that American Airlines and US Airways had signed a nondisclosure agreement, in which the airlines would discuss their financials and a possible merger."[56]

On September 18, 2012, the airline announced it has notified more than 11,000 workers of possible job loss as part of its bankruptcy reorganization. They also said it is cutting flights by one to two percent for the rest of September and October 2012.[57]

On October 25, 2012, the airline announced its plans to hire 2,500 pilots over the next 2 years. In a letter to employees, CEO Tom Horton said American Airlines will hire new pilots to staff new international and domestic routes. Company spokesman Bruce Hicks said about 1,500 of the new hires would replace retiring pilots, or jobs that open up due to attrition. American has about 7,500 active pilots today. [58]

Company affairs and marketing


Headquarters of AMR Corporation and American Airlines

American Airlines is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, adjacent to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.[59]

Before it was headquartered in Texas, American Airlines was headquartered at 633 Third Avenue in the Murray Hill area of Midtown Manhattan, New York City.[60][61] In 1978 American announced that it would move its headquarters to a site at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in 1979. The move affected up to 1,300 jobs. Mayor of New York City Ed Koch described this move as a "betrayal" of New York City.[62] American moved to two leased office buildings in Grand Prairie, Texas.[63] The airline finished moving into a $150 million (1983 dollars), 550,000-square-foot (51,000 m2) facility in Fort Worth on January 17, 1983; $147 million in Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport bonds financed the headquarters. The airline began leasing the facility from the airport, which owns the facility.[63]


The Allied Pilots Association is the in-house union which represents the 12,000 American Airlines pilots. The union was created in 1963 after the pilots disposed of the ALPA union.[64]

Environmental record

Violations occurring over a 4½ year period – from October 1993 to July 1998 – targeted American Airlines for using high-sulfur fuel in motor vehicles at 10 major airports around the country. Under the federal Clean Air Act high sulfur fuel cannot be used in motor vehicles. American Airlines promptly identified and corrected these violations of the Clean Air Act.[65]

American Airline's wastewater treatment plant recycles water used at the base to wash aircraft, process rinse water tanks, and irrigate landscape. That alone has saved almost $1 million since 2002. In addition to that, American Airlines has also won the award for the reduction of hazardous waste that saved them $229,000 after a $2,000 investment. A bar code system is used to track hazardous waste. It has led to reduction of waste by 50 percent since 2000.[66]

In 1967, Massimo Vignelli designed the famous AA logo.[67][68] Thirty years later, in 1997, American Airlines was able to make its logo Internet-compatible by buying the domain[69] AA also corresponds to American's IATA number.


American's early liveries varied widely, but a common livery was adopted in the 1930s, featuring an eagle painted on the fuselage. The eagle became a symbol of the company and inspired the name of American Eagle Airlines. Propeller aircraft featured an international orange lightning bolt running down the length of the fuselage, which was replaced by a simpler orange stripe with the introduction of jets.

A Boeing 737 in the Astrojet livery
A Boeing 767-300ER in the current livery takes off from Manchester Airport

In the late 1960s, American commissioned Massimo Vignelli, an acclaimed industrial and graphic designer, to develop a new livery. The original design called for a red, white, and blue stripe on the fuselage, and a simple "AA" logo, without an eagle, on the tail. However, Vignelli eventually created a highly stylized eagle, which remains the company's logo to this day. In 1999, American painted a new Boeing 757 (N679AN) in its 1959 international orange livery. There is a Boeing 737–800 in the retro AstroJet livery. One Boeing 777 and one Boeing 757 are painted in standard livery with a pink ribbon on the sides and on the tail, in support for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure. One Boeing 767 is painted with a gold ribbon on the tailfin on the aircraft and on the side of the body says "Flagship Independence". American Eagle, the airline's regional airline has the same special livery on ERJ-145 aircraft.

American is the only major U.S. airline that leaves the majority of its aircraft surfaces unpainted. This was because C. R. Smith hated painted aircraft, and refused to use any liveries that involved painting the entire plane. Robert "Bob" Crandall later justified the distinctive natural metal finish by noting that less paint reduced the aircraft's weight, thus saving on fuel costs.[70] Eastern Air Lines, US Airways, Aeromexico, Flying Tigers, JAL Cargo, Jat Airways, Dominicana, Cathay Pacific Cargo and Northwest Airlines have also maintained unpainted airplanes.

