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American Airlines, Inc. (AA) is a major airline of the United Statesmarker. It is the world's largest airline in passenger miles transported and passenger fleet size; third largest, behind FedEx Express and Delta Air Lines, in aircraft operated; and second behind Air France-KLM in operating revenues. A subsidiary of the AMR Corporation, the airline is headquartered in Fort Worthmarker, Texasmarker, adjacent to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airportmarker. American operates scheduled flights throughout the United Statesmarker, and flights to Canadamarker, Latin America, the Caribbeanmarker, Europe, Japanmarker, the People's Republic of Chinamarker, and Indiamarker. The Chairman, President, and CEO of AA is Gerard Arpey. In 2005, the airline flew more than 138 billion revenue passenger miles (RPM).


In May 2008, American served 260 cities (excluding codeshares with partner airlines) with 655 aircraft. American carries more passengers between the US and Latin America (12.1 million in 2004) than any other airline, and is also strong in the trans/inter/intracontinental market. American Airlines' total revenue for the year was 23.8 Billion, of which $18.2 Billion came from Mainline division, $2.49B from Regional, and $874 Million from Cargo.

American has four hubs: Dallas/Fort Worthmarker (DFW), Chicagomarker (ORD), Miamimarker (MIA), and New Yorkmarker (JFK). Dallas/Fort Worthmarker is the airline's largest hub, with AA operating 85 percent of flights at the airport and traveling to more destinations than from its other hubs. Los Angelesmarker (LAX), St. Louismarker (STL), San Juanmarker (SJU), and Bostonmarker (BOS) serve as focus cities and international gateways. American currently operates maintenance bases at Tulsamarker (TUL), Kansas Citymarker (MCI), and Fort Worth Alliancemarker (AFW), but American has announced that the Kansas City base will close in September 2010.

American Airlines has one regional affiliate:


In 1967, Massimo Vignelli designed the famous AA Logo. Thirty years later, in 1997, American Airlines was able to make its logo internet-compatible by buying the domain AA also corresponds to the Airlines IATA number. The original AA logo is still in use today, being "one of the few logos that simply needs no change".

In March 2000, American received the CIO Magazine's 2000 Web Business 50/50 Award for its web site.



American Airlines was developed from a conglomeration of 82 small airlines through acquisitions 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.

On January 25, 1930, American Airways was incorporated as a single company, based in New Yorkmarker, with routes from Bostonmarker, New Yorkmarker and Chicagomarker to Dallasmarker, and from Dallas to Los Angelesmarker. The airline operated wood and fabric-covered Fokker Trimotor and all-metal Ford Trimotors. In 1934 American began flying Curtiss Condor biplanes with sleeping berths.

American Airlines before World War II

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 started flying in 1936. With the DC-3, American began calling its aircraft "Flagships" and establishing the Admirals Club for valued passengers. The DC-3s had a four-star "admiral's pennant" outside the cockpit window while the aircraft was parked, one of the most well-known images of the airline at the time.

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

Postwar developments

After World War II, American launched an international subsidiary, American Overseas Airlines, 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 Mexicomarker and built several airports there. American Airlines provided advertising and free usage of its aircraft in the 1951 film Three Guys Named Mike.

American Airlines introduced the first transcontinental jet service using Boeing 707s on January 25, 1959. With its Astrojets, as it dubbed the jet fleet, 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, and built an upgraded terminal at Idlewild (now JFKmarker) Airport in New York City which became the airline's largest base.

By September 1970, American Airlines was offering its first long haul international flights from St Louismarker to Honolulumarker and onto Sydneymarker and Aucklandmarker via American Samoamarker and Nadimarker. Source 1 Source 2

From 1971–1978 Beverly Lynn Burns worked as a stewardess for AA. She went on to become the first woman Boeing 747 airline captain.

In 1975 American Airlines was headquartered at 633 Third Avenue in the Murray Hill area of Midtown Manhattan, New York Citymarker. In 1978 American announced that it would move its headquarters to a site at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airportmarker in 1979. The move affected up to 1,300 jobs. Mayor of New York City Ed Koch described this move as "betrayal" of New York City. American moved to two leased office buildings in Grand Prairiemarker, Texasmarker.

Expansion in the 1980s and 1990s

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

The airline finished moving into a $150 million (1983 dollars), facility in Fort Worth on January 17, 1983; $147 million in Dallas/Fort Worth International Airportmarker bonds financed the headquarters. The airline began leasing the facility from the airport, which owns the facility.

