American Airlines Lays On Extra Flights Following Thanksgiving

American Airlines is just over halfway into its prolific Thanksgiving schedule. The airline expects that, by the end of the two week holiday season, it will have carried some 8.6 million passengers. And it’s deployed some pivotal strategies to help manage demand.

American Airlines Lays On Extra Flights Following Thanksgiving
American Airlines has scheduled more flights and introduced more aircraft for Thanksgiving. Photo: James Rowson via Wikimedia Commons

8.6 million passengers in two weeks

When American Airlines entered the Thanksgiving season, it came prepared. The airline has been able to offer its passengers a host of new technology including biometric boarding, electronic voucher systems, and delayed baggage notifications. It’s also made some crucial aircraft and scheduling decisions to support a smooth operation.

Allowing and anticipating nearly a third of all Thanksgiving passengers to travel with its airline, American has brought in widebody assistance. American Airlines normally use these aircraft for long-haul routes or to connect its hub cities. But, during the Thanksgiving period, the air carrier is using the widebodies to facilitate the passenger rush.

American Airlines Lays On Extra Flights Following Thanksgiving
A Boeing 787 Dreamliner will also appear in some airports. Photo: North West Transport Photos via Flickr

For example, it’s using aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on routes to Phoenix. In fact, Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport will receive nearly every widebody aircraft that American Airlines has at some point before the 3rd of December. Las Vegas will also be another airport that sees more widebodies than normal.

American Airlines hasn’t just laid on the same schedule every day. It’s anticipating extra traffic on 1st December, the busiest day of Thanksgiving travel. On its route from New York to Los Angeles, the airline will trade its A321 Transcon for a Boeing 777-300ER. As a result, its capabilities for delivering passengers will be almost tripled.

Whilst the A321T can carry 102 passengers over three classes, American’s 777-300ER can take 304. That’s nearly three times the revenue without much skin off American Airlines’ nose. However, this oversized replacement will only operate one service. The Boeing 777-300ER will be used on the six-hour flight between JFK in New York and Los Angeles International departing at 11 am.

American Airlines Lays On Extra Flights Following Thanksgiving
American will be using a Boeing 777-300ER for JFK to LAX flight. Photo: tjdarmstadt via Wikimedia Commons

Breaking the red-eye protocol

Whilst its ability to fly domestic routes with widebodies is impressive, American Airlines will also be testing its boundaries in other ways. The airline has laid on a number of red-eye flights and not with the normal five hour plus flight times. Instead, the airline will be scheduling night flights for services as short as three hours to ensure families are reunited and commitments are met throughout Thanksgiving.

A spokesperson for American Airlines told The Points Guy:

“On peak days during the holidays we try to offer as many flights as possible for our customers to make sure there are several options for them to visit their friends and family when it matters the most.”

A spokesperson for the airline told Simple Flying that Dallas Fort Worth in Texas will operate 78 red-eye flights on Monday 2nd December. This airport will be responsible for transporting passengers between midnight and 2:44 a.m. CT. In addition, American Airlines will be adding 97 red-eyes from three other locations.

From Charlotte Douglas International Airport:

  • Dec. 1: 31 flights between 12:05 a.m. and 12:51 a.m. local time.
  • Dec. 2: 28 flights between 12:05 a.m. and 12:44 a.m. local time.

From Philidelphia International Airport:

  • Dec. 1 and Dec. 2: Three flights at 12:01 a.m.

From Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport:

  • Dec. 1: 16 flights between 12:23 a.m. and 2:33 a.m. local time.
  • Dec. 2: 16 flights between 12:23 a.m. and 2:33 a.m. local time.

Higher profits and more interest

Without a doubt, the Thanksgiving period is set to be a money-maker for American Airlines as well as an excellent opportunity to garner passenger loyalty. And that’s what’s going to help it in the year to come. The airline has planned an ambitious 2020 with its Charlotte Douglas expansion and 20 new summer routes.

Will you be flying American Airlines for Thanksgiving? Let us know! (And if you’re celebrating, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!)