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American Airlines

American Airlines
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1928 (as American Airways)
Commenced operations 1934
AOC # AALA025A[1]
Frequent-flyer program AAdvantage
Airport lounge Admirals Club
Alliance Oneworld
Fleet size 945 (exluding subsidiaries)
Destinations 344
Company slogan Going for great.
Parent company American Airlines Group
Headquarters Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Key people Doug Parker, Chairman & CEO[4]
Scott Kirby, President[5]
Revenue Increase US$ 42.650 billion (2015)[6]
Operating income Increase US$ 4.249 billion (2015)[6]
Net income Increase US$ 2.882 billion (2015)[6]
Total assets Increase US$ 43.771 billion (2015)[6]
Total equity Decrease US$ 2.019 billion (2015)[6]
Employees 113,300 (2015)[6]

American Airlines, Inc. (AA) is a major United States-based airline, operating an extensive international and domestic network, and is the world's largest airline by fleet size and revenue, and the second-most by number of destinations, only after United Airlines. It operates from its main hub at Dallas/Fort Worth, and its hubs at Charlotte, Los Angeles, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Miami, O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C., while its primary maintenance base is at Tulsa International Airport. The company, which is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, also has a significant presence in Atlanta, Boston, London-Heathrow, New York-LaGuardia, Raleigh-Durham, San Antonio, and San Francisco.[7] The airline primarily competes with Delta, United, and Southwest.

American Airlines is a founding member of the Oneworld airline alliance, and coordinates fares, services, and scheduling with British Airways, Finnair, and Iberia in the transatlantic market and with Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines in the transpacific market. Regional service is operated by independent and subsidiary carriers under the brand name American Eagle.[8]

The former parent company of American Airlines, AMR Corporation, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2011,[9][10] and in February 2013 announced plans to merge with US Airways Group, creating the largest airline in the world.[11] 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,[12] and the two airlines received a single air operator's certificate on April 8, 2015.[13] The combined airline will carry the American Airlines name and branding, and plans to 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 U.S. Department of Justice and several state attorneys general.[14][15]


  • History 1
    • Predecessors 1.1
    • Early history 1.2
    • Post war 1.3
    • 1980s–1990s 1.4
    • 2000s 1.5
    • 2010s 1.6
      • Bankruptcy of AMR Corporation 1.6.1
      • Merger with US Airways 1.6.2
  • Corporate affairs 2
    • Headquarters 2.1
    • New headquarters 2.2
    • U.S. federal government subsidies 2.3
    • Labor unions 2.4
    • Environmental record 2.5
    • American Airlines Vacations 2.6
    • Sponsorships 2.7
  • Corporate identity 3
    • Logo 3.1
    • Livery 3.2
    • Slogans 3.3
  • Hubs 4
    • Current hubs 4.1
    • Former hubs 4.2
    • Maintenance bases 4.3
  • Destinations 5
  • Codeshare agreements 6
  • Fleet 7
  • Cabin 8
    • Flagship Suite 8.1
    • Business Class 8.2
    • Transcontinental 8.3
    • Domestic First Class 8.4
    • Main Cabin Extra 8.5
    • Main Cabin 8.6
  • AAdvantage 9
  • Lounges 10
    • Admirals Club 10.1
    • Flagship Lounge 10.2
  • Accidents and incidents 11
  • In popular culture 12
  • See also 13
  • References 14
  • Further reading 15
  • External links 16



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,[16] Air California in 1987, Reno Air in 1999,[16] Trans World Airlines (TWA) in 2001,[16] and US Airways in 2013.

