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American Airways

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American Airways

American Airlines
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 616
Destinations 273 excl. code-shares[1]
Company slogan The new American is arriving.
Parent company AMR Corporation (to be renamed American Airlines Group, Inc. once AMR merges with US Airways Group)
Headquarters Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Key people Gerard Arpey (former Chairman President and CEO) Tom Horton, (Chairman President and CEO) Doug Parker (incoming Chairman President and CEO)[2]
Revenue Increase US$ 24.83 billion (2012)[3]
Operating income Increase US$ 41 million (2012)[3]
Net income Increase US$ −1.93 billion (2012)[3]
Total assets Decrease US$ 23.26 billion (2012)[3]
Total equity Decrease US$ −9.96 billion (2012)[3]

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

American is part of the Oneworld airline alliance, and coordinates fares, services and scheduling with British Airways and Iberia in the transatlantic market and with Japan Airlines in the transpacific market. American Eagle Airlines, SkyWest, Inc., SkyWest Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines operate regional flights for American Airlines under the "American Eagle" brand.[4] Chautauqua Airlines also feeds the American Airlines network under the AmericanConnection brand.[5]

The parent company of American Airlines, AMR Corporation, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2011,[6][7] and in February 2013 announced plans to merge with US Airways, which would create the largest airline in the world.[8] American and US Airways plan to complete the merger on December 9, 2013, with the new holding company American Airlines Group, Inc. being listed on NASDAQ that day.[9] The combined airline will carry the American Airlines name and branding, and will maintain the existing US Airways hubs in Charlotte, Philadelphia and Phoenix 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.[10][11]


Early history

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.

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 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 US Mail.[12] 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 Airlines was the first to cooperate with Fiorello LaGuardia to build an airport in New York City 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, but a discrimination suit decades later changed the club into a paid club, creating the model for other airline lounges.

Post war

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

In August 1940 American scheduled flights to 44 airports; in August 1953 to 66, in April 1968 to 47 and in November 1978 to 68.

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 jets 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 a terminal at Idlewild (now JFK) Airport in New York City, which became the airline's largest base.[14] 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 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.[15] 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.[16]

Revenue passenger-miles[17] (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)

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.[18]


After moving its headquarters to Fort Worth, Texas from New York City in 1979, American Airlines changed to a hub-and-spoke system in 1981, opening 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 Airlines opened three hubs for north-south traffic. San Jose International Airport was added after American purchased AirCal. It 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/Douglas International Airport. Nashville International Airport 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 Airlines and United Airlines.

Lower fuel prices and a favorable business climate led to higher 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.[19] 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 Airlines 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 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.[20]

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 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.

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)[21] 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, 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.[16] 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.

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.[22]

On July 2, 2008, American announced furloughs of up to 950 flight attendants, via Texas' Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act system.[23] This furlough is in addition to the furlough of 20 MD-80 aircraft.[24] 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.[25]

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.[26]

In August 2009, American was placed under credit watch, along with United Airlines and US Airways. All Airbus A300 jets were retired by the end of August and are currently stored in Roswell, New Mexico.[27]

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.[28] American closed its maintenance base at Kansas City (MCI) on September 24, 2010.[29]

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.[30] 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.[31][32]

On September 12, 2009, American Airlines' parent company, AMR Corporation announced that it was looking into buying some of the financially struggling Japan Airlines.[33] AMR was 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, a rival of the Oneworld alliance.[34] 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.

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.[35]

On February 9, 2010, Japan Airlines officially announced that it would strengthen its relationship with American Airlines and Oneworld.[36]

On January 11, 2011, both JAL and American Airlines announced that they would start their joint-venture operation starting April 1, 2011.[37]


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.[38][39] 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.[40] The partnership was officially approved by the USDOT on July 20, 2010.[41] 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.[42]

Less than a week after American's transatlantic joint venture was launched, the Department of Transportation gave preliminary approval to American's new transpacific joint venture with Japan Airlines on October 7,[43] Japan gave final approval to the venture later that month.[44] and the immunity grant was finalized in early November 2010[45] On March 31, 2010, American and JetBlue announced a partnership regarding the interlining of routes between the airlines.[46][47] 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.[48] 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.[49] 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.[50] 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.[51] 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.[52] 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.[53] The airline is also considering on flying to Hong Kong and Guangzhou.[54] Since late 2010, American Airlines has been involved in a dispute with two online ticketing agencies, Expedia and Orbitz.[55] 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.[56] The Direct Connect allows American to exert more control over its distribution, save costs, and better sell ancillary services to its customers.[57] In December 2010, American pulled its price listings from Orbitz, and on January 1, 2011, Expedia removed American Airlines' fares from its site.[58][59]

