Last modified on 26 March 2015, at 15:28

American Airlines

American Airlines
American Airlines logo 2013.svg
Founded 1930 (as American Airways)
Commenced operations 1934
Focus cities LaGuardia Airport (New York)
Frequent-flyer program AAdvantage
Airport lounge Admirals Club
Alliance Oneworld
Fleet size 627 (mainline only)
Destinations 273 (excluding US Airways exclusive destinations) excl. code-shares[1]
Company slogan The new American is arriving.
Parent company American Airlines Group
Headquarters Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Key people
Revenue Increase US$ 26.743 billion (2013)[2]

American Airlines, Inc. (AA) is a major United States airline. It operates an extensive international and U.S. domestic network, with scheduled flights throughout North America, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, and Asia. Its route network centers on five hubs at Dallas/Fort Worth, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. Its primary maintenance base is located at Tulsa International Airport (TUL). The company is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas.

American Airlines is a member airline of the Oneworld airline alliance, and coordinates fares, services, and scheduling with British Airways, Finnair, and Iberia in the transatlantic market and with Japan Airlines and Qantas in the transpacific market. Envoy Air, SkyWest, Inc., Republic Airways Holdings, SkyWest Airlines, and ExpressJet Airlines operate regional flights for American Airlines under the American Eagle brand.[3]

The former parent company of American Airlines, AMR Corporation, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2011,[4][5] and in February 2013 announced plans to merge with US Airways Group, creating the largest airline in the world.[6] AMR and US Airways Group completed the merger on December 9, 2013, with the new holding company American Airlines Group, Inc. being listed on NASDAQ that day,[7] although the actual integration of the airlines under a single air operator's certificate will not be completed until a much later date.[8] The combined airline will carry the American Airlines name and branding, and will maintain the existing US Airways hubs in Charlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C., for a period of at least five years under the terms of a settlement with the US Department of Justice and several state attorneys general.[9][10]



American Airlines has merged with several carriers since its formation in 1930 (which itself happened by a merger of 80 carriers), these have included Trans Caribbean Airways in 1971,[11] Air California in 1987, Trans World Airlines (TWA) London Heathrow Airport Routes in 1990,[11] Reno Air in 1999,[11] Trans World Airlines (TWA) itself in 2001,[11] and US Airways in 2013.

Early historyEdit

1927 American Airways FC-2
A Stinson Trimotor first operated by Century Airlines

American Airways was developed from a conglomeration of 82 small airlines through acquisitions in 1930[12] and reorganizations: initially, American Airways was a common brand by a number of independent carriers. These included Southern Air Transport[13] in Texas, Southern Air Fast Express (SAFE)[14] in the western United States, Universal Aviation[15] in the Midwest (which operated a transcontinental air/rail route in 1929), Thompson Aeronautical Services[16] (which operated a Detroit-Cleveland route beginning in 1929), and Colonial Air Transport[17] in the Northeast. Like many early carriers, American earned its keep carrying U.S. Mail. By 1933 American Airways operated a transcontinental route network serving 72 cities, mostly in the northeastern, midwestern, and southwestern United States.[18]

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. Smith to run the company. Smith worked with Donald Douglas to develop the DC-3, which American Airlines was first to fly, in 1936. American's DC-3 made it the first airline to be able to operate a route that could earn a profit solely by transporting passengers; other carriers could not earn a profit without U.S. Mail.[19] 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. American operated daily overnight transcontinental service between New York and Los Angeles through Dallas/Fort Worth and other intermediate stops, advertising the service as an "all-year southern route."[20]

American Airlines was the first to cooperate with Fiorello LaGuardia to build an airport in New York City,[citation needed] and became owner of the world's first airline lounge at the new LaGuardia Airport (LGA), known as the Admirals Club. Membership was initially by invitation only, later changing to an open policy that accepted members who paid dues.[21]

Post warEdit

American Airlines BAC 1-11 short haul jet airliner at Cleveland Hopkins Airport in 1971 wearing the early jet era color scheme

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, American Airlines 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.[22] Until Capital merged into United in 1961 AA was the largest American airline, which meant second-largest in the world, after Aeroflot.[citation needed]

American Airlines ordered British-built De Havilland Comets; the orders were cancelled when the Comets were found to suffer serious metal fatigue. American Airlines introduced transcontinental Boeing 707s on 25 January 1959 and invested $440 million in jet aircraft up to 1962;[citation needed] launched the first electronic booking system, Sabre, with IBM (the basis of today's Travelocity); and built a terminal at Idlewild (now JFK) Airport in New York City, which became the airline's largest base.[23] Vignelli Associates designed the AA eagle logo in 1967.[24] Vignelli attributes the introduction of his firm to American Airlines to Henry Dreyfuss, the legendary AA design consultant. The logo was in use until January 17, 2013.

