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American 101: Save $$, Book Smarter

June 24, 2024

You might know which airlines fly out of MLI, but do you know how to really work those airline networks to get the most bang for your buck? We’re here to spill the beans each month, starting with American Airlines. They’re one of the big players (alongside United and Delta) thanks to their massive global reach.

What is American Airlines?

American Airlines is one of the largest airlines in the world and flies just about anywhere you can think of, from big airports to small ones. For smaller communities like ours, they team up with regional airlines to get you to their major hubs, where you can catch flights to just about anywhere.

How to Book

Booking your flight with American is pretty straightforward. The easiest way is through their website or app, but you can also scout around on sites like Kayak, Expedia, or Priceline. If you prefer the old-school method, you can call them up, though keep in mind there might be a fee for booking over the phone. Their number is 800-433-7300, just in case.

When you’re booking, pay attention to the different fare options. The cheapest one, Basic Economy, comes with some restrictions like not being able to pick your seat in advance. So, if sitting together is a must, you might want to consider upgrading.

When you book, enter MLI as your starting point and choose where you’re headed. American will show you which big hubs you can connect through. Just be careful with connection times —less than an hour between flights can get stressful!

Where they Fly

American Airlines flies to a whopping 350 destinations in 48 countries. The Quad Cities doesn’t necessarily have the population size to fly nonstop to a lot of cities, so American partners with smaller airlines to link up smaller cities with their main hubs. From the QC Airport, you can go to Chicago O’Hare, Dallas-Ft. Worth, and Charlotte, NC. From there, you can hop anywhere you like. This is known as a hub and spoke network.

How to save $$

There are a few ways to get the best deals with American. Start looking early – about 4-6 months in advance, so you have a baseline. Google Flights is handy for checking if prices are high or low, and you can set up alerts for price drops.

Don’t forget to sign up for American’s loyalty program, AAdvantage, to earn points on your travels. Want to rack up points faster? Consider getting an AAdvantage Mastercard. And, if you know you’ll be checking bags, save a few bucks by paying for them online before you get to the airport.

That’s the scoop on American Airlines. Ready to make the most out of your travels? Start with MLI and you’ll be on your way in no time.

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