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 considering are, US Airways, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and Virgin America.[60] 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."[61]

On September 18, 2012, the airline announced that it has notified more than 11,000 workers of possible job loss as part of its bankruptcy reorganization. It also said that it is cutting flights by one to two percent for the rest of September and October 2012.[62] On October 25, 2012, the airline announced its plans to hire 2,500 pilots over two 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 that 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.[63] On December 7, 2012, the American Pilots Association, representing pilots of American Airlines, said that members voted to ratify a tentative agreement between the company and the union.[64] On January 17, 2013, Horton unveiled American Airlines' new logo and brand image at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The new livery was introduced on the Boeing 737-800. The idea of modernizing American's brand image and logo came to fruition soon after the airline placed the largest aircraft order in aviation history.[65]

On October 16, 2013, American Airlines announced that it will begin nonstop service from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to both Shanghai and Hong Kong as part the airline's continued expansion into the Asian market. The airline plans to launch the flights in the summer of 2014 and it will be the first ever nonstop route between Dallas/Fort Worth and China.[66]

Merger with US Airways

Main article: American Airlines–US Airways merger

On February 14, 2013, American Airlines and US Airways Group officially announced that the two companies would merge to form the largest airline in the world. In the deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2013, bondholders of American Airlines' parent AMR will own 72% of the new company and US Airways shareholders will own the remaining 28%. The combined airline will carry the American Airlines name and branding, while US Airways' management team, including CEO Doug Parker, will retain most operational management positions. The headquarters for the new airline will be consolidated at American's current headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.[10][67] The merger will create the world's largest airline, which, along with United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, will control three-quarters of the U.S. market.[8] Bankruptcy judge Sean Lane disapproved Tom Horton's $20 million golden parachute as being "inappropriate".[68]

Antitrust lawyer Joseph Alioto has brought suit against American over the merger, in a suit representing 33 passengers and travel agents who claim the union would render American Airlines too large and also would cause fewer flights and lower quality service. American Airlines spokesman Mike Trevino called the lawsuit "baseless."[69] On August 13, 2013, the United States Department of Justice, along with attorneys general from six states and the District of Columbia, filed a lawsuit 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.[70] On November 12, 2013, the airlines reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department and State Attorneys General to settle the lawsuit and allow the merger to be finalized.[71]

Corporate identity

In 1967, Massimo Vignelli designed the famous AA logo.[72][73] 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.

In January 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.[74]


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.

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 remained the company's logo until 2013. 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 757 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.

On January 17, 2013, American announced that it was changing its planes' livery.[75] 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.[76] The new livery does not allow for the polished aluminum surface that the planes historically displayed.

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 and modern livery for all aircraft in the fleet. The airline calls the new livery and branding "a clean and modern update" and a testament to American's willingness to become a more modern, vibrant, and sophisticated airline.[74] 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.[77] 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".[78]


  • Current; AA/US merger – "The new American is arriving." (With the introduction of new logo and branding in 2013.) [79]
  • 2011-13: – "Be yourself. Nonstop."
  • 2000s-13: – "We know why you fly." (Spanish: "Sabemos por qué vuelas")
  • AA/TWA merger – "Two great airlines, one great future."
  • 2001 (post-9/11) – "We are an airline that is proud to bear the name: American."
  • 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.)
  • 1988 – mid-1990s – "Based Here. Best Here." (Used for marketing in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.)
  • 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 tume: "We're American Airlines. Something special in the air.") [80]
  • 1982 – late 1980s – "En American, tenemos lo que tú buscas." (Spanish slogan, translated to "At American, we've got what you're looking for").
  • 1980s – 1988 – "The On-Time Machine."
  • 1976–1984 – "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).
  • 1971 – mid-1970s – "Our passengers get the best of everything." (also known as "You get the best of everything.") [81]
  • 1969–1971 – "It's good to know you're on American Airlines."
  • 1967–1969 – "Fly the American Way."
  • 1964–1967 – "American built an airline for professional travelers."
  • 1950s – early 1960s – "America's Leading Airline."

