Is American Airlines Good or Bad?

If you are reading this, I am sure you are wondering whether or not American Airlines is actually a good or a bad airline. Do the negatives outweigh the positives?

I have flown with American Airlines for over 30 years to many domestic and international destinations and would like to share my experience with you in this article. Additionally, I reviewed the official rankings and ratings of hundreds of other customers.

American Airlines is a good airline because it has a perfect safety rating and a fantastic loyalty rewards program. It ranks as the largest airline in the world and flies to more than 350 destinations worldwide. They serve more destinations nonstop than any other US-based carrier.

They are also part of the Oneworld Alliance Program, allowing even more flight opportunities on partnering airlines.

On the other hand, American Airlines sometimes receives bad reviews due to poor reliability, and they may not have the best reputation when it comes to customer service. High cancellation fees and small legroom are the other downsides.

💡 However, numerous customers always report friendly flight crews, no baggage issues, and safe travels. Overall, American Airlines is still a good flight carrier. If you know what to expect based on your ticket type, you are more likely to have a positive travel experience, despite the downsides.

Depending on the purpose of your trip and your personal needs and preferences, American Airlines may or may not be right for you. Besides flying, the airline offers various perks and solutions to travelers, including lounge access and help to those with limited funds.

While it does have some room for improvement, remember that no airline is perfect. Be sure to do your own research when choosing the right airline carrier, and note that a couple of bad review does not dictate the service of the entire airline.

Saving Money on Your Next Flight

We love all three books. Check them out to save hundreds of dollars the next time you book a flight!

💡 Additionally, we recommend using the Expedia flight search: Find the right flight for your trip on Expedia (save the link!)

Now, I am discussing the good and the bad aspects of American Airlines Airlines.

Why It Is a Good Airline | 7 Pros

While American Airlines may not have the best reputation of being the #1 airline in the world, there are plenty of positive aspects that come along with flying with American Airlines.

From safety, perks, and entertainment, American Airlines comes with high-quality services. Here are some of the pros of flying with American Airlines.

1. American Airlines Loyalty Program

An advantage is the American Airlines Loyalty Program, where flyers can earn points and miles in exchange for free flights and rewards. Members can earn points through flying, shopping, dining, or charging on specific credit cards.

Elite members have even more benefits, such as extra baggage, priority boarding, or free changes and cancelations. Additionally, American Airlines is a member of Oneworld Alliance, meaning you can use and earn AAdvantage miles by flying with other members of Oneworld Alliance.

2. Charity Partnership

When flying with American Airlines, passengers will be thankful to know that they take their corporate responsibility seriously, and do their best to give back to others. The airline has donated over 155,000 volunteer hours, 20 million miles, and other community initiatives with their partners such as the American Red Cross, Make a Wish Foundation, and Unicef.

I love knowing that part of my ticket fares are being given to a good cause, and are able to help those less fortunate than myself.

3. Safety

American Airlines has an excellent safety rating of 7/7. When flying with American Airlines, passengers will feel safe and secure while traveling. There are very rarely complaints or concerns when it comes to passenger or aircraft safety, and there have been very few incident reports filed with the company.

💡 I have taken dozens of flights with American Airlines worldwide, and have never felt unsafe or in danger due to the airline.

4. First Class & Business Class Available

Many airlines flying mainly domestically, don’t have special seating classes, such as business class and first class. Luckily, American Airlines offer both classes for flyers looking to travel more comfortably and in style on domestic and international flights.

There is a wide range of fare options that offer flexibility, including extra baggage, meals, or complimentary beverages when flying on business or first class with American Airlines.

When flying from Los Angeles to New York a few years ago on a business trip, I was able to fly in comfort and be well-rested for my early meeting on arrival to the city.

Cheap Airline Deals!
5. Large Amount of Destinations

Being the largest airline in the world, American Airlines flights to hundreds of destinations, with over 6,000 flights per day to more than 350 cities. While the airline’s home hub is in Dallas, Texas, they operate flights all over the world.

No matter where in the world you are trying to go, there is undoubtedly an American Airlines flight that will get you there, or at least get you started.

Once, I had a last-minute emergency while overseas in Malaysia and had to fly home early on short notice a few years ago. Thankfully, I had plenty of flight options with American Airlines and partnering airlines that was able to get me home as quickly as possible.

6. American Airlines Mobile App

The American Airlines Moblie App allows passengers to access all their flight information straight from their phones. Flyers can check in early, download boarding passes, change and cancel flights, and stay up to date on announcements of changes that may occur before their flight.

I like their app, because it is a perfect solution to stay up to date while on the road and be informed quickly and conveniently about anything regarding their flight.

7. In-Flight Entertainment

American Airlines offers in-flight entertainment on backseat screens or through your personal devices using the American Airlines App. While flying, passengers can select from a wide range of movies, tv shows, music, games, and interactive maps to stay entertained while up in the sky.

Wifi is available for an extra charge, which is specifically helpful to those like me who typically spend a lot of time working during long-haul flights. In-flight wifi allows me to stay organized and get more work done in transit, allowing me more free time in my new adventurous destination.

Drawbacks | 4 Cons

There are a lot of perks and high-quality factors that come with flying with American Airlines. But where there is a positive, there is always a negative.

Here are some of the low-quality cons that come with flying with American Airlines.

1. Small Amount of Leg Room

If you are someone who is tall or needs a lot of extra space, American Airlines might not be the best option. Unless you are flying in high-class cabins such as business or first class, legroom on American Airlines flights is small and scarce.

While this may not be too much of an issue flying domestically, flying internationally can be tough. When I fly with American Airlines on a flight for more than 4 hours, I opt to pay an extra fee to reserve a set in an emergency exit row, guaranteed to have more legroom.

2. Customer Service

American Airlines is not praised for having satisfactory customer service. In 2018, there were over 2,000 complaints due to poor customer service with their passengers. It looks as if their goal is to get passengers from point A to B as easily and beneficial to the company, not the passenger.

While the company does have a high number of loyal flyers, keep in mind when flying with American Airlines, if there is an issue with your ticket, chances are you won’t receive much assistance from the airline, and it will likely be on you to fix the issue.

3. High Fees

American Airlines have very high fees when it comes to almost every aspect of tickets. Be prepared to pay a hefty charge when canceling or changing flights, as well as adding extra luggage or seat selection on board.

While many other airlines also require extra fees, American Airlines’ prices are well higher than most others.

4. High Percentage of Cancellations & Delays

One of the biggest complaints every year by American Airline passengers is the company’s reliability. While there are typically loads of flights to choose from, there is a high percentage of cancellations and delays with various tickets (Source: CNET – Worst US Airlines for Delays and Cancellations)

I typically avoid flying with American Airlines during the winter season and when I am on a strict time schedule, due to many cancellations and delays in the past that caused a damper on previous trips.


While this is not my favorite carrier, I still recommend it. On most occasions, I choose one of my two favorites, Delta Airlines or United Airlines. However, American Airlines is still a good airline and a great choice in many cases.