American Airlines

This article is about the airline known as American Airlines. For a list of airlines of the United States, see List of airlines of the United States.
American Airlines, Inc.
American Airlines logo
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded April 15, 1926 (1926-04-15) (earliest predecessor airline as American Airways, Inc.)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.[1]
Commenced operations June 25, 1936 (1936-06-25)[1]
AOC # AALA025A[2]
Frequent-flyer program AAdvantage
Airport lounge
  • Admirals Club
  • Flagship Lounge
Alliance Oneworld
Fleet size 946 (mainline only)
Destinations 350
Company slogan "The World's Greatest Flyers Fly American"
Parent company American Airlines Group
Traded as NASDAQ: AAL
Headquarters CentrePort, Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Key people
Revenue See parent
Operating income See parent
Net income See parent
Total assets See parent
Total equity See parent
Employees 113,300 (2015)[4]

American Airlines, Inc. (AA), commonly referred to as American, is a major American airline headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. It is the world's largest airline when measured by fleet size, revenue, and scheduled passenger-kilometres flown, and the second largest by number of destinations served. American together with its regional partners operates an extensive international and domestic network with an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries.[5]

American Airlines is a founding member of Oneworld alliance, the third largest airline alliance in the world and coordinates fares, services, and scheduling with alliance partners British Airways, Iberia, and Finnair 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 of American Eagle.[6]

American operates out of ten hubs located in Dallas, Charlotte, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York-JFK, and New York-LaGuardia. American operates its primary maintenance base at Tulsa International Airport in addition to the maintenance locations located at its hubs. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas is American's largest passenger carrying hub handling 51.1 million passengers annually with an average of 140,000 passengers daily. The company as of 2015 employs over 113,300 people.[4] Through the airline's parent company, American Airlines Group, it is publicly traded under NASDAQ: AAL with a market capitalization of over $40.99 billion as of 2015.


American Airlines was started in 1930 via a union of more than eighty miniature airlines.[7]

The two organizations from which American Airlines was originated were Robertson Aircraft Corporation and Colonial Air Transport. The former was first formed in Missouri in 1921, with both being merged in 1929 into holding company The Aviation Corporation. This in turn, was made in 1930 into an operating company and rebranded as American Airways. In 1934, when new laws and attrition of mail contracts forced many airlines to reorganize, the corporation redid its routes into a connected system, and was renamed American Airlines. Between 1970 and 2000, the company grew into being an international carrier, purchasing Trans World Airlines in 2001.

In 2011, due to a downturn in the airline industry, American Airlines and AMR Corporation filed for bankruptcy protection. In 2013, US Airways acquired American Airlines. Eventually operations were merged under one operating certificate to create the largest United States airline which kept the American Airlines brand name.[8]

Corporate affairs


American Airlines is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, adjacent to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.[9] 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.[10]

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.[11][12] 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.[13] American moved to two leased office buildings in Grand Prairie, Texas.[14] The airline finished moving into a $150 million ($357,000,000 when adjusted for inflation), 550,000-square-foot (51,000 m2) facility in Fort Worth on January 17, 1983; $147 million (about $350,000,000 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.[14]

As of 2015 American Airlines is the corporation with the largest presence in Fort Worth.[15]

New headquarters

In 2015 the airline announced it will build a new headquarters in Fort Worth. Groundbreaking began in the spring of 2016 and occupancy is scheduled for summer 2019.[16] The airline plans to house 5,000 new workers in the building.[15]

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)[16] 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.[15]Construction of the new headquarters is scheduled to occur after the demolition of the Sabre facility.[16]

The airline considered developing a new headquarters in Irving, on the Texas Stadium site, before deciding to keep the headquarters in Fort Worth.[15]

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.[17] These subsidies are awarded by public tender and ensure that small, rural airports can be connected to the national air network.

Labor unions

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.[23]

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.[24]


American Airlines is title sponsor of two basketball venues: American Airlines Center (Dallas Mavericks) and American Airlines Arena (Miami Heat).

