Still, American’s more robust schedule is providing some optimism for a battered industry: Shares were up 9% in early trading.
“We’re seeing a slow but steady rise in domestic demand,” Vasu Raja, American’s SVP of network strategy, said in a statement. The airline will bolster flights to its hubs, notably at Dallas-Fort Worth and Charlotte, and it will also add flights to Florida and mountain destinations in the West.
When including international flights, American’s total July 2020 schedule is just 40% of what it flew last year in the same month. The airline has gutted its international flight schedule for July to just 20% of normal because of restrictions and quarantine policies that are preventing travelers from flying.
American also said it will reopen its Admirals Club lounges “in phases” at 10 US airports beginning June 22. Trays of buffet-style food will be replaced with pre-packaged snacks, and some full-service bars will return depending on local regulations.
The carrier is also continuing to waive change fees for tickets and offer passengers free rebooking if a fgiven flight is getting too crowded. American is blocking only a portion of seats in its main cabin to encourage social distancing, while Delta is keeping every middle seat empty.