Early history

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

American Airlines was developed from a conglomeration of 82 small airlines through acquisitions in 1930[17] and reorganizations: initially, American Airways was a common brand by a number of independent carriers. These included Southern Air Transport[18] in Texas, Southern Air Fast Express (SAFE)[19] in the western United States, Universal Aviation[20] in the Midwest (which operated a transcontinental air/rail route in 1929), Thompson Aeronautical Services[21] (which operated a Detroit-Cleveland route beginning in 1929), and Colonial Air Transport[22] 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.[23]

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.[24] 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."[25]

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, later changing to an open policy that accepted members who paid dues.[26]

Post war

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

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; 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.[28] Vignelli Associates designed the AA eagle logo in 1967.[29] 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.[30] 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.[31]

Revenue passenger-miles[32] (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.[33]


After moving its headquarters to Fort Worth, Texas from New York City in 1979,[34] 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. 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, 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.[35]

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
2011 219,492
2013 346,878
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.

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.[36] 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 31 August 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.[37]

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.

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)[38] and its hub in St. Louis in April 2001.

Another American Boeing 747-100 At Los Angeles International Airport.
American Boeing 747-100 Freighter.

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.[31] 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, 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.[39]

The 2008 financial crisis again placed strain on the airline. On July 2, 2008, American furloughed 950 flight attendants, via Texas' Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act system,[40] in addition to the furlough of 20 MD-80 aircraft.[41] American's hub at Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico was truncated from 38 to 18 daily inbound flights.[42] All Airbus A300 jets were retired by the end of August 2009 and are stored in Roswell, New Mexico.[43]

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.[44] 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.[45] American closed its maintenance base at Kansas City (MCI) on September 24, 2010.[46]

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.[47] 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.[48][49] 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,[50] while rival Delta Air Lines was also looking into investing in the troubled airline along with its SkyTeam partner Air France-KLM.[51] 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.[52] In February 2010, JAL officially announced that it would strengthen its relationship with American Airlines and Oneworld.[53] This led to an enhanced joint venture between American and JAL beginning April 1, 2011.[54]


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.[55][56]

American began a joint venture with British Airways and Iberia Airlines in October 2010, which included frequent flyer reciprocity.[57] The USDOT granted AA preliminary antitrust immunity for the venture in February 2010,[58] and the partnership was officially approved by the USDOT on 20 July 2010.[59]

American also began an interlining partnership with JetBlue Airways in March 2010,[60] 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.[61]

American expanded its service to Asia and the Pacific. It was one of the initial US bidders in February 2010 to serve Tokyo's Haneda Airport,[62] and was awarded rights to serve Haneda from New York JFK.[63] American planned to begin JFK-Haneda service in January 2011, but postponed the service until February 2011 citing low booking demand,[64] ultimately terminating its JFK-Narita service in favor of JFK-Haneda service in June 2012. American later cancelled its JFK-Haneda service in October 2013 due to the service being "quite unprofitable" due to the time constraints at Haneda Airport.[65] American also began service between Los Angeles and Shanghai in 2011[66] and between Dallas/Fort Worth and Seoul in 2013,[67] 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.[68] In October 2014, American filed a report to the DOT to launch flights from Los Angeles to Tokyo-Haneda in place of Delta's Seattle-Tacoma operating slot,[69] sparking a war that lasted for over eight months. American was originally granted the slot as a back-up to Delta's Seattle-Haneda route if it failed to operate on a daily basis on March 28, 2015 (which would give the operating rights to American), but in June 2015, Delta announced the cancellation of its Seattle-Haneda service, claiming the daily operation was not feasible due to the route not being an economically viable one in the Seattle market due to certain regulatory and market conditions.[70] American confirmed it will launch daily service from Los Angeles to Tokyo-Haneda on October 15, 2015 using their Boeing 777-200ER, as well as daily service from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia on December 17, 2015 on their flagship Boeing 777-300ER,[71] returning to Australia for the first time since the 1990s and providing the first ever non-stop service between the Continental U.S. and Australia on American Airlines.

