American Airlines Begins A New Chapter

American Airlines Boeing 777-200ER

American Airlines

Today marks another milestone in American Airlines’ 85 years in aviation history. The Federal Aviation Administration will approve American Airlines and US Airways to operate under one license (refer to news release) which will mark the end of the approval process for the merger between the two airlines started more than 18 months ago.

American Airlines


American Airlines (AA) headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, US, was founded in 1930 under the name American Airways Company by consolidating 82 smaller airlines through acquisitions and reorganizations.  By 1933, American Airways operated a transcontinental route network serving 72 cities, mostly in the northeastern, midwestern, and southwestern United States.

The airline was acquired by E. L. Cord in 1934 who renamed it American Airlines. The first person to run the new company was C. R. Smith who worked at Donald Douglas in the development of DC-3. As a launch customer of this aircraft in 1936, AA became the first customer to operate a profitable route solely by transporting passengers (instead of a combination of passengers, freight and US Mail).

American Airlines DC3

American Airlines DC3 Image taken from and credit to Leslie Jones, via the Boston Public Library on April 8, 2015 (All Rights Reserved)

AA called the DC-3 aircraft “Flagships” and created the world’s first airport lounge at New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA) in 1939 (refer to our coverage in this post).

The following is a list of key successes American Airlines achieved thus far:
  • Implementation of the first electronic booking system with IBM called Semi-automated Business Research Environment (SABRE) (1957)
  • First major airline to employ a female pilot with the hiring of Bonnie Tiburzi to fly the Boeing 727 (1973)
  • First major airline to popularize the frequent flyer program. AAdvantage(R) was the first program to offer special “loyalty fare” which offered free first class tickets and upgrades to first class for companions, or discounted coach tickets. (1981)
  • First airline to implement cross airline flight redemptions with British Airways (1982)
  • First airline to offer electronic ticketing in all 44 countries it operated in (1998)

In the next post, we will look the timelines between American Airlines and US Airways and how the new airlines look today.