American Airlines celebrates 90 years of aviation and innovation
American Airlines celebrates 90 years of leading the world of commercial aviation, connecting families, businesses and cultures around the globe. American’s long, proud history began on the morning of April 15, 1926, when legendary aviator Charles A. Lindbergh, the chief pilot of Robertson Aircraft Corporation, stowed a bag of mail in his DH-4 biplane and took off from Chicago, headed to St. Louis. Nine decades later, Robertson is counted as one of the many airlines that would eventually make up what is now the world’s largest carrier – American Airlines.
“American is 100,000 strong and innovating every day in large and small ways. Working in this industry is a noble profession, and working for American is a special calling," said Doug Parker, American’s Chairman and CEO. “It has been a terrific 90 years for our airline and our best days lie ahead.”
To celebrate American’s 90th birthday, customers on American Airlines flight 90 from Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow enjoyed a special sendoff celebration. The cockpit crew displayed a flag with the original American Airlines logo out the aircraft window on taxi out, in honor of an old tradition at American. The placement of the flags bearing the company logo was unique to the “Flagship Fleet” of American Airlines. The pennant location and the placement of the passenger door on the American Airlines DC3s were located on the right side of the aircraft. Passengers and spectators at the terminal could readily watch the ceremonial placement of the flag at the aircraft’s arrival.
American’s history as a commercial aviation pioneer has continued since Lindbergh’s first flight. American was the first airline to introduce nonstop transcontinental travel in 1953 and the first airline to hire an African American commercial pilot, Dave Harris, in 1964. The company invented loyalty programs when it introduced AAdvantage in 1981, and American merged with US Airways to regain its place as the world’s largest carrier in 2013.