Since late 2010, American Airlines has been involved in a dispute with two online ticketing agencies, Expedia and Orbitz.[72] 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.[73] The Direct Connect allows American to exert more control over its distribution, save costs, and better sell ancillary services to its customers.[74] In December 2010, American pulled its price listings from Orbitz, and on 1 January 2011, Expedia removed American Airlines' fares from its site.[75][76]

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).[77] American Airlines became the second U.S. carrier to receive the new Boeing 787 in January 2015.[78]

Bankruptcy of AMR Corporation

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.[79]

By summer 2012, American was considering merging with another airline as part of its restructuring plan. AMR was reportedly considering merger proposals involving [81]

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.[82] 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.[83] The Allied Pilots Association, representing pilots of American Airlines, voted in December 2012 to ratify a tentative agreement between the company and the union.[84]

In January 2013, American introduced a new logo, livery, and brand image, unveiling the livery on its first Boeing 777-300ER aircraft which went into service later that month.[85]

Merger with US Airways

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.[14][86] 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.[11] Bankruptcy judge Sean Lane approved the merger in March while refusing to approve American CEO Tom Horton's $20 million golden parachute and deeming it "inappropriate".[87]

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.[88] 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.[89]

An antitrust suit, filed by a group of 40 passengers and travel agents, also sought to block the merger.[90] 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.[91] 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.[92]

On April 8, 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration awarded American Airlines and US Airways a single operating certificate.[93]

The US Airways brand was discontinued on October 17, 2015 and all flights are now branded as "American Airlines". The repainting of US Airways aircraft, however, is not expected to be completed until mid-2016.

Corporate affairs


American Airlines is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, adjacent to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.[94] 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.[95]

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.[96][97] 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.[98] American moved to two leased office buildings in Grand Prairie, Texas.[99] 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.[99]

As of 2015 American Airlines is the corporation with the largest presence in Fort Worth.[100]

New headquarters

In 2015 the airline announced it will build a new headquarters in Fort Worth. Groundbreaking is scheduled for spring 2016 and occupancy is scheduled for summer 2018.[101] The airline plans to house 5,000 new workers in the building.[100]

It will be located on a 41-acre (17 ha) property adjacent to the airline's flight academy and conference and training center, west of Texas State Highway 360, 2 miles (3.2 km)[101] west from the current headquarters. The airline will lease a total of 300 acres (120 ha) from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and this area will include the headquarters.[100] The site is currently occupied by the headquarters of Sabre Holdings, located at the northeast corner of SH360 and Trinity Boulevard. Construction of the new headquarters is scheduled to occur after the demolition of the Sabre facility.[101]

The airline considered developing a new headquarters in Irving, on the Texas Stadium site, before deciding to keep the headquarters in Fort Worth.[100]

U.S. federal government subsidies

As of November 2013 American Airlines and American Eagle received $10,011,836 in annual federal subsidies for Essential Air Services.[102] These subsidies are awarded by public tender and ensure that small, rural airports can be connected to the national air network.

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.[104]

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.[105]

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.


Corporate identity

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

In 1931, Goodrich Murphy, an American employee, designed the AA logo.[109] The logo was redesigned by Massimo Vignelli in 1967.[110][111] 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 logo used since 1967. American Airlines calls the new logo the "Flight Symbol", incorporating the eagle, star, and "A" of the classic logo.[112]


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 of 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" Boeing 757-200, 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.[113] 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.[114]

Airbus A319 in US Airways and Carolina Panthers livery at Charlotte Douglas International Airport

In January 2013, American launched a new rebranding and marketing campaign dubbed, "The New American". In addition to a new logo, American Airlines introduced a new livery for its fleet. The airline calls the new livery and branding "a clean and modern update".[112] 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.[115] 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".[116]

In the end, American let its employees decide the new livery's fate. On an internal website for employees, American posted two options, one the new livery and one a modified version of the old livery. All of the American Airlines Group employees (including US Airways and other affiliates) were able to vote. American ultimately decided to keep the new look. Parker announced that American would keep a US Airways heritage aircraft in the fleet, with plans to add a heritage TWA aircraft and a heritage American plane with the old livery.