In 1970 American Airlines had flights from St. Louis, Chicago, and New York to Honolulu and on to Sydney and Auckland via American Samoa and Nadi, Fiji.[25] 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.[26]

Revenue passenger-miles[27] (millions) (Scheduled service only)
American Trans Caribbean
1951 2,554
1955 4,358
1960 6,371 208
1965 9,195 433
1970 16,623 819
1975 20,871 (merged 1971)
Boeing 707 of American Freighter at EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg in France (near Basel) in 1976

American operated a cargo operation called American Freighter until 1984, using cargo-only Boeing 707 and Boeing 747 aircraft that had previously been used in passenger service.[28]


After moving its headquarters to Fort Worth, Texas from New York City in 1979,[29] American Airlines changed to a hub-and-spoke system in 1981, opening its first hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. American opened a second hub in the new Terminal 3 at Chicago O'Hare in 1982, and began transatlantic service between Dallas and London in May 1982.[citation needed] Led by its new chairman and CEO, Robert Crandall, American expanded its service from these hubs through the 1980s, adding service to other European destinations as well as Japan.

In the late 1980s, American Airlines opened three hubs for north-south traffic. San Jose International Airport was added after American purchased AirCal. American built a terminal and runway at Raleigh-Durham International Airport for the growing Research Triangle Park nearby,[citation needed] and to compete with USAir's hub in Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. Nashville International Airport was also added as a hub. American also planned a north-south hub at Stapleton International Airport in Denver during the mid-1980s, but postponed those plans due to the planned development of Denver International Airport.[30]

Revenue Passenger-Kilometers, scheduled flights only, in millions
Year Traffic
1980 45,347
1985 71,027
1991 132,313
1995 165,247
2000 187,542
2005 222,449
Source: IATA World Air Transport Statistics

In 1990, American Airlines bought the assets of TWA's operations at London Heathrow for $445 million. Until open skies came into effect in April 2008, American Airlines and United Airlines were the only U.S. carriers permitted to serve Heathrow.[citation needed]

Lower fuel prices and a favorable[vague] business climate led to higher profits in the 1990s.[citation needed] 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.[31] 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.[citation needed] Midway went out of business in 2001. American Airlines purchased Reno Air in February 1999 and integrated its operations on 31 August 1999,[citation needed] 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 it did with Air California 12 years earlier. The only remaining route from the Air California and Reno Air purchases is from 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.[32]

Miami International Airport became a hub after American Airlines bought Central and South American routes ("El Interamericano") from Eastern Air Lines in 1990 (inherited from Braniff International Airways but originated by Pan American-Grace Airways which was known as Panagra). Through the 1990s, American Airlines 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.[citation needed]

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


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 third bankruptcy as part of the purchase agreement)[33] and its hub in St. Louis in April 2001.

American Airlines began losing money in the economic downturn that followed the September 11, 2001 attacks, which destroyed two of its planes. 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.[26] The St. Louis hub was downsized, AA rolled back its "More Room Throughout Coach" program (which eliminated several rows of seats on certain aircraft), ended three-class service on many international flights,[citation needed] and standardized its fleet at each hub. 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.[34]

The 2008 financial crisis again placed strain on the airline. On July 2, 2008, American furloughed of up to 950 flight attendants, via Texas' Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act system,[35] in addition to the furlough of 20 MD-80 aircraft.[36] American's hub at Luiz Muñoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico was truncated from 38 to 18 daily inbound flights.[37] All Airbus A300 jets were retired by the end of August 2009 and are stored in Roswell, New Mexico.[38]

Boeing 767–300ER taking off

American also closed its Kansas City overhaul base, inherited from TWA. On August 13, 2008, The Kansas City Star reported that American would move some overhaul work from the base, with repairs on Boeing 757s moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma along with one or two Boeing 767 repair lines; the city's aviation department offered to upgrade repair facilities on condition that the airline maintain at least 700 jobs.[39] On October 28, 2009, American notified its employees that it would close the Kansas City 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.[40] American closed its maintenance base at Kansas City (MCI) on September 24, 2010.[41]

American had repeated run-ins with the FAA regarding maintenance of its MD-80 fleet, canceling 1,000 flights to inspect wire bundles over three days in April 2008 to make sure they complied with government safety regulations.[42] 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.[43][44] American began the process of replacing its older MD-80 jets with Boeing 737s and Airbus A319s and A321s.

