American Airlines is one of the world’s largest and best-known carriers. Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, just a few miles from its hub at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, American serves hundreds of locations with thousands of flights taking passengers to places in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Latin American, China, India, Japan, and the Caribbean.
American Airlines, affectionately known as AA, was founded in’30, and has pioneered several industry firsts. It was the first airline to offer a frequent flyer program. It was the first airline to use electronic ticketing. Its AAdvantage rewards program remains the largest frequent flyer program in the world, with in excess of 50 million members.
American Airlines currently offers service to over 260 cities with almost 700 aircraft. American is very popular on routes between the United States and Latin American, carrying over a million passengers between the two markets each year. In fact, American Airlines carries more passengers between the United States and Latin America than any other airline. In addition, American Airlines has a strong international market.
There are four American hubs throughout the world: Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Chicago, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Miami. The airline also has a strong presence in all the New York airports, in Los Angeles, and Boston. The company’s maintenance facilities, employing thousands of workers are located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Kansas City, and Fort Worth.
American Airlines is also the parent company of a regional carrier called American Eagle Airlines. American Eagle Airlines offers regional service in the United States, the Caribbean, Canada, and Mexico. Like American Airlines, American Eagle is also headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas.
American Airlines was one of the founding members of Oneworld, the third-largest airline alliance on earth, sharing ticketing and luggage transfer facilities with numerous other carriers to make flying more convenient. Oneworld airlines also share passenger terminals and frequent flier programs. Oneworld celebrates 10 years of service in 2009.
Part of the reason American Airlines serves so many destinations around the world, but especially in the USA, was its acquisition of Trans World Airlines (TWA) and the TWA hub in St. Louis in 2001. Unfortunately, the acquisition of TWA caused American to bleed cash, and these financial problems were compounded when two American Airlines planes were hijacked and crashed on 9/11. After the September attacks, American Airlines was forced to relinquish its St. Louis hub and to lay off a small number, that is, a few dozen, former TWA employees. American Airlines continues to struggle to minimize its losses, and in 2008 was the first airline to charge fees for checked baggage. Despite the nearly universal unpopularity of the move with passengers, just as they adopted other American Airlines innovations, other carriers also announced their own baggage fees.
Of American’s fleet of nearly 700 jets, most of them are McDonnell Douglas MD-82 and MD-88 twinjets. American recently announced it will order the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to add to its fleet.
American is also a leader in in-flight technology, becoming in 2008 the first carrier to offer in-flight Internet service. This came less than a year after American Airlines began offering free Wi-Fi to passengers on flights within the USA.