In the late 1980s, American opened three hubs for north-south traffic. San Jose International Airportmarker was added after American purchased AirCal. American also built a terminal and runway at Raleigh-Durham International Airportmarker for the growing Research Triangle Parkmarker nearby and compete with USAir's hub in Charlottemarker. Nashvillemarker was also a hub. In 1988, American Airlines received its first Airbus A300B4-605R jets. Some A300's from American Airlines were built in the early 90's.

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

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

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

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

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

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

TWA merger, 9/11, to the present

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

The merger of seniority lists remains contentious for pilots; the groups were represented by different unions. In the merger, 60 percent of former TWA pilots moved to the bottom of the seniority list at AA. All were furloughed, and most remain on furlough. The senior TWA captains were integrated at the same seniority level as AA captains hired years later. All TWA captains and first officers hired in March 1989 and later were appended to the seniority list junior to American Airlines first officers hired in June 2001. However, TWA pilots were given super-seniority and a ratio of positions as captain if they stayed in St Louis. The result was that most former TWA pilots stayed in St Louis and roughly maintained their relative seniority; though, some left St Louis and flew in the co-pilot seat next to AA pilots who may have been hired at a later date, but are more senior outside the protections afforded to that base. The extensive furloughs of former TWA pilots in the wake of the 9/11 attacks disproportionately affected St. Louis and resulted in a significant influx of American Airlines pilots. For cabin crews, all former TWA flight attendants (approximately 4,200) were furloughed by mid-2003 due to the AA flight attendants' union putting TWA flight attendants at the bottom of their seniority list.

American Airlines began losing money in the wake of the TWA merger and the September 11, 2001 attacks (in which two of its planes were involved). 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. The St Louis hub was also downsized.

American 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 Irelandmarker, Indiamarker 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 Fieldmarker in Dallas. On June 15, 2006, American agreed with Southwest Airlinesmarker 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.

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

On August 13, 2008, the Kansas City Starmarker reported that American would move some overhaul work from its Kansas Citymarker, Missourimarker base. Repairs on Boeing 757s will be made in Tulsamarker, Oklahomamarker, and some 767 maintenance will move there as well; one, possibly two, Boeing 767 repair lines will be retained at Kansas City International Airportmarker. 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.

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

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

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.

MD-80 maintenance controversies and consequences

American Airlines has had repeated run-ins with the FAA regarding maintenance of its MD-80 fleet; 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. 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 next generation Boeing narrowbody aircraft (Y1) is available.

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; the airline countered that FAA inspectors always have full access to any airplane, retired or not.

In May 2008, a month after mass grounding of aircraft, American announced capacity cuts and fees to increase revenue and help cover high fuel prices. The airline increased fees such as a $15 charge for the first checked bag and $25 for the second, as well as a $150 change fee for domestic reservations. American Airlines announced in May that it expected to retire 40 to 45 mainline aircraft in fall 2008, the majority fuel-inefficient MD-80s but also some Airbus A300s. American's regional airline, American Eagle Airlines, will retire 35 to 40 regional jets as well as its Saab turboprop fleet.

Potential negotiations with Japan Airlines

On September 12, 2009, American Airlines' parent company, AMR Corporation announced that they were looking into buying some of the financially struggling Japan Airlines. AMR is not the only company planning to buy a stake in the airline but rival airline, Delta Air Lines is also looking into investing in the troubled airline, along with Delta's partner Air France-KLM. Both Delta and AF-KLM are part of SkyTeam, Oneworld's alliance rival. 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 with the help from TPG made a bid of $1 Billion for JAL to partner with them. Two days later, reports came from Japan that AA and TPG had teamed up and made a $1.5 Billion cash offer to JAL, which they might consider doing.


  • Current - "We know why you fly."
  • 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."
  • Mid 1990s - "Based Here. Best Here."
  • Late 1980s - "No other Airline gives you more of America, than American."
  • Mid 1980s-mid 1990s - "Something special in the air." (Variant used for website: "Something special online.", Spanish variant: "Todo es especial, tu eres especial.")
  • 1982-late 1980s - "En American, tenemos lo que tu buscas." (Spanish slogan, translated loosely to "At American, we've got what you're looking for").
  • 1980s-1988- "The On-Time Machine."
  • 1970s-1980s - "We're American Airlines, doing what we do best."
  • Early 1970s - "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 (domestic) Airline."



American Airlines serves four continents. 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 New York La Guardia (LGA) is a regional hub. Lambert-St. Louis International Airportmarker has served as a regional as well for several years. However, the airline's 2009 restructuring will lead to the airport being removed as a hub in the summer of 2010. American serves the second largest number of international destinations, second to Continental Airlines.

American is the only U.S. airline with scheduled flights to Anguillamarker, Boliviamarker, Dominicamarker, Grenadamarker, Saint Vincent and the Grenadinesmarker, and Uruguaymarker.