  • Current: "Going for great."[117]
  • 2013–2014: AA/US merger – "The new American is arriving." (Spanish: "La nueva American están llegando.") (With the introduction of new logo and branding in 2013.)[118]
  • 2011–13: – "Be yourself. Nonstop."
  • 2000s–13: – "We know why you fly." (Spanish: "Sabemos por qué vuelas")[119]
  • AA/TWA merger – "Two great airlines, one great future."[120]
  • 2001 (post-9/11) – "We are an airline that is proud to bear the name: American."[121]
  • 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.)[122]
  • 1988 – mid-1990s – "Based Here. Best Here." (Used for marketing in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.)[123]
  • 1988 – "The On-Time Machine."[124]
  • 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.")[125]
  • 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).[126]
  • 1971 – 1975 – "Our passengers get the best of everything." (also known as "You get the best of everything.")[127]
  • 1969 – 1971 – "It's good to know you're on American Airlines."[128]
  • 1967 – 1969 – "Fly the American Way."[129]
  • 1964 – 1967 – "American built an airline for professional travelers." (also known as "You'll love it.")[130]
  • 1950s – 1964 – "America's Leading Airline."


Current hubs

American currently operates nine hubs across the continental US.

  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport – American's primary hub, and its largest hub in terms of daily flights and number of destinations and American's primary hub for the South.[131] American currently has about 85% of the market share and flies approximately 51.1 million passengers through DFW every year, which is about 140,000 people per day making it busiest airline at the airport.[131] American's corporate headquarters are also in Fort Worth near the airport.[131] Dallas/Fort Worth remains the largest hub for American, in terms of passenger traffic since the American-US Airways merger.[131] DFW serves as American's primary gateway to Mexico, and secondary gateway to Latin America.[131]
  • Charlotte-Douglas International Airport – The second largest hub in terms of number of destinations and daily flights.[132] It is American's primary hub for the South Eastern United States.[132] About 43.5 million passengers fly through CLT on American every year, or about 119,178 people per day.[132] As of 2013 American has about 90% of the market share at CLT, making it the airport's largest airline.[132] Charlotte was previously US Airways largest hub before the American-US Airways merger.[132]
  • O'Hare International Airport – The third largest hub for American in terms of number of flights and American's primary hub for the Midwest.[133] About 12.1 million passengers fly on American through O'Hare every year, or about 33,150 people per day.[133] As of 2013 American has about 40% of the market share at O'Hare making it the airports second largest airline after United.[133] O'Hare was previously American's second largest hub before the American-US Airways merger.[133]
  • Philadelphia International Airport – The fourth largest hub in terms of number of daily flights and American's primary East Coast hub.[134] American flies approximately 11 million passengers a year through PHL, which is about 30,136 people per day.[135] As of 2013 American has about 70% of the market share at PHL, making it the airport's largest airline.[136] PHL was previously US Airways second largest hub before the American-US Airways merger.[137] Philadelphia is American Airlines' primary European and transatlantic gateway.[138]
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport – The fifth largest hub in terms of number of flights[139] and sixth largest in terms of destinations and American's primary western hub.[140] American flies approximately 21.2 million passengers a year through PHX, which is about 58,082 people per day.[141] Currently American has about 52.6% of the market share at PHX, making it the airport's largest airline.[142] PHX was previously US Airways third largest hub before the American-US Airways merger.[143] Phoenix is American Airlines' only major domestic hub without service to Europe or Asia.[144]
  • Miami International Airport – The sixth largest hub in terms of number of flights.[145] About 26.4 million passengers fly through MIA every year on American, which is about 72,328 people per day.[146] American has about 70% of the market share at Miami International, making it the largest airline at the airport.[147] Miami was previously American's third largest hub before the American-US Airways merger.[148] Miami is Americans primary South American and Caribbean gateway.[149]
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport – The seventh largest hub for American in terms of number of destinations and flights and Americans's second hub for the East Coast. Also a base for the American Airlines Shuttle.[150] About 4.6 million passengers fly through DCA on American every year, or about 12,602 people per day.[151] American has about 23.7% of the market share at DCA, making it the largest carrier at the airport.[152] DCA was previously US Airways fourth largest hub before the American-US Airways merger.[153]
  • Los Angeles International Airport – The eighth largest hub in terms of number of destinations and flights and American's hub for the West Coast.[154] About 12.6 million passengers fly through LAX on American every year, or about 34,520 people per day.[155] American has about 18.9% of the market share at LAX, making it the largest carrier at the airport.[156] LAX was previously American's fourth largest hub before the American-US Airways merger.[157] LAX is American's primary transpacific gateway.[158]
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport – The ninth largest hub for American in terms of number of destinations and flights and Americans's third hub for the East Coast.[159] About 9.5 million passengers fly through JFK on American every year, or about 26,027 people per day.[160] American has about 11% of the market share at JFK, making it the third largest carrier at the airport behind Delta and JetBlue.[161] JFK was previously Americans fifth largest hub before the American-US Airways merger.[162] JFK is American's second primary European gateway.[163]

