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American Airlines drops 2 routes, adds 2 others in latest network adjustment

Aug. 30, 2021
4 min read
American Airlines drops 2 routes, adds 2 others in latest network adjustment
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It's been a busy few weeks for American Airlines' network planning team.

Over the weekend, the Fort Worth-based carrier published its fall schedule, which included a bunch of changes networkwide. Most notably, American is dropping two routes from Philly, while adding two others from Chicago, as first seen in Cirium schedules and later confirmed by the airline.

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American's Philadelphia hub is the big loser with routes to Des Moines, Iowa (DSM), and Omaha, Nebraska (OMA), getting cut from the airline's map.

The carrier last flew from Philly to DSM and OMA in August and September of last year, respectively. Both routes were originally slated to resume with daily service just over one year later, in November 2021.

As for Chicago, the Windy City will see new American service to the two largest airports in Costa Rica: San Jose (SJO) and Liberia (LIR). By flying both to the capital and to Liberia on the west coast, American will offer travelers a comprehensive schedule for exploring this Central American country.

Service between Chicago O'Hare (ORD) and SJO begins on Nov. 2 with three weekly flights. Service to LIR will be operated once weekly on Saturdays, beginning on Nov. 6. American will deploy a 172-seat Boeing 737-800 — a notoriously uncomfortable aircraft for a roughly five-hour flight — on the new Costa Rica routes.

For now, the new flights are scheduled seasonally, with service ending in the middle of spring, but it's possible that AA upgrades them to year-round should demand warrant.

American will go head-to-head against United Airlines, which also operates a massive hub in Chicago, on the new Costa Rica routes.

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For AA, Chicago marks the sixth destination with regularly scheduled nonstop flights to Costa Rica, joining four other hubs: Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami and New York-JFK. Additionally, as part of the airline's recent expansion in Austin, the carrier has added a slew of new routes, including short-haul international service to Liberia.

Combined, AA's move to boost flights to Costa Rica, while trimming down service to secondary domestic cities, is seemingly another pandemic-era play to cater to leisure travelers, who've largely returned to the skies. (Along with the new Costa Rica routes, American also extended the schedule on its New York-JFK to Jackson Hole, Wyoming flight through the winter season — another leisure-focused play for skiers and snowboarders.)

With a recovery in business travel just taking hold — and facing strong headwinds from the incredibly contagious delta variant — American's push to connect more leisure markets makes sense.

Even without Philly, the carrier is still scheduled to fly to Des Moines from six airports nationwide, and to Omaha from seven, including from Charlotte on the East Coast.

Before the pandemic, Philadelphia was American's primary connecting gateway for transatlantic travelers headed to Europe. Without business travel, American seemingly doesn't see the demand to warrant flights from Des Moines and Omaha to Philly, which no longer offers as much connectivity as it once did. If someone needs to get from Omaha to London, they can connect through Dallas/Fort Worth or Charlotte instead.

Ever since merging with US Airways and inheriting the carrier's Philly hub, American positioned Philly as the premier transatlantic gateway. However, in recent years, American has added new European routes from New York, while focusing much of its domestic connectivity through Dallas/Fort Worth and Charlotte, leaving Philly as a hub without a clear-cut strategy — especially during the ongoing pandemic.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
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  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023