American has begun to expand in Asia, with mixed success. In 2005, American re-introduced a non-stop flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to Osaka-Kansaimarker, which has since been discontinued. American also launched non-stop service from Chicago to Nagoya-Centrairmarker, but that too ended within a year. Also in 2005, American launched service from Chicago to Delhimarker. In April 2006, American began service from Chicago to Shanghai, also profitably. However, in October 2006, American ceased its San Jose, California to Tokyo-Narita service, leaving LAX as American's sole international gateways on the West Coast. American planned flights between Dallas/Fort Worth and Beijing via Chicago-O'Hare (on Westbound only) in 2007 but lost its bid to United Airlines' Dullesmarker to Beijing route. AA was granted permission in September 2007 to start a Chicago-Beijing route in a new set of China routes in 2009, but currently plans to begin service April 4, 2010. American Airlines delayed the launched of the new China route from April 4 to May 1, 2010. The Chicago-Beijing launch date was changed again from May 1, 2010 to April 26, 2010.


As of October 2009, the American Airlines fleet consists of 603 aircraft.

In August 2007 the airline announced it would offer Wi-fi internet services on Boeing 767-200ER flights across the United Statesmarker. On August 20, 2008, American Airlines became the first to offer full inflight internet service.

In October 2008, American announced plans to order the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

American is the largest operator of the McDonnell Douglas MD-80, with some 300 of the type. As part of its fleet renewal plan, American is replacing one-fourth of its MD-80s with the Boeing 737-800, which offers a 35 percent increase per-seat mileage. The rest will eventually be replaced by Boeing's next generation narrow body aircraft, the Boeing Y1, which may not be until 2020 or later. American Airlines has stated that they have MD-80 leases running until as late as 2024.

In August 2009, American officially retired its fleet of Airbus A300 aircraft, after 21 years of service. American has not made plans to replace this fleet.


American Airlines had an average fleet age of 15.6 years in August 2009. American Airlines now operates an all Boeing fleet (which they include MD/Douglas) due to the retirement of the Airbus A300 aircraft in 2009.
American Airlines Fleet
Aircraft In
Orders Purchase Rights Passengers
IFE Introduction Notes
Boeing 737-800 99 73 0 Old Configuration: 148 (16/132)
New Configuration:
160 (16/144)
Overhead monitors, audio 1999 The oldest MD-82s and MD-83s are being replaced with 737-800s. The rest will be replaced with Boeing's 737 replacement (Y1)
Boeing 757-200 124 0 0 190 (24/166)
188 (22/166)
182 (16/166)

Overhead monitors, audio 1989 All fitted with winglets
To be fitted with new interiors
18 to be modified to an international version

Boeing 767-200ER 15 0 0 159 (10/30/119) Personal media player offered in First and Business Class on transcontinental flights
Overhead monitors and audio system in all classes

1986 All 15 aircraft are fitted with three classes and operate flagship service on transcontinental routes.
Boeing 767-300ER 58 0 0 225 (30/195) Personal DVD Player offered in Business Class,
Overhead monitors in Economy, audio in both classes
1988 5 fitted with winglets
To be fitted with winglets
Fitted with New Business Class.

Boeing 777-200ER 47 7 0 247 (16/37/194) AVOD, Audio 1999 Fitted with Flagship Suites
Fitted with New Business Class
Fitted with AVOD in First/Business Class
Fitted with AVOD in Economy class

Boeing 787-9 0 42

(see note)
58 TBD TBD 2013

(see note)
Boeing has confirmed that the 787-9 will not enter service before 2013 and AA forecasts that the first aircraft will be delivered in late 2013.
McDonnell Douglas MD-82 184 0 0 136 (16/120)
140 (16/124)
None 1983 Largest operator of the MD-82
Oldest being replaced by: Boeing 737-800
The rest will be replaced with Boeing's 737 replacement (Y1)

McDonnell Douglas MD-83 81 0 0 136 (16/120)
140 (16/124)
None 1987 Largest operator of the MD-83
Oldest being replaced by: Boeing 737-800
The rest will be replaced with Boeing's 737 replacement (Y1)

Total 608 122 58
*Aircell Internet Broadband access is being installed on all Boeing 767-200 and Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

File:AAL Boeing B738 N920AN.JPG|Boeing 737-800File:American 757 on final approach at St Maarten Airport.jpg|Boeing 757-200File:American Airlines 767-200 N324AA.jpg|Boeing 767-200ERFile:Aa b767-300er takeoff at manchester arp.jpg|Boeing 767-300ERImage:aa.b777-200er.n781an.arp.jpg|Boeing 777-200ERFile:Aa oneworld b777-200er n791an arp.jpg|Boeing 777-200ER in Oneworld liveryFile:American Airlines MD-80 flight 577.jpg|McDonnell Douglas MD-82File:AA MD-80.jpg|McDonnell Douglas MD-83