American was a key player in the 2009-2011 restructuring of Japan Airlines. In September 2009, AMR Corporation showed interest in buying part of the financially struggling JAL,[45] while rival Delta Air Lines was also looking into investing in the troubled airline along with its SkyTeam partner Air France-KLM.[46] Japan Airlines called off negotiations of the possible deal with all airlines on October 5, 2009. Delta, with help from TPG, made a bid of $1 billion in November 2009 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.[47] In February 2010, JAL officially announced that it would strengthen its relationship with American Airlines and Oneworld.[48] This led to an enhanced joint venture between American and JAL beginning April 1, 2011.[49]


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.[50][51]

American began a joint venture with British Airways and Iberia Airlines in October 2010, which included frequent flyer reciprocity.[52] The USDOT granted AA preliminary antitrust immunity for the venture in February 2010,[53] and the partnership was officially approved by the USDOT on 20 July 2010.[54]

American also began an interlining partnership with JetBlue Airways in March 2010,[55] which covered 27 JetBlue destinations not served by American and 13 American international destinations from New York and Boston. American gave JetBlue eight slot pairs (arrival and departure slots) at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and one slot pair at Westchester County Airport, in return for which JetBlue gave American 12 slot pairs at JFK Airport. Effective November 18, 2010, the two airlines would give travelers miles in either airline's frequent flyer program when flying on a qualifying route, regardless of whether the travels include an international connection.[56]

American expanded its service to Asia. It was one of the initial US bidders in February 2010 to serve Tokyo's Haneda Airport,[57] and was awarded rights to serve Haneda from New York JFK.[58] American planned to begin JFK-Haneda service in January 2011, but postponed the service until February 2011 citing low booking demand,[59] ultimately terminating its JFK-Narita service in favor of JFK-Haneda service in June 2012. American also began service between Los Angeles and Shanghai in 2011[60] and between Dallas/Fort Worth and Seoul in 2013,[61] and from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to both Shanghai and Hong Kong in the summer of 2014, providing the first ever nonstop service between Dallas/Fort Worth and China.[62]

Since late 2010, American Airlines has been involved in a dispute with two online ticketing agencies, Expedia and Orbitz.[63] 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.[64] The Direct Connect allows American to exert more control over its distribution, save costs, and better sell ancillary services to its customers.[65] In December 2010, American pulled its price listings from Orbitz, and on 1 January 2011, Expedia removed American Airlines' fares from its site.[66][67]

American placed the "largest aircraft order in history" in July 2011, purchasing 460 "next generation" Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft for delivery between 2013 and 2022. These aircraft were designated to replace American's short and medium-haul fleet of 757-200, 767-200, and MD-80 aircraft, eventually consolidating the fleet around four aircraft families (Boeing 737, Airbus A320, Boeing 787, and Boeing 777).[68] American Airlines became the second U.S. carrier to receive the new Boeing 787 in January 2015. [69]

Bankruptcy of AMR CorporationEdit

An American Airlines Boeing 737-800 with new livery taking off from Montréal airport in 2013

AMR Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on 29 November 2011, and American began capacity cuts in July 2012 due to the grounding of several aircraft associated with its bankruptcy and lack of pilots due to retirements. American's regional airline, American Eagle, was to retire 35 to 40 regional jets as well as its Saab turboprop fleet. American ceased its service to Delhi, India in March 2012.[70]

By summer 2012, American was considering merging with another airline as part of its restructuring plan. AMR was reportedly considering merger proposals involving US Airways, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and Virgin America.[71] 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, American Airlines and US Airways signed a nondisclosure agreement, which stated that the airlines would discuss their financials and a possible merger.[72]

American notified more than 11,000 workers of possible job loss as part of its bankruptcy reorganization, and cut flights by one to two percent in September and October 2012.[73] In October, the airline announced plans to hire 2,500 pilots over two years to staff new international and domestic routes, with about 1,500 of the new hires replacing retiring pilots or jobs that open up due to attrition.[74] The Allied Pilots Association, representing pilots of American Airlines, voted in December 2012 to ratify a tentative agreement between the company and the union.[75]

In January 2013, American introduced a new logo, livery, and brand image, unveiling the livery on its first Boeing 777-300 aircraft which went into service later that month.[76]

Merger with US AirwaysEdit

American's first Airbus A319 ready for delivery in July 2013 at Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport.