SCA N905NA in 1978, with American pinstriping

NASA's Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, with the registry N905NA, originally belonged to American Airlines, and in its early years still bore the distinct American pinstriping. By the early 1980s, however, NASA decided to discontinue using the American livery and replaced it with its own livery, consisting of a white fuselage and blue pinstriping.


American Airlines Vacations

The division was initially founded over 25 years ago under the name FlyAAway Vacations. The name was eventually changed to AAV Tours. Today it operates as American Airlines Vacations (, offering vacations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, Europe, Canada, the United States, Latin America and Asia. American Airlines Vacations is the only travel company that allows payment with AAdvantage miles (or oneworld miles). The current president of American Airlines Vacations is Richard Elieson.


American Airlines destinations.
  United States
  American Airlines destinations
AA aircraft at Concourse D, Miami International Airport

American Airlines serves four continents, trailing Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, which both serve six. Hubs at Dallas/Fort Worth and Miami serve as gateways to the Americas, while American's Chicago hub has become the airline's primary gateway to Europe and Asia. New York Kennedy (JFK) is a primary gateway for both the Americas and Europe, while the Los Angeles hub (LAX) is the primary gateway to Asia. Lambert-St. Louis International Airport served as a regional hub for several years. However, the airline's 2009 restructuring led to the airport being removed as a focus city on April 5, 2010.[71] American serves the third-largest number of international destinations, after United Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

AA hubs listed by Flights (August 15, 2012)[72]
1Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas764
2Chicago-O'Hare, Illinois501
3Miami, Florida294
4Los Angeles, California159
5New York-LaGuardia, New York102
6New York-JFK, New York86

American is the only U.S. airline with scheduled flights to Bolivia and Uruguay and plans to introduce flights to Asuncion, Paraguay's capital city in November 2012.

Partnerships and codeshare agreements

American Airlines has codeshare agreements or joint-business agreements with the following Oneworld members:

In addition to its Oneworld alliance codeshares, American has signed agreements to codeshare with certain other airlines.[73]

American also operated interchange flight services in conjunction with Alaska Airlines during the 1970s between Texas and Alaska during construction of the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline. This interchange agreement allowed single, no change of aircraft service between Houston, TX and Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX, and Anchorage, AK and Fairbanks, AK. The round trip routing of this interchange flight was Houston-Dallas/Ft. Worth-Seattle-Anchorage-Fairbanks with Seattle, WA serving as the interchange point where flight and cabin crews were changed from one airline to the other. Boeing 727-200 jetliners provided by both American and Alaska Airlines were utilized to provide this interchange service.


As of April 20, 2012, the American Airlines fleet consists of 608 aircraft.[78][79] American Airlines had an average fleet age of 14.9 years in April 2012.[80] After the last of its Airbus A300 aircraft were retired in 2009, American Airlines operates an all-Boeing fleet (including aircraft produced by McDonnell Douglas before it merged with Boeing in 1997), one of only two legacy carriers which have such a fleet.[81]

This situation will soon change, as American has ordered a total of 260 Airbus aircraft to replace its aging MD-80, 757, and 767-200 jets. On July 20, 2011, American Airlines ordered 360 and took options for 465 aircraft from Boeing and Airbus, with the intention of replacing MD-80, 757–200 and 767-200 aircraft.[82][83] According to American Airlines, this is the largest purchase of aircraft in history.[84]

On-board service

American Flagship First class
American Coach class cabin

On domestic flights and flights to Canada, Central America, and areas in the Caribbean (including the Dominican Republic), American Airlines offers a buy on board program offering sandwiches and snacks for purchase. Flights two hours or longer have snacks, and flights three hours or longer have sandwiches. Transcontinental flights and Hawaii flights have the "Premium Sandwich and Chip Combo" for purchase. Buy on board service to Central America (From Miami) and the Dominican Republic began on March 1, 2009. American will continue to offer free coach meals on flights to Europe, Haiti, Asia, and select South American destinations.[85][86]