Former hubs

  • Lambert-St. Louis International Airport – American closed its St. Louis hub in 2009 because of the declining need for a second Midwestern hub. The St. Louis hub was inherited from Trans World Airlines.[164]
  • Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, San Juan, Puerto Rico – American closed its San Juan hub in 2012. American used San Juan as a connection point for Caribbean destinations using ATR-72 commuter aircraft. American has since removed the ATR-72 series aircraft from its regional fleet and closed its hub at San Juan.[165]
  • Nashville International Airport – American saw a decrease in passenger traffic and closed its Nashville hub in the mid 1990s to cut costs.[166]
  • Raleigh-Durham International Airport – American closed its Raleigh-Durham hub in the mid 1990s after it was deemed not profitable.[167]
  • San Jose International Airport – American closed their San Jose hub in the early 2000s. The San Jose hub was inherited as a part of the acquisition of Reno Air. A bit of irony is the fact that Reno Air made San Jose a hub in the mid 1990s, after American decided that the competition on the West Coast made the hub unprofitable and closed it.

Maintenance bases


AA aircraft at Concourse D of Miami International Airport in April 2005.
AA Boeing 777 at Galeão International Airport, Rio de Janeiro in November 2003

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, hubs at Philadelphia and New York Kennedy (JFK) serve as gateways for both the Americas and Europe, while the Los Angeles hub (LAX) is the primary gateway to Asia.

In the U.S., American serves the second-largest number of international destinations, after Delta Air Lines.

AA major airports listed by departures (December 19, 2014)[169]
Rank Airport Flights Destinations
1 Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport 877 206
2 Charlotte-Douglas International Airport 740 155
3 Chicago O'Hare International Airport 522 113
4 Philadelphia International Airport 469 107
5 Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport 316 74
6 Miami International Airport 310 109
7 Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport 292 65
8 Los Angeles International Airport 180 60
9 LaGuardia Airport (New York) 180 29
10 John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York) 157 50
11 Logan International Airport (Boston) 121 20

Codeshare agreements

In addition to partnerships and codeshare agreements with fellow Oneworld members, American Airlines has codeshare agreements with the following airlines as of May 2015:[170]

In particular, American has joint ventures with British Airways, Iberia, and Finnair on transatlantic routes and with Japan Airlines and Qantas on transpacific routes.[177][178][179]

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.


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

As of June 2015, American Airlines operates a mainline fleet of 953 aircraft, making it the largest commercial fleet in the world. It primarily operates a mix of Airbus and Boeing (including McDonnell Douglas) narrow-body and wide-body aircraft, as well as one narrow-body variant from Embraer. American is currently in the process of the largest fleet renewal in its history, with over 350 aircraft on order from Airbus and Boeing.[180]

Following American's merger with US Airways, all US Airways airframes were transferred to American on April 8, 2015 when a Single Operating Certificate was awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration.[181]

American is the largest operator of Airbus A320 family aircraft in the world. They operate the largest fleet of A321 aircraft, and have the second largest A319 fleet, only behind EasyJet.

