American Airlines Review; Are they superior?

American Airlines was established in 1926 by Charles Lindbergh. Read our detailed review of American Airlines, one of the 3 major legacy carriers in the US.


The United States of America, the pioneer of aviation, has 3 major airlines and American Airlines is one of them along with being a legacy carrier. On April 15, 1926, Charles Lindbergh laid the foundation for what was to become American Airlines in the future by carrying mail from St. Louis, Missouri to Chicago, Illinois.

In 1936, the founder of American Airways C.R Smith switched American’s business model from carrying mail to carrying passengers, and as a result, the New York Chicago route was inaugurated using the Douglas DC-3. In the early 1950s, American Airways established the first nonstop transcontinental route across the US.

On January 25th, 1959, American Airlines entered the jet age with the purchase of the Boeing 707. Not long after that, American Airlines changed its hub from New York to Dallas Fort Worth, and adopted the hub and spoke model as its business model. In 1999, American Airlines joined the Oneworld alliance which included airlines like Cathay Pacific, British Airways, and Qantas.

However, bad times were just around the corner for American Airlines, when on September 11, 2001, two American Airlines flights bound for Los Angeles from Boston and Washington Dulles, Flight 11 and Flight 77 crashed into the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon respectively. Immediately afterward, American airlines filed for bankruptcy protection and rolled out a series of cost-cutting measures across the entire fleet.

american airlines review
American Airlines serves 296 domestic destinations and 81 international destinations

The airline briefly returned to profitability in 2005 before the financial crisis of 2008 struck. During the financial crisis, unprofitable routes were closed down, employees were furloughed, and older less fuel-efficient aircraft like the Airbus A300 were retired.

For quite some time, American Airlines had been looking to merge with another airline to combat Delta’s growing expansion particularly after Delta had merged with Northwest Airlines. American Airlines opted to acquire US Airways and announced their intention to merge in 2014.

Just before 2020, American Airlines had been on an expansion and modernization spree when COVID-19 struck. The airline was forced to cut capacity on several routes and ground a portion of its fleet until it found lucrative options in flying cargo and charter.

Key people at American Airlines are as follows:

1. Robert Isom (CEO)

2. Doug Parker (Chairman)

3. Derek Kerr (CFO)

For a more complete history of American Airlines, please click the link below:

“On April 15, 1926, Charles Lindbergh flew the first American Airlines flight – carrying U.S. mail from St. Louis, Missouri, to Chicago, Illinois. After 8 years of mail routes, the airline began to form into what it is today.”
american airlines review
American Airlines have been around for almost 96 years since its inception in 1926.

Where do American airlines fly?

American Airlines serves international and domestic destinations. It serves 296 domestic destinations and 81 international destinations across five continents. Its primary and largest hub is based in Dallas, Fort Worth. American Airlines also operates 9 other hubs across the United States.

Their hubs are as follows:

1. Charlotte.

2. Chicago O’Hare.

3. Los Angeles (LAX).

4. Miami.

5. New York JFK.

6. New York LaGuardia.

7. Phoenix, Sky Harbor.

8. Washington Ronald Reagan.

9. Philadelphia.

American Airlines operates maintenance and repair bases at their hubs in Charlotte, Dallas Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, and Tulsa airports.

Do they fly internationally?

American Airlines flies to 81 destinations in 48 countries spanning five continents. You can get an international flight to:

1. Switzerland (Zurich).

2. Spain (Barcelona, Madrid).

3. Qatar (Doha).

4. Japan (Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo).

5. Hong Kong.

6. Greece (Athens).

For a complete list of destinations, please click the link below:

american airlines review
According to online reviews from current and ex-employees, American is a great airline to work for

How long have American airlines been around?

American Airlines have been around for almost 96 years since its inception in 1926. The key to American Airlines being around for such a long time is the focus on customer service and the top management taking the right strategic decisions at the right time.

Strategic partnerships, such as joining the Oneworld alliance, and codeshares with other airlines have also played an important role in keeping American Airlines a major player in the US aviation market.

Is American airlines a good airline to work for?

According to American airlines reviews online from current and ex-employees, American Airlines is a great company to work for. Pilots, flight crew and other employees particularly praised the opportunities given to them to grow and enhance their skill set.

In an online survey, employees were very happy and satisfied with the compensation offered by American Airlines, however, the work-life balance was not as good as Delta’s.

How much do American Airlines pilots get paid?

An average pilot at American Airlines makes around $118,000 annually. Recently, American Airlines announced that it would increase pilot salaries after United Airlines offered its pilots an “industry-leading contract”.

According to the announcement, a captain flying narrow-body jets like the Airbus A321 or the Boeing 737 would be making $340,000 a year and a captain flying wide-body jets, such as the Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 would earn up to $425,000 annually. This represents an annual increase of $45,000 and $64,000 respectively.  

However, concerns are being voiced by pilots over the poor work-life balance and the union has yet to approve the proposal. In contrast, American Airlines pays the highest salary to flight attendants as compared to the three major carriers.