Corporate affairs


American Airlines is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, adjacent to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.[82]

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.[83][84] 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.[85] American moved to two leased office buildings in Grand Prairie, Texas.[86] 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.[86]

Labor unions

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

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.[88]

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.[89]

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.


Further information: American Airlines destinations

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

AA hubs listed by departures (November 8, 2013)[91]
Rank Airport Flights
1 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 641
2 Chicago-O'Hare, Illinois 312
3 Miami, Florida 279
4 New York-LaGuardia, New York 108
5 Los Angeles, California 101
6 New York-JFK, New York 86

American is the only U.S. airline with scheduled flights to Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Partnerships and codeshare agreements

American Airlines has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:[92]

In particular, American has joint ventures with British Airways, Iberia and Finnair on transatlantic routes and with Japan Airlines and Qantas on transpacific routes.[103][104][105]

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, TX and Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX, and Anchorage, AK and Fairbanks, AK. The roundtrip 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 October 2013, the American Airlines fleet consists of 616 aircraft.[106] American Airlines's fleet has an average age of 14.7 years.[107] 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.[108]

Having a fleet of more than 600 active aircraft, American Airlines additionally has more than 400 Airbus and Boeing aircraft on order. Older aircraft such as its aging MD-80, 757-200, and 767-200 jets will gradually be retired.

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.[109][110] According to American Airlines, this is the largest purchase of aircraft in aviation history.[111]

On-board service and cabin

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.[112][113]

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.[112] 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. [114]

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.[115]


Flagship Suite First Class

The Flagship Suite service is currently available on all B777-300ER and B777-200ER aircraft, but first class is being phased out on the B777-200ER fleet in 2014.

B777-200ER aircraft currently feature the Flagship Suite in first class (to be eliminated from the -200 in 2014). An industry first, all seats in this cabin swivel 90 degrees in the direction opposite of the aisle to an extensible working desk, as well as ~thirty degrees for use of a large folding dining table or to be made into a 6 foot 6" flat bed. 16 seats are provided in a 1-2-1 configuration. 92-inch seat pitch is provided along with a large amount of seat width. Electric controls can convert the seat into a 6 foot 6 inch fully flat bed. The armrest can be lowered if desired. Amenities include a battery-powered Bose noise-canceling headset, newspapers, amenity kit, pajamas, slippers, premium pillow, mattress pad, duvet, light blanket and a menu. The ottoman can be used as a seat for a companion and one can dine with him/her if you desire. For seats that are situated between the two aisles, a privacy screen can be adjusted if needed to provided tranquility and the uttermost comfort. Passengers have access to the Flagship Check-in, the Flagship Lounge (Admirals Club when no Flagship Lounge exists) and the Arrivals lounge at London Heathrow (with complimentary showers and suit pressing) if they arrive between 5:00 AM and 2:00 PM local time.

The B777-300ER sports a newer version of the Flagship Suite, retaining many of the older 777-200ER benefits but adding three-prong powered Bose Noise Reduction headsets, a much larger IFE / AVOD touch screen (also controlled with an electronic control set), 110 V AC and USB power connections, in a First cabin with eight seats (also in a 1-2-1 configuration), satellite WiFi (extra cost) and two dedicated lavatories plus galley with microwave and cappuccino machine.

(B767-200 aircraft features the first Flagship first class (not suites), primarily flying between New York's John F. Kennedy and Los Angeles and San Francisco. Seats provide 62-inch seat pitch and 19-inch seat width. Seats have electric controls which can be used to recline the seat into an angled flat bed. Seats are arranged in a 2-1-2 configuration. Seats are made with blue cloth and blue leather and are equipped with electronically operated legrests, footrests, DC power ports. Amenities include noise-canceling headset, premium pillow, duvet, portable video player and a menu. These seats are being phased out for the new transcontinental fleet of A321 aircraft where the new international business-class product will be featured as first class. Also, passengers receive access to the Admirals Club and the Flagship lounge at JFK and LAX.