American operates the fourth largest fleet of Boeing 737 Next Generation family aircraft worldwide (behind Ryanair, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines), while having the second largest fleet of the Boeing 737-800 variant, trailing Ryanair.[182]


First class seat on an A321 Transcontinental

Flagship Suite

The Flagship Suite is American’s international first class product, with the newest version being exclusively offered on all Boeing 777-300ERs in the fleet. The cabin features eight suites that are laid out in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration with direct aisle access. Each suite features an 80-inch (203 cm) long fully lie-flat seat with swivel capabilities (enabling the passenger to set up a dedicated work space), a 17-inch (43 cm) touchscreen monitor, and multiple AC power outlets and USB ports. Amenities that are exclusively offered to Flagship Suite passengers include Flagship check-in privileges, access to the Flagship Lounge, inflight wine tasting, a turndown service with pajamas, and a class-specific amenity kit. Other amenities include 3 complementary checked bags, early boarding, a pair of Bose QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Canceling Headsets, premium alcoholic beverage and wine selections (including pre-departure champagne service), chef-inspired dining options, and access to the premium cabin walk-up bar, which features assorted snacks and beverages throughout the duration of the flight.[183]

An older version of the Flagship Suite is available on select Boeing 777-200ERs. However, these aircraft are in the process of being retrofitted, with the first class section being replaced with an all-new, expanded business class. These aircraft feature 16 suites in a 1-2-1 configuration with direct aisle access, privacy dividers, and a 78-inch (198 cm) long fully lie-flat seat with swivel capabilities. Each seat comes equipped with an 8.4 inch tilting touchscreen monitor and a DC power outlet.[184]

Business Class

Sky Club boarding pass

International Business Class is available on American’s entire wide-body fleet and select Boeing 757-200s that are used on international routes. Layout, seat type and amenities vary among aircraft:

Airbus A330: Fully lie-flat Cirrus seats designed by Zodiac Seats France with direct aisle access in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration. Seat length: 76-80 inches (193–203 cm). Equipped with a 12.1 inch (30.7 cm) touchscreen monitor, universal AC power outlet and USB port.[185]

Boeing 777-300ER: Fully lie-flat seats with direct aisle access in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration. Equipped with a 15.4 (39 cm) inch touchscreen monitor, universal AC power outlets, and USB ports.[183]

Boeing 787-8 and retrofitted Boeing 777-200ER: Fully lie-flat seats with direct aisle access in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration with front- and rear-facing seats. Seat length: 77 inch (196.5 cm). Equipped with a 16-inch touchscreen monitor, two universal AC power outlets, and two USB ports.

Boeing 777-200ER pre-retrofit: Angled lie-flat seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. Equipped with a 10.6 inch touchscreen and a DC power outlet. These seats are currently in the process of being replaced.[186]

• Retrofitted Boeing 767-300ER: Fully lie-flat seats designed by Thompson Aero Seating in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration with direct aisle access. Equipped with two universal AC power outlets and 2 USB ports. Seats are not equipped with a personal inflight entertainment system, but a Samsung Galaxy Tab™ 10.1 tablet is provided.[187]

Boeing 767-300ER without retrofit: Angled lie-flat seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. Equipped with a DC power outlet. Not equipped with personal inflight entertainment.[188]

Boeing 757-200: Legacy American 757s feature Recaro angled lie-flat seats in a 2-2 configuration equipped with a 10.4 inch (26 cm) tilting touchscreen monitor, and DC power outlets. Former US Airways 757s have 160° reclining seats in a 2-2 configuration equipped with DC power outlets. These seats are not equipped with a personal inflight entertainment system, but a Samsung Galaxy Tab™ 10.1 tablet is provided.[189] All internationally configured 757s are to be retrofitted with new business class cabins featuring fully lie-flat seats.[190]

All international Business Class passengers are provided with the following amenities; three complementary checked bags, Admirals Club access, early boarding, a pair of Bose QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Canceling Headsets, premium alcoholic beverage and wine selections (including pre-departure champagne service), chef-inspired dining options, and class-specific amenity kits. Business Class passengers traveling on 787-8, 777-300ER, and retrofitted 777-200ER aircraft have access to the walk-up bar.