The company sponsors several professional sports teams:

Corporate identity


American Airlines' fourth logo, used from 1967 until 2013

In 1931, Goodrich Murphy, an American employee, designed the AA logo.[30] The logo was redesigned by Massimo Vignelli in 1967.[31][32] 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.[33]


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.[34] 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.[35]

Airbus A319 of US Airways wearing Carolina Panthers livery

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".[33] 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.[36] 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".[37]

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 hubs

American currently operates ten hubs across the continental U.S.

Former hubs

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 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.

Codeshare agreements

American Airlines codeshares with the following airlines:[70]

Joint ventures

In particular, American has joint ventures with British Airways, Iberia, and Finnair on transatlantic routes and with Japan Airlines and Qantas on transpacific routes.[72][73][74]


An American Airlines Boeing 777-200ER with the new livery departing Shanghai Pudong Airport in 2013.
An American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER in the new livery landing at London Heathrow Airport in 2013.

As of July 2016, American Airlines operates a fleet of 952 aircraft, making it the largest commercial fleet in the world. It operates a mix of Airbus, Boeing, Embraer, and McDonnell Douglas aircraft.

Over two thirds of American's aircraft are narrow-bodies, mainly Airbus A320 series and Boeing 737-800. It also operates Boeing 757, Embraer 190 and McDonnell Douglas MD-82/83, but most of them are planned to be phased out within five years.

Its wide-body aircraft are mainly Boeing airliners. It is the third-largest operator of the Boeing 767 series and the fifth-largest operator of the Boeing 777 series. It also operates the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A330.


Flagship Suite on a Boeing 777-300ER
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.[75]

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.[76]

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.[77]

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.[75]

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.[78]

• Post-retrofit 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.[79]

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.[80]

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.[81] All internationally configured 757s are to be retrofitted with new business class cabins featuring fully lie-flat seats and Wi-Fi.[82]

All international Business Class passengers are provided with the following amenities: three complimentary checked bags, Admirals Club access, early boarding, a pair of Bose QuietComfort noise-canceling headsets, premium alcoholic beverage and wine selections (including pre-departure beverage 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.[83]

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.[83]

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.[83]

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 37–42 inches (94–106 cm) of pitch.[84] 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).[85]

Premium Economy

On December 9, 2015, American announced a new Premium Economy product for most long-haul widebody aircraft. This new product will debut on the new 787-9s in late 2016 and will be available on the new A350s in 2018. It will also be retrofitted to all other widebody aircraft within the next three years, excluding 767s due to their upcoming retirement. The seats will be wider than standard Main Cabin seats and will offer 38" of pitch, 2" more than Main Cabin Extra seats, as well as a footrest. Premium Economy customers will also get two free checked bags, priority boarding, and enhanced food and drink service including free alcohol. This product will make American Airlines the first U.S. carrier to offer a four-cabin aircraft.[86]

Main Cabin Extra

American's economy plus product (not to be confused with premium economy), Main Cabin Extra, is available on most of the mainline fleet and American Eagle regional aircraft with more than 50 seats. Exceptions include a majority of 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 34–38 inches (86–97 cm) of pitch, which is 4–6 more inches of pitch offered in regular economy seating.[84] American will retain Main Cabin Extra when the new Premium Economy product enters service in late 2016.[86]

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.[84] 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.

American Airlines marketed increased legroom in economy class as "More Room Throughout Coach", also referred to as "MRTC" starting in February 2000.[87] Two rows of economy class seats were removed on Boeing 737 and McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft.[88] Amid financial losses, this scheme was discontinued in 2004.[88][89]


Main article: AAdvantage
AAdvantage logo (2013-present)


Admirals Club

Admirals Club logo
Inside an 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).[90] 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,[91] 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.[92] Flagship Lounges are now available at four airports: Chicago-O'Hare, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, and New York-JFK.[93] American also previously offered a Flagship Lounge in Miami from 2000 to 2002, and again from 2009.[94] It plans to open again in 2017.

Accidents and incidents

In popular culture

See also


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Further reading

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

External links

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