On February 14, 2013, AMR Corporation and US Airways Group officially announced that the two companies would merge to form the largest airline (and airline holding company) in the world, with bondholders of American Airlines parent AMR owning 72% of the new company and US Airways shareholders owning the remaining 28%. The combined airline would carry the American Airlines name and branding, while US Airways' management team, including CEO Doug Parker, would retain most operational management positions, and the headquarters would be consolidated at American's current headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.[9][77] The merger would create the world's largest airline, which, along with United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, would control three-quarters of the U.S. market.[6] Bankruptcy judge Sean Lane approved the merger in March while refusing to approve American CEO Tom Horton's $20 million golden parachute as being "inappropriate".[78]

The United States Department of Justice, along with attorneys general from six states and the District of Columbia, filed a lawsuit in August 2013 seeking to block the merger, arguing that it would mean less competition and higher prices. Both American Airlines and US Airways said that they would fight the lawsuit and continue with their merger after regulatory approval.[79] On November 12, the airlines reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department and several state attorneys general to settle the lawsuit and allow the merger to be finalized.[80]

An antitrust suit, filed by a group of 40 passengers and travel agents, also sought to block the merger.[81] However, American's bankruptcy court judge refused to enjoin the two airlines from merging, saying that the group did not demonstrate that the merger would irreparably harm them.[82] The plaintiffs' lawyer appealed and was turned down at the U.S. District Court level and was further rebuffed at the Supreme Court after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg denied a stay request filed by him.[83]

On March 25, 2015, it was announced that both American and US Airways is expected to receive a single operating certificate from the FAA on April 8, 2015.[84]

Corporate affairsEdit


American Airlines is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, adjacent to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.[85] The headquarters is located in two office buildings in the CentrePort office complex and these buildings together have about 1,400,000 square feet (130,000 m2) of space. As of 2014 over 4,300 employees work at this complex.[86]

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.[87][88] In 1979 American moved its headquarters to a site at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which affected up to 1,300 jobs. Mayor of New York City Ed Koch described the move as a "betrayal" of New York City.[89] American moved to two leased office buildings in Grand Prairie, Texas.[90] The airline finished moving into a $150 million ($355178750.42 when adjusted for inflation), 550,000-square-foot (51,000 m2) facility in Fort Worth on January 17, 1983; $147 million (about $348075175.41 when adjusted for inflation) in Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport bonds financed the headquarters. The airline began leasing the facility from the airport, which owns the facility.[90]

U.S. Federal Government SubsidiesEdit

As of November 2013 American Airlines and American Eagle received $10,011,836 in annual federal subsidies for Essential Air Services.[91]

Labor unionsEdit

ALPA, AFA, and TWU are affiliated with AFL-CIO, while APA and APFA are not.

Environmental recordEdit

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.[93]

American Airlines' 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.[94]

American Airlines VacationsEdit

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.


Corporate identityEdit


American Airlines' former logo, in use from 1967 until 2013

In 1967, Massimo Vignelli designed the famous AA logo.[98][99] Thirty years later, in 1997, American Airlines was able to make its logo Internet-compatible by buying the domain AA is also American's two-letter IATA airline designator.

On January 16, 2013, American launched a new rebranding and marketing campaign with FutureBrand dubbed, "A New American". This included a new logo replacing the classic 1967 logo. American Airlines calls the new logo the "Flight Symbol", incorporating the eagle, star, and "A" of the classic logo.[100]


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

In the late 1960s, American commissioned designer Massimo Vignelli 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; instead, Vignelli created a highly stylized eagle, which remained the company's logo until 2013. In 1999, American painted a new Boeing 757 (N679AN) in its 1959 international orange livery. One Boeing 777 and one Boeing 757 were 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 757 is painted with a yellow 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.

AA "Flagship Freedom", labeled with a "yellow awareness ribbon" symbol, representing support of the United States Armed Forces overseas operations.

On January 17, 2013, American unveiled a new livery.[101] Before then, American had been the only major U.S. airline to leave most 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.[102]

In January 2013, American launched a new rebranding and marketing campaign dubbed, "A New American". In addition to a new logo, American Airlines introduced a new livery for all aircraft in the fleet. The airline calls the new livery and branding "a clean and modern update".[100] The current design features an abstract American flag on the tail, along with a silver-painted fuselage, as a throw-back to the old livery. The new design was painted by Leading Edge Aviation Services in California.[103] Doug Parker, the incoming CEO indicated that the new livery could be short-lived, stating that "maybe we need to do something slightly different than that ... The only reason this is an issue now is because they just did it right in the middle, which kind of makes it confusing, so that gives us an opportunity, actually, to decide if we are going to do something different because we have so many airplanes to paint".[104] On December 16, 2013 Doug Parker CEO of American Airlines Group announced that TWA heritage aircraft will be added in the future "We will continue that tradition at American, including introducing a TWA aircraft in the future and keeping a US Airways livery aircraft. That also means we will keep a heritage American livery in the fleet".


