American Airlines is exploring a new mode of transportation for its robust schedule, and this time it doesn’t have wings. The company will be using buses to carry passengers to and from Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) in Allentown, PA, and Atlantic City International Airport (ACY) to its major hub at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).
It’s actually not new for an airline to use buses to take passengers from a small, regional area to its large hub city. Both United and Sun Country use the model at various airports.
Here’s what American is planning:
- If you’re departing from Allentown or Atlantic City, you’ll check-in at the airport just like normal, receive a boarding pass, and hand over your checked luggage.
- You’ll pass through TSA security and then board a coach bus marked in the American livery, bound for Philadelphia. Your checked baggage will be loaded onto the bus and subsequently transferred to your connecting flight in Philadelphia.
- You’ll be driven 70 miles from Allentown or 53 miles from Atlantic City to Philadelphia International Airport and arrive post-security. Once you step off the bus, you’ll head right to your connecting gate without having to reclear security. Your bags will be transferred for you.
- You’ll then board your connecting flight and be on your way.
- When you head back to Allentown or Atlantic City, you’ll simply repeat the process in reverse.
How Buses Make Sense
While American flies to Allentown from its Chicago (ORD) and Charlotte (CLT) hubs, the flights are on small regional jets. American used to fly the 70-mile stretch to Philadelphia on a regional jet before the COVID-19 pandemic but suspended the service due to lack of demand. To fly these routes via airplane is a big expense for the airline — between fuel, crew costs, and taking the jet that could otherwise serve somewhere farther away, it’s not a cheap endeavor.
This is why American will be utilizing Landline, the bus company behind the service to take passengers to and from Allentown and Atlantic City. The bus is far cheaper to operate and still provides a similarly timed connection due to the short travel distances. American last served Atlantic City in 2003, so this will represent a new line on its route map.
The buses will all operate with air conditioning and free Wi-Fi onboard, making the journey even more seamless.
Providing bus service to these 2 smaller cities and airports will save big on costs but still provide a good service to American’s customers. It will add additional service to Lehigh Valley and a new dot on the map for Atlantic City, allowing American to serve passengers all over the lower half of New Jersey. Expect American to start more of this service in other cities across the U.S. as a creative way to combat high fuel costs and complex operations.
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