A Flight attendant at American Airlines can expect to earn an average income of $43,460 annually. 

For more information, click on the links below:

Are American Airlines flights safe?

American Airlines has a very robust system to prevent and report accidents and incidents. However, it still has a poor safety score according to a survey conducted in 2021. During COVID-19, it underwent an extensive assessment in which it had to demonstrate that it could properly execute cleaning and disinfection procedures.

At the same time, it was criticized for not following social distancing and allowing excessive contact between passengers by not implementing a safer boarding process.

What planes do they use?

American Airlines operates a mixed fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft. American Airlines has an average fleet age of 12.2 years. The fleet includes both narrow-body aircraft and wide-body aircraft. American Airlines has a total of 915 aircraft currently with firm orders for 15 more jets. Following is a breakdown of American Airlines current fleet:

Please click on the links below for more information regarding American Airlines fleet:

Aircraft TypeCurrentOn OrderTotal
Airbus A319133133
Airbus A3204848
Airbus A3212763279
Boeing 737345345
Boeing 7776767
Boeing 787461258
Grand Total91515930

Is it the largest airline in the world?

American Airlines is one of the largest airlines in the world in terms of passengers carried and the 2nd largest airline in the world in terms of revenue. As of June 2022, the airline has generated a revenue of almost 30 billion dollars while carrying 165 million passengers annually.

It has recovered significantly after the effects of the pandemic and it is expected to reach 2019 operating levels in the upcoming year or two. Due to its excellent reputation, American Airlines has a brand value of 5.3 billion dollars as estimated by Forbes.

Advantages of flying for American airlines 

Following are some of the advantages of flying for American airlines:

1. Free medical insurance.

2. Financial options offered to employees in the form of stock options, bonus pay, etc.

3. Excellent retirement plans.

4. Employee mentoring programs.

5. Paid leave benefits.

american airlines review
American Airlines is one of the largest airlines in the world in terms of passengers carried and the 2nd largest airline in the world in terms of revenue

Disadvantages of flying for American airlines 

Following are some of the disadvantages of flying for American airlines:

1. Poor work-life balance as compared to employees at Delta and other carriers

2. Complaints about racism towards black passengers.

3. Poor reliability and pricing.

FAQs about American airlines:

Is American Airlines reliable?

In 2021, American Airlines was rated second last due to its poor reliability, safety, and pricing standards. The carrier sustained at least 50 passenger or employee injuries requiring varying levels of medical care. There have also been reports of poor customer service, customers saying their flight was delayed, and reports of maintenance issues.

When was American Airlines last crash?

Over the years since its inception, American Airlines has had several crashes, incidents, and hijackings. Until now, American Airlines have been involved in 11 accidents with a total of 858 fatalities. American Airlines has also had multiple events of toxic fumes where the aircraft had to either divert or return to its point of origin.

The last fatal accident occurred on November 12, 2001, when an Airbus A300 crashed into a New York suburb shortly after takeoff from New York JFK airport.

American Airlines flight 587 was a scheduled service from New York JFK to Las Americas International Airport, Santo Domingo. It was operated by an Airbus A300. Shortly after takeoff, the First Officer started applying aggressive rudder inputs to counter the effect of wake turbulence by a preceding 747.

This caused extensive stress on the vertical stabilizer until it failed and separated completely thus dooming the aircraft. The engines also separated due to the extreme forces acting on the aircraft.

For more information on American Airlines Flight 587, please click the link below:

Is American Airlines a good airline?

Overall, American Airlines is known for its comfort and it has been certified by Skytrax as a 3-star airline. However, in terms of safety, reliability, and pricing it fails to impress. 


Despite facing many challenges such as terrorism, multiple financial crises, etc., American Airlines has emerged as a strong player in the US aviation market that is only getting stronger with the passage of time. By offering its customers a premium product along with good connections, and excellent customer service, it has cemented a place for itself.

American Airlines has also been keeping its fleet updated by retiring gas guzzlers like the MD80 and the Airbus A300 and replacing them with more fuel-efficient and modern options like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Boeing 777. However, American Airlines needs to improve its reliability and safety to maintain control of the market share it presently has.

Do you have experience flying American airlines? What are your thoughts?

Or would you consider them for your next flight? Have you had an amazing flight or a terrible experience with any other airline?

What do you think is the best or the worst airline?

Do you fly business class, first class or economy? How about a favourite airport?

Let us know in the comments!

You might also be interested in our articles on:

How To Get Low Hour Pilot Jobs In 2022 – Your First Pilot Job

Airlines That Pay For Pilot Training

United Airlines Review; How Do They Measure Up?

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ken johnson


Ken is a passionate aviator, a professional pilot and flight instructor. He has over 17 years of flight experience across hundreds of aircraft ranging from recreational, aerobatic, historic, commercial and military aircraft, training hundreds of students along the way. Find out more.

Ken has 124 posts and counting. See all posts by Ken

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