Apr 7, 2022 - Economy

American Airlines offers 'bus-as-flight' connections in Pennsylvania and New Jersey

A white bus emblazoned with the logo of American Airlines is parked in a parking lot

American Airlines will take passengers from airport to airport in the Philadelphia area on buses. Photo courtesy of American Airlines

American Airlines is about to start moving people at much lower altitudes.

Driving the news: The airline announced Thursday that it will offer bus connections to several smaller regional destinations from its Philadelphia hub.

  • Transportation service Landline will provide 50-to-70 mile rides to and from airports in Allentown/Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania; and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The big picture: Airlines are facing pilot shortages and soaring prices for jet fuel, compounding logistical and economic challenges that have seen the industry cut many flights from pre-pandemic schedules.

  • Only around 80% of flights offered in 2019 were still operating in 2021, the Washington Post reported.
  • These trends have taken an outsized toll on smaller regional airports, as airlines focus their resources on their most profitable routes (the ones with the most people in seats).

How it works: American Airlines passengers landing at the Philadelphia airport with a connecting bus will de-board, enter the terminal and find the gate where their bus is set to depart.

  • Going the other way, passengers traveling to Philadelphia will go through security at their local airport first, then board a bus on its way to the terminal in Philly.
  • Think about it as a "bus-as-flight connection," Airline Weekly reported.

Of note: Other airlines have already instituted the system.

  • United Airlines has been using buses to connect passengers to regional locations from its Denver hub since last year.
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