American Airlines - delays and travel information
History and recent development
American Airlines, Inc. is one of the major U.S. airlines alongside United Airlines, Delta and US Airways. Owned by AMR Corporation, it was originally formed from 82 small airlines in 1930. At the time, “American Airways” was a common brand name that united several independent air carriers, which were mainly responsible for the transportation of US Mail. It was renamed “American Air Lines” by E.L. Cord, who acquired the airline in 1934. In the 1950s - until the merger of Capital Airways and United in 1961 - American Airlines was the second-largest airline in the world after Aeroflot. American Airlines continuously expanded well into the 1990s. The airline was a pioneer in electronic ticketing in 1998, being the first airline to offer this service in the 44 countries it served. In 2011, after facing a period of severe financial difficulties in the aftermath of 9/11 and the global financial crisis, the AMR Corporation ultimately filed for bankruptcy. Merging plans between American Airlines and US Airways were announced in February 2013, but the U.S. Department of Justice filed a law suit against this merger. On December 9th 2013 the merger was completed, thus making American Airlines-US Airways the world’s largest airline under the new holding company “American Airlines Group, Inc”. The company was listed on NASDAQ that same day.
American Airlines has five hubs: Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and Miami (MIA), which both serve destinations mainly in the Americas; Chicago (ORD), the gateway to most European and Asian destinations; New York (JFK), serving both Europe and the Americas; and Los Angeles (LAX), the point of departure for most Asian destinations. One main focus of the network are Middle American destinations and the Caribbean, with destinations such as Mexico City (MEX) or Port Au Prince (PAP). However, American Airlines also serves various destinations in South America, like Buenos Aires (EZE) or Montevideo (MVD), and across Europe, Asia and Oceania, among others Paris (CDG), Hong Kong (HKG) and Sydney (SYD). One of the most frequented international destinations is London (LHR). Alongside British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Canadian Airlines and Quantas, American Airlines founded the global alliance Oneworld in 1999. American operates a fleet of 627 aircrafts with an average age of 14.7 years.
Services and quality of service
American Airlines is rated a three-star airline on SKYTRAX, the performance being a tad better in first class, where the rating is four stars on long haul flights, and 3.5 on short haul. Customers however, give American Airlines rather poor ratings in almost all classes and all categories, including food, in-flight entertainment, seat comfort and cleanliness. The condition of the aircraft is also frequently criticized. This is in line with the rather high average age of the fleet and accusations made in 2009 that American Airlines allegedly had hidden severe maintenance lapses from the FAA. American Airlines did, however, get credit for their policies on employees with a 100% rating on the Corporate Equality Index since 2002.
Poor communication in case of delay
With an on-time performance of 76% in the period from August to October 2013 according to FlightStats – thus, almost one quarter of all flights are delayed – the performance concerning delays is not too impressive; 8% of the delayed flights were late by more than 45 minutes. On the positive side, cancellations rarely occur, with less the 1% of all flights being cancelled. In a more long-term perspective, however, the on-time performance is around 90%. Within this percentage, more than 4% of the flights are cancelled or diverted. In total, this is an acceptable performance regarding cancellations and delays. There are few customer ratings of the service and handling in case of delays or cancellations; those ratings however generally state poor service and a lack of communication with passengers.
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