Some of American Airlines‘ latest routes will now take place at ground level, instead of the more conventional 30,000 feet, as the US flag carrier has become the latest to introduce an integrated bus service.

The airline announced yesterday that the new service will serve smaller regional destinations from its hub in Philadelphia.

The service, operated in collaboration with airport bus operator Landline, will transport passengers to destinations 50 to 70 miles from its Pennsylvania hub. Current destinations include Allentown, Pennsylvania; Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania; and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

american airlines introduces bus service from Philadelphia to regional destinations including atlantic city
Atlantic City is one of the destinations to be served by American’s new bus service, taking just over one hour by road from its Philadephia hub | © Dough4872

“More efficient, affordable and relaxing” way of travelling

Landline boss, David Sunde, said passengers can expect quicker journeys than they might expect once they factor in all the parts of flying that take place before or after you’re actually in the air.

“For too long, travellers have been bothered by all of the ancillary parts of flying, including getting to and from the airport, parking, transporting their bags, and navigating security – we’re changing that.

Landline is proud to partner with American to make travel even more efficient, affordable and relaxing. Alongside American, we’re excited to introduce travellers to a new level of convenience and comfort.”

The scheme claims to offer a cost-effective and more environmentally friendly expansion of America’s route network. The bus service promises to be fully integrated with their flight booking system so the experience of the booking will feel just like a connecting flight.

Pilot shortages and fuel price increases

It is thought the move may have been made partly in response to widespread pilot shortages and skyrocketing prices for fuel, compounding the challenges airlines face in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is reported that US airlines are only offering around 80% of the number of flights operating before the pandemic. As airlines focus their limited resources on their most profitable routes, smaller regional airports have borne the brunt of the downturn in passenger numbers.

Other airlines have already made similar moves, with rival United Airlines last year introducing a similar service to connect passengers to regional locations from its Denver hub.

Would you use American Airlines’ new bus service? Let us know in the comments below.

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