American has dedicated 17 Airbus A321s in its fleet for the specific use of flying transcontinental routes between New York JFK–Los Angeles and New York JFK–San Francisco. These aircraft offer two premium cabins, First Class and Business Class, which are unique among domestic mainline aircraft in American’s fleet:

First Class: Seats are arranged in a 1-1 reverse herringbone configuration offering direct aisle access. They are fully lie-flat, and come equipped with a 15.4 (39 cm) inch touchscreen monitor, universal AC power outlets, and USB ports. These seats are similar to the ones in the Business Class cabin on the Boeing 777-300ER. Transcontinental First Class passengers receive exclusive amenities such as Flagship check-in at New York JFK and LAX, and an amenity kit that is identical to the one given to international Business Class passengers.[191]

Business Class: Fully lie-flat seats are set up in a 2-2 configuration. Equipped with a 15.4 inch (39 cm) touchscreen monitor, two universal AC power outlets, and two USB ports.[191]

Amenities offered to all Transcontinental premium cabin passengers include Admirals Club access, premium food and beverage options, and a pair of Bose QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Canceling Headsets.[191]

Domestic First Class

First Class is offered on all domestic mainline aircraft, as well as regional aircraft with more than 50 seats. When such aircraft are used on flights to international destinations including Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, the First Class cabin is branded as Business Class. Seats range from 19–21 inches (48–53 cm) in width and have 37–40 inches (94–102 cm) of pitch.[192] Dining options include free snacks, beverages, and alcohol on all flights, with three-course meals offered on flights 900 miles (1,448 km) or longer (select routes under 900 miles offer meal service).[193]

Main Cabin Extra

American’s premium economy product, Main Cabin Extra, is available on most of the mainline fleet and American Eagle regional aircraft with more than 50 seats. Exceptions include all former US Airways aircraft (as of May 2015), US Airways Express regional aircraft, and a handful of 777-200ERs that have yet to be retrofitted. Seats range from 17.2–18.5 inches (44–47 cm) in width and have 34–37 inches (86–94 cm) of pitch, which is 3–6 more inches of pitch offered in regular economy seating.[192]

Main Cabin

Main Cabin is American’s economy product, and is found on all mainline and regional aircraft in its fleet. Seats range from 17–18.5 inches (43–47 cm) in width and have 30–32 inches (76–81 cm) of pitch.[192] Newer aircraft, including all Boeing 777-300ER, refurbished Boeing 777-200ER's, all Boeing 787 Dreamliners, all Airbus A330s, all Airbus A319s and Airbus A321s, and newly delivered Boeing 737s, include seatback TVs, featuring AVOD in each seat.


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.[194][195]

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.


Admirals Club

The Admirals Club was conceived by AA president C.R. Smith as a marketing promotion shortly after he was made an honorary [196] 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,[197] the Club (and most other airline lounges) switched to a paid membership program.

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.[198] Flagship Lounges are now available at four airports: Chicago-O'Hare, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, and New York-JFK.[199] American also previously offered a Flagship Lounge in Miami from 2000 to 2002, and again from 2009.[200]

Accidents and incidents

In popular culture

  • In the 1960s, Mattel released a series of American Airlines stewardess Barbie doll.
  • Throughout the 1990s, American Airlines was featured in John Hughes' Home Alone trilogy of movies.
  • In August 2008, during Season 2 of Mad Men (Episode 2, titled "Flight 1"), Pete Campbell's father was a passenger on American Airlines Flight 1. Flight 1 crashed shortly after takeoff from Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International Airport), killing all the passengers and crew on board.
  • American Airlines was extensively featured in the 2009 movie 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.[202]
  • 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.[203]

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Further reading

Hieger, Linda H. (2010) With Wings of Silver and Gold ISBN 978-1-60458-271-0

External links

  • Official website (Mobile)
    • "American Airlines is Social" – Links to official Facebook, Google+ and Twitter
  • Official American Airlines Vacations website
  • inflight magazineAmerican Way
  • has many timetables from the 1930s until 1967, showing where American flew, how often, how long it took and how much it cost.
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