Your next American Airlines flight could be on the bus

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Customers will check-in with American at one of the local airports and clear security like on any flight, but they will board a landline bus instead.

American Airlines/Washington Post Illustration

American Airlines is launching a partnership to provide passengers with connections between airports. , , by bus.

Beginning June 3, the transportation company’s landline will connect Philadelphia International Airport to Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) and Atlantic City International Airport (ACY), one of America’s hubs. Tickets for those journeys with landline service will be available from today.

“Our partnership with Landline is another way we are making it easier for customers to connect to US major trans-Atlantic gateways in Philadelphia,” Brian Znotins, vice president of American network planning, said in a news release from the airline. “Customers can start and end their trip at their local airport, relax on a comfortable landline vehicle, and leave someone else driving to work or start their vacation early.”

Landline CEO and co-founder David Sunde said in an interview that the announcement is “the culmination of several years of deteriorating regional air service for really small communities or small to medium-sized communities.”

Passengers can book their bus tour through the airline with Lehigh Valley or Atlantic City set as their origin or destination, landline website, The price is included in their ticket.

Customers will check with American at one of the local airports and clear security like on any flight, but they will board a landline bus instead, according to the release. When they arrive in Philadelphia, they will enter the terminal and depart directly for their flight. Going the other way, they’ll board a landline bus at Philadelphia airport. All this is pending regulatory approval.

The airline will transfer checked baggage between vehicles and aircraft. American’s Advantage Program members will also earn miles and loyalty points on routes operated by landlines. The buses can accommodate a maximum of 35 passengers and will have leather seats and free WiFi, among other amenities.

According to a separate news release from the company, the landline has similar partnerships with United Airlines in Colorado and Sun Country Airlines in seven markets in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Scott Keys, Founder Scott’s cheap flightssaid that he thinks such partnerships would appeal to airlines in large part because the ongoing pilot shortage Without enough pilots, he said, airlines will have to focus their energy on larger airports and more profitable routes, which comes at the cost of smaller airports and less popular destinations.

“Something like a landline partnership, something like an air-to-bus connection, is a clever way of being able to serve passengers who want to go to Atlantic City, those who want to go to Allentown, and in a more seamless fashion just them to go to Philadelphia. Compared to flying over and saying, ‘You’re on your own,'” Keys said.

Such partnerships can also make travel easier for customers, who would otherwise have to book each mode of transport separately. “Being able to do it all within the umbrella of a single itinerary makes it a smoother experience for travelers, you know, not having to leave the terminal, not having to figure out where you have to catch a bus. Where to go,” Keys said. “It works more in the glove.”

While Sunde said factors such as staff shortages and fuel costs have made it difficult to run any kind of transportation business, he points to the long-term challenges facing short-haul flights on smaller planes, An area of ​​air travel especially vulnerable to external shocks. ,

“I think it’s less a statement right now and more a statement about, ‘Hey, looking 10 years ahead, how do we keep communities connected by the air transportation system in a way that does crazy things. The world is less vulnerable to what happens, whether it’s fuel or something,” he said.

American did not immediately respond to a question about its motivation for the partnership.

Keys noted that this type of agreement is more common in Europe and the Middle East, although United previously had a similar partnership with Amtrak. there is also a way Just across the border between the United States and Tijuana Airport, where domestic flights are cheaper within Mexico. “This whole field of combining multiple modes of transport is not new,” he said.

On the short-haul segment, Sunde said, motor coaches are more environmentally friendly than smaller airplanes. The cost of operating a bus is also “significantly less” than that of an aircraft, Keys said. He said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Americans expanding on the model and other airlines taking similar steps.

Sunde declined to comment on specific plans for development, but he said, “We see that this is a really important problem that needs to be solved for the American transportation system, and we’re going to do it in the biggest way possible.” have ambitions to solve.”

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