Domestic First Class

Domestic First Class has a seat pitch of 39 to 40 inches.[116][117] On B767-300 aircraft, Business Class seats are sold as Domestic First Class; these seats are angle-flat seats.[118] Premium Cabin Duvet, powerports and Bose headsets provided on widebody aircraft.[119]

Business Class

Business class is offered on all 777 and 767 aircraft and select 757 aircraft. 767-200 AFS (American Flagship Service) aircraft features American's old business class product, but this will be phased out soon. These seats offer 50 inch seat pitch, 50 degree recline, leg rests, footrests and personal power ports. Menus, video players, noise-canceling headphones, a premium duvet and pillow are offered. On flights other than JFK-LAX and JFK-SFO, this is sold as two class, with some seated in first class seats. On those flights, elites in economy may reserve these seats, but receive economy style service.

757 international, 767-300 and 777-200 feature the angled flat business class product. Electric controls provide many positions as well as individual part controls. Seats offer 58-60" seat pitch and the seats can recline up to 171 degrees to form an angled flat bed. Amenity kits, menus, noise-canceling headphones, a premium pillow and duvet are offered on longer flights. On 757 and 777-200 aircraft, built-in 10" entertainment screens are offered. 767-300 aircraft feature portable entertainment devices. Seats will be phased out on 777 aircraft to make way for the fully flat seats. 777-300ER aircraft feature fully flat business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. These seats are similar to Cathay Pacific's long-haul business class seat. More seat pitch, better seat width and a recline of a full 180 degrees is offered. Better amenities are offered, along with a 15.4" screen with a wider selection of entertainment. Business class passengers receive access to the walk-up bar and better cabin presentation makes this a product to be embraced and understood as a true business class product. All business class passengers on transcontinental and international flights receive access to the Admirals Club and the Arrival's lounge when flying into London Heathrow.

Economy Class

Economy class seats have a seat pitch of 31-33", with newer aircraft having thinner seats that have a 31" pitch.[117] Seat widths range from 17.0in and 18.0in. Economy seats are in a 2-5-2 configuration on 777-200[120] aircraft and are in a high-density 3-4-3 configuration on 777-300ER[121] aircraft.


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.[122][123]

Miles accumulated in the program allow members to redeem tickets, upgrade service class, or obtain free or discounted car rentals, hotel stays, merchandise, or other products and services through partners. The most active members, based on the amount and price of travel booked, are designated AAdvantage Gold, AAdvantage Platinum, and AAdvantage Executive Platinum elite members, with privileges such as separate check-in, priority upgrade and standby processing, or free upgrades. They also receive similar privileges from AA's partner airlines, particularly those in Oneworld.[124] AAdvantage co-branded credit cards are also available and offer other benefits. These cards are issued by CitiCards, subsidiary of Citigroup in the United States and MBNA in the United Kingdom.


Admirals Club

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

Membership now costs $250 to $400 per year, depending on AAdvantage frequent flyer program level, with a $50 initiation fee in the first year; 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 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. The added amenities of the Flagship Lounges compared to the normal Admirals Club include free premium alcoholic beverages; free buffet snacks including breakfast items, salads, sandwiches, fruits, chocolates, cheeses and other light fare (options change based on time of day); and a less crowded, more comfortable lounge space. Additionally, complimentary computer terminals with free internet access, complimentary wireless internet access, and complimentary printing are 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.[126] American also previously offered a Flagship Lounge in Miami from 2000 to 2002, and again from 2009.[127]

Accidents and incidents

In popular culture

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

At the start of season 2 of the AMC series Mad Men, the fictional Sterling Cooper ad agency has Mohawk Airlines as a client. In season 2, episode 2, "Flight 1" (2008), Sterling Cooper resigns the account in order to pursue an account with American Airlines, which is considering changing agencies in the aftermath of the 1962 Flight 1 disaster.

American Airlines is the sponsor of Fulham in the English Premier League.

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.[128]

See also

Dallas-Fort Worth portal
Companies portal
Aviation portal


Further reading

External links

  • ()
    • "American Airlines is Social" – Links to official Facebook, Google+ and Twitter
  • Official American Airlines Vacations website
  • inflight magazine
  • [2] has many timetables from the 1930s until 1965, showing where they flew, how often, how long it took and how much it cost.

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