American Airlines Most Memorable Commercials Came After Tragedy

The first commercial 180-minute ETOPS flights were made by American 767-300ERs DFW-HNL (Aero Icarus Collection via Wikipedia)

Call us a sucker for sappy commercials, but even 16+ years later, these American commercials still hit you right in the feels.

Less than five months after American acquired TWA, the 9-11 attacks shook the foundation of the airline industry.  American originally had high hopes for TWA. They planned to use St. Louis Lambert as a reliever hub for Chicago O’Hare.  TWA had a fleet of MD-80s, 717s and 757s.  American planned to keep the MD-80s and looked at keeping the 757s for a period.  Unfortunately, 9/11 struck.

9/11 Put The Industry In Peril

The U.S. government closed airports and canceled thousands of flights which resulted in huge losses. Even when airports reopened, passengers remained wary of flying on major airlines and demand shrunk. In total, domestic airlines lost $13 billion in 2001 and a further $11.3 billion in 2002.

Congress passed a law creating the Air Transportation Stabilization Board which made $10 billion in loans available to the struggling airlines. Even so, US Airways and United filed for bankruptcy and while it survived, American was forced to lay off 7,000 employees.

AA’s Two Best Commercials

A major public relations push got underway to encourage people to their faith back into American Airlines. AA’s post 9-11 ad campaign appealed to viewer’s sense of patriotism and encouraged them to enjoy their freedom to travel as citizens of the United States.We think these two commercials might be some of American’s best advertisements.