Historical fleet types

1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
Ford 5-AT


BAC 111

McDonnell Douglas MD-80

1979 - [Present]
Curtiss Condor

1934 - 1950
Lockheed L-188 Electra

737 & BAe 146

Fokker 100

Fairchild 100

1931 - 1952
Convair 240

Boeing 727


Airbus A300



Boeing 707

Boeing 757

1989 - [Present]

Boeing 737NG

1999 - [Present]

Boeing 747-100

Boeing 747SP

Boeing 777

1999 - [Present]
McDonnell Douglas DC-10

Boeing 767

1982 - [Present]




AAdvantage is the frequent flyer program of American Airlines. Launched May 1, 1981, it was the first such loyalty program in the world, and remains the largest with more than 50 million members as of 2005.

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.


Increased competition following the 1978 Airline Deregulation Act prompted airline marketing professionals to develop ways to reward repeat customers and build brand loyalty. The first idea at American, a special "loyalty fare", was modified and expanded to offer free first class tickets and upgrades to first class for companions, or discounted coach tickets. Membership was seeded by searching AA's SABRE computer reservations system for recurring phone numbers. The 130,000 most frequent flyers, plus an additional 60,000 members of AA's Admirals Club were pre-enrolled and sent letters with their new account numbers. The name was selected by AA's advertising agency, and is consistent with other American Airlines programs featuring "AA" in the name and logo. The logo was designed by Massimo Vignelli.

Less than a week later, rival United Airlines launched its Mileage Plus program; other airlines followed in the ensuing months and years. The rapid appearance of competition changed the nature of the program, and as airlines began to compete on the features of their frequent flyer programs, AAdvantage liberalized its rules, established partnerships with hotel and rental car agencies, and offered promotions such as extra free beverages. In 1982 AAdvantage also became the first program to cooperate with an international carrier; members could accrue and redeem miles on British Airways flights to Europe.

In 2005 American Airlines joined other major US carriers in introducing an online shopping portal allowing shoppers to earn AAdvantage miles when shopping online.


In addition to its Oneworld, American Connection, and American Eagle partnerships, American Airlines offers frequent flier partnerships with the following airlines and railways:



Environmental record

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has awarded American Airlines its 2005 Governor's Award for its outstanding efforts in environmental protection and pollution prevention. American Airline's wastewater treatment plant recycles water used at the base of the wash aircraft, process rinse water tanks, and irrigates landscape. That alone has saved almost 1 million dollars since 2002. In addition to that, American Airlines has also won the award for the reduction of hazardous waste that saved them 229,000 dollars after a 2,000 dollar investment. A bar code system used is to track hazardous waste. It has led to reduction of waste by 50 percent since 2000.

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.

American Airlines Vacations

American Airlines Vacations is a subsidiary of American Airlines, which is a subsidiary of AMR Corporation. American Airlines Vacations, based in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, is the largest airline-owned tour operator in the United States.

History: 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 Caribbeanmarker, Mexicomarker, Hawaiimarker, Europe, Canadamarker, the United Statesmarker, Latin America and Asia. American Airlines Vacations is the only travel company that allows payment with AAdvantage miles.

The current president of American Airlines Vacations is Suzanne Rubin.

American Airlines Vacations is a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Admirals Club

The Admirals Club was conceived by AA president C.R. Smith as a marketing gimmick 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, the Club (and most other airline lounges) switched to a paid membership program.

Membership now costs $300 to $450 a year, depending on AAdvantage frequent flyer program level (and annual renewal membership costs $250–$400); membership can also be purchased with AAdvantage miles.


Flagship Lounge

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

The added amenities of the Flagship Lounges compared to the normal Admirals Club include free alcoholic beverages including premium brands not found in the Admirals Club, free premium buffet snacks including breakfast items, salads, sandwiches, fruits, chocolates, cheeses and other light fare (options change based on time of day), as well as a less crowded, more comfortable lounge space. Additionally, complimentary Lenovo computer terminals with free internet access, complimentary T-Mobile hotspot access, and complimentary printing is available at most locations, as are shower facilities. The AA Flagship Lounge concept is similar to First Class lounges offered by other airlines around the world, though many international carriers offer full meal services, massages and other amenities in First lounges that AA does not.