  • Current; AA/US merger – "The new American is arriving." (With the introduction of new logo and branding in 2013.) [105]
  • 2011-13: – "Be yourself. Nonstop."
  • 2000s-13: – "We know why you fly." (Spanish: "Sabemos por qué vuelas") [106]
  • AA/TWA merger – "Two great airlines, one great future." [107]
  • 2001 (post-9/11) – "We are an airline that is proud to bear the name: American." [108]
  • 1998 - early 2000s - "New York's Bridge To The World" (Used for marketing in the New York metropolitan area.)
  • Early – mid-1990s – "We Mean Business In Chicago." (Used for marketing in the Chicago market.) [109]
  • 1988 – mid-1990s – "Based Here. Best Here." (Used for marketing in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.) [110]
  • 1988 – "The On-Time Machine." [111]
  • Late 1980s – "No other Airline gives you more of America, than American."
  • 1984–2000 – "Something special in the air." (Several variants of this slogan existed. Variant used on the website: "Something special online.", Spanish variant: "Todo es especial, tú eres especial.", Variant used to market European routes: "Something special to Europe." Variant used with the previous tune: "We're American Airlines. Something special in the air.") [112]
  • 1982 – late 1980s – "En American, tenemos lo que tú buscas." (Spanish slogan, translated to "At American, we've got what you're looking for").
  • 17 March 1975 – 1984 – "We're American Airlines. Doing what we do best." (The tune used for the campaign would be retained for several years with the "Something special in the air" slogan).[113]
  • 1971 – 1975 – "Our passengers get the best of everything." (also known as "You get the best of everything.") [114]
  • 1969 – 1971 – "It's good to know you're on American Airlines." [115]
  • 1967 – 1969 – "Fly the American Way." [116]
  • 1964 – 1967 – "American built an airline for professional travelers." (also known as "You'll love it.") [117]
  • 1950s – 1964 – "America's Leading Airline."


An American Airlines Boeing 777-200ER with the new livery departing Shanghai Pudong Airport in 2013.

As of April 2014, the American Airlines fleet consists of 627 aircraft.[118] After retiring its last Airbus A300 aircraft in 2009, American Airlines operated an all-Boeing fleet (including aircraft produced by McDonnell Douglas before it merged with Boeing in 1997), until the first Airbus A319 aircraft entered the fleet in July 2013.[119]

On July 20, 2011, American Airlines ordered 360 and took options for 465 aircraft from Airbus and Boeing, with the intention of replacing its MD-80, 757–200 and 767-200 aircraft.[120][121] According to American Airlines, this is the largest purchase of aircraft in aviation history.[122]

On-board service and cabinEdit

American Admirals Club in 2007
Flagship Suite on a Boeing 777-300ER
First class seat on an A321

Starting around 2009, some U.S. domestic flights and flights to Canada, Central America, and areas in the Caribbean (including the Dominican Republic), American Airlines offers sells sandwiches and snacks for purchase in economy class. American has free coach meals on flights to Europe, Haiti, Asia, and select South American destinations.[123][124]

Similarly, headsets are offered for a fee on U.S. domestic flights in economy class but are free on flights to/from Europe, Asia, India, and South America and business and first class[125]

Flagship SuiteEdit

The international first class product is found on all Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, and 777-200ER aircraft that have not been retrofitted with new cabins.[126] The first class cabin on Boeing 777-200ER aircraft is being removed in favor of an expanded business class cabin with new seats.

Domestic first classEdit

American operates three-class A321T aircraft on transcontinental routes from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco.[127] The first class seats are very similar to the business class seats on Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

International business classEdit

Most Boeing 767-300 and 777-200ER aircraft have angled lie-flat seats. These aircraft are being retrofitted with fully flat seats.[128] All 777-300ER aircraft were delivered with fully flat seats installed. American Airlines will also begin service of its Boeing 787 Dreamliners starting on May 7. They will feature a business class similar to that on the 777-300ER, with no first class.[129]

Domestic business classEdit

A321 transcontinental aircraft have fully flat business class in a 2-2 configuration, compared with 1-1 in first class.