In First and Business classes, on all domestic flights of two hours or more that operate within a traditional meal time, full meal service is included. Flights with a duration longer than two and one half hours that do not fall within a meal time have snack service for those classes.[85] First Class and Business Class passengers receive alcoholic beverages for free. Non-alcoholic beverages are free for all classes. Alcoholic drinks are available for purchase on all domestic flights in Coach. Beer and wine are now free on long haul international flights to Europe and Asia and certain flights to South America. [87]

Headsets are two dollars on domestic flights and free on flights to/from Europe, Asia, India and South America. Headsets are also free to passengers in First and Business Classes.[88]


AAdvantage logo.svg

Founded in 1981, AAdvantage is the frequent flyer program of American Airlines. This program uses a system called earning "Miles". It uses the distance travelled to determine how many points are earned. [89]

Admirals Club

AA Admirals Club.png

The Admirals Club was conceived by AA president C.R. Smith as a marketing promotion shortly after he was made an honorary Texas Ranger. Inspired by the Kentucky colonels and other honorary organizations, Smith decided to make particularly valued passengers "admirals" of the "Flagship fleet" (AA called its aircraft "Flagships" at the time). The list of Admirals included many celebrities, politicians and other VIPs, as well as more "ordinary" customers who had been particularly loyal to the airline.

There was no physical Admirals Club until shortly after the opening of LaGuardia Airport. During the airport's construction, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia had an upper-level lounge set aside for press conferences and business meetings. At one such press conference, he noted that the entire terminal was being offered for lease to airline tenants; after a reporter asked whether the lounge would be leased as well, LaGuardia replied that it would, and a vice president of AA immediately offered to lease the premises. The airline then procured a liquor license and began operating the lounge as the "Admirals Club" in 1939.

The second Admirals Club opened at Washington National Airport. Because it was illegal to sell alcohol in Virginia at the time, the Club contained refrigerators for the use of its members, so they could store their own liquor at the airport. For many years, membership in the Admirals Club (and most other airline lounges) was by the airline's invitation. After a passenger sued for discrimination,[90] the Club (and most other airline lounges) switched to a paid membership program.

Membership now costs $300 to $450 a year, depending on AAdvantage frequent flyer program level (and annual renewal membership costs $250–$400); membership can also be purchased with AAdvantage miles. As of December 2010, passengers can buy a 24-hour pass for $50. American Express Platinum Cardmembers receive access to the Admirals Club as a benefit of their membership.

Flagship Lounge

Though affiliated with the Admirals Club and staffed by many of the same employees, the AA Flagship Lounge is a separate lounge specifically designed for customers flying on premium flights both within the United States and internationally. This means that only First Class passengers on 3-class aircraft, both Internationally and Transcontinentally, are granted entrance to these clubs. A 3-class aircraft operating a non-transcon AFS flight and not sold as 3-class is not considered Premium, and entrance is not granted to passengers on this type of service. Lounge access is granted to passengers on non-AA operated flights flown by select airline partners as well, again, as long as the flight has a true International First Class cabin and the passenger is booked in that class as a paying customer or on a premium cabin frequent flyer award ticket (not as an upgrade). The only exception to this rule is for OneWorld Emerald elite FF members (including AA Executive Platinum) on international flights (excluding Canada, the Caribbean, and Mexico except Mexico City), and non-AAdvantage OneWorld Emerald elite FF members on 'domestic' flights, who are granted access to the lounges travelling in any class.[91]

The added amenities of the Flagship Lounges compared to the normal Admirals Club include free alcoholic beverages including premium brands not found in the Admirals Club, free premium buffet snacks including breakfast items, salads, sandwiches, fruits, chocolates, cheeses and other light fare (options change based on time of day), as well as a less crowded, more comfortable lounge space. Additionally, complimentary Lenovo computer terminals with free internet access, complimentary T-Mobile hotspot access, and complimentary printing is available at most locations, as are shower facilities.

The first Flagship Lounge was opened at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport as a courtesy to First Class customers preparing for long flights to London and Tokyo. While the Dallas lounge is no longer open, Flagship Lounges are now available at four airports: Chicago-O'Hare, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles and New York-JFK.

Accidents and incidents

See also


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Further reading

External links