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:

Codeshare agreements

American has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:
AmericanConnection, which feeds American's hub at Lambert Saint Louis International Airportmarker, is also a codesharing operation with three regional carriers. It also has reciprocal agreements for earning frequent flyer miles with several airlines, including all other members of the Oneworld alliance.


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 an industrial 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, American's employees revolted when the livery was made public, and launched a "Save the Eagle" campaign similar to the "Save the Flying Red Horse" campaign at Mobil. Eventually, the designer caved in and created a highly stylized eagle, which remains the company's logo to this day. In 1999, American painted a new Boeing 757 in its 1959 international orange livery. There is a Boeing 737-800 painted in the retro AstroJet livery.

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

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

On-board service

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 and the Dominican Republic began on March 1, 2009. American will continue to offer free coach meals on flights to Europe, Haiti, Japan, and other destinations.

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. First class and business class passengers receive alcoholic beverages for free. Non-alcoholic beverages are free for all classes.

Blankets and pillows are provided free of charge. 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.

Accidents and incidents


  • In the 1960s, Mattel released a series of American Airlines stewardess Barbie dolls.
  • 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.
  • On 30 March 1973 AA became the first major airline to employ a female pilot when Bonnie Tiburzi was hired to fly Boeing 727s.
  • AA lobbied heavily to be assigned the IATA airline code US upon the US military releasing it for non-military use. However, USAir ultimately won the bid for the US airliner code.
  • 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 is the only legacy carrier in the United States which has not filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
  • Vignelli Associates designed the AA eagle logo in 1967. Vignelli attributes the introduction of his firm to American Airlines to Henry Dreyfuss, the legendary AA design consultant. The logo is still in use today.
  • AA has its name on two major U.S. venues, American Airlines Centermarker in Dallas, home to the Mavericks and Stars, and American Airlines Arenamarker in Miami, home to the Miami Heat. When the Heat and Mavericks played each other in the 2006 NBA Finals, it was referred to as the "American Airlines series."
  • AA appears in the movie Up in the Air.
  • An American Airlines ( Airways) DC2 was the setting for Shirley Temple to sing, "On the Good Ship Lollipop" while James Dunn took her up. contrary to popular belief, the good ship lollipop was always an airplane and not a seagoing ship. See the film "Curly Top" for some fine aeronautical footage of the DC2 and the even earlier Curtis Condor airliner (biplane).


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


  1. Federal Aviation Administration - Airline Certificate Information - Detail View
  2. American airlines information pictures and facts
  3. " Corporate Structure." American Airlines. Retrieved on May 18, 2009.
  4. American Airlines Revenue Sources, Wikinvest. Retrieved June 26, 2009.
  6. Vignelli Associates About the AA Logo
  7. Iconic Logo Designers
  8. Global Brands that own a Two Letter Domain
  9. World Airline Directory. Flight International. March 20, 1975. " 472.
  10. " Flatiron / Gramercy / Murray Hill / Union Square: Manhattan Neighborhood Map." Retrieved on January 25, 2009.
  11. Sterba, James P. " American Will Shift Headquarters From Manhattan to Dallas Airport; Big Economies Predicted." The New York Times. Thursday November 16, 1978. Page A1. Retrieved on August 27, 2009.
  12. " American Airlines Finishes Moving into Headquarters Monday." Associated Press at Ocala Star-Banner. January 16, 1983. 6A. Google News 4 of 62. Retrieved on August 27, 2009.
  16. "US Airways and American Airlines to merge?"Austin International Travel Examiner. June 26, 2009.
  18. American Faces Escalating Dispute with FAA, Wall Street Journal,Corporate News, September 4, 2009
  19. FAA investigating American's MD-80 repairs, Associated Press, reported on AT&T on-line news, September 4, 2009
  20. American Airlines in talks to invest in Japan Airlines
  21. Delta Air Lines also after stake in Japan Airlines
  24. American seeking Beijing flight delay
  25. American Airlines Moves Up Launch Date for New Service to China
  26. American Airlines Fleet Information -
  27., 8 July 2007
  28. American Airlines Average Fleet Age
  29. American 767-300 with winglets at Heathrow!
  30. American Airlines And Aviation Partners Boeing Team Up To Certify And Install 767-300ER Blended Winglets
  32. AA 10-Q filing for Q1 2009
  33. American Airline's First Installation of Aircell
  42. Jet Airways to partner American Airlines : India Business
  43. Delta, Air Canada Among Carriers Weighing Benefit of Paint Stripping
  44. " North America And Caribbean Meal Service." American Airlines. Accessed February 18, 2009.
  45. " International Flagship Entrees." American Airlines. Accessed February 18, 2009
  46. " Onboard Beverages." American Airlines. Accessed February 18, 2009

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