Main article: AAdvantage

AAdvantage is the frequent flyer program of American Airlines. Launched May 1, 1981, it was the second such loyalty program in the world (after the first at Texas International Airlines in 1979), and remains the largest with more than 67 million members as of October 2011.[130][131]

This program allow participants to redeem tickets, upgrade service class, or obtain free or discounted car rentals, hotel stays, merchandise, or other products and services through partners.


Further information: American Airlines destinations
American Airlines destinations.
  United States
  American Airlines destinations
AA aircraft at Concourse D of Miami International Airport in April 2005.

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.[132] In the U.S., American serves the third-largest number of international destinations, after United Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

AA hubs listed by departures (Mainline) (January 15, 2015)[133]
Rank Airport Flights
1 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 470
2 Miami, Florida 251
3 Chicago-O'Hare, Illinois 143
4 Los Angeles, California 94
5 New York-JFK, New York 64
6 New York-LGA, New York 43

American is the only U.S. airline with scheduled flights to Bolivia, Finland, Paraguay, and Uruguay.[citation needed]

Partnerships and codeshare agreementsEdit

American Airlines has codeshare or partnership agreements with Oneworld members:

In addition to Oneworld members, American Airlines has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:[138]

In particular, American has joint ventures with British Airways, Iberia, and Finnair on transatlantic routes and with Japan Airlines and Qantas on transpacific routes.[146][147][148]

American also operated interchange flight services in conjunction with Alaska Airlines during the 1970s between Texas and Alaska during the construction of the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline. This interchange agreement allowed for single, no change of aircraft service between Houston, Texas and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, and Anchorage, Alaska and Fairbanks, Alaska. The round trip routing of this interchange flight was Houston-Dallas/Fort Worth-Seattle-Anchorage-Fairbanks with Seattle, Washington 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.[citation needed]


Admirals ClubEdit

Admirals Club logo

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] 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,[149] the Club (and most other airline lounges) switched to a paid membership program.

Flagship LoungeEdit

Though affiliated with the Admirals Club and staffed by many of the same employees, the Flagship Lounge is a separate lounge specifically designed for customers flying in First Class on transcontinental domestic flights and international flights, as well as AAdvantage Executive Platinum and Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers.[150] Flagship Lounges are now available at four airports: Chicago-O'Hare, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, and New York-JFK.[151] American also previously offered a Flagship Lounge in Miami from 2000 to 2002, and again from 2009.[152]

Accidents and incidentsEdit

More than 50 American Airlines flights have crashed or been involved in incidents with fatalities. The most recent crash involving fatalities was American Airlines Flight 587 in New York on November 12, 2001.

In popular cultureEdit

In the 1960s, Mattel released a series of American Airlines stewardess Barbie dolls.

In December 1990, 1992 and 1997, American Airlines was featured in John Hughes' Home Alone trilogy

American Airlines was extensively featured in the 2009 movie Up in the Air as part of a marketing tie-in between the airline and Paramount Pictures.[153] American Airlines is the preferred airline of protagonist Ryan Bingham (George Clooney). A significant plot point includes Ryan's quest to reach the ten-million-miler level of the AAdvantage frequent flier program. Many of the airport scenes were filmed in unused yet still branded AA terminal space at Lambert Airport, and all of the airplane scenes were filmed in borrowed AA airplanes.[154]

In 2013, American Airlines collaborated with Disney to promote Planes by featuring a cameo appearance of a passenger airliner named Tripp, with the new American Airlines Livery to promote its new image.[155]

See alsoEdit


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Further readingEdit

Capozzi, John M. (2001). A Spirit of Greatness. JMC. ISBN 0-9656410-3-1. 
Bedwell, Don (1999). Silverbird: The American Airlines Story. Airways. ISBN 0-9653993-6-2. 
Casey, Al (1997). Casey's Law. Arcade. ISBN 1-55970-307-5. 
Forty, Simon (1997). ABC American Airlines. Ian Allan. ISBN 1-882663-21-7. 
Reed, Dan (1993). The American Eagle: The Ascent of Bob Crandall and American Airlines. St. Martin's. ISBN 0-312-08696-2. 
Serling, Robert J. (1985). Eagle. St. Martin's. ISBN 0-312-22453-2. 
International Directory of Company Histories. St. James Press. 
Hieger, Linda H. (2010) With Wings of Silver and Gold ISBN 978-1-60458-271-0

External linksEdit