American Airlines History.
American Airlines was developed from a conglomeration of 82 small airlines through acquisitions and reorganizations: initially, American Airways was a common brand by a number of independent carriers. These included Southern Air Transport in Texas, Southern Air Fast Express (SAFE) in the western US, Universal Aviation in the Midwest (which operated a transcontinental air/rail route in 1929), Thompson Aeronautical Services (which operated a Detroit-Cleveland route beginning in 1929) and Colonial Air Transport in the Northeast.
On January 25, 1930, American Airways was incorporated as a single company, based in New York, with routes from Boston, New York and Chicago to Dallas, and from Dallas to Los Angeles. The airline operated wood and fabric-covered Fokker Trimotors and all-metal Ford Trimotors. In 1934 American began flying Curtiss Condor biplanes with sleeping berths.
American Airlines before World War II:
In 1934, American Airways Company was acquired by E.L. Cord, who renamed it "American Air Lines". Cord hired Texas businessman C.R. (Cyrus Rowlett) Smith to run the company.
Smith worked with Donald Douglas to develop the DC-3, which American Airlines started flying in 1936. With the DC-3, American began calling its aircraft "Flagships" and establishing the Admirals Club for valued passengers. The DC-3s had a four-star "admiral's pennant" outside the cockpit window while the aircraft was parked, one of the most well-known images of the airline at the time.
American Airlines was first to cooperate with Fiorello LaGuardia to build an airport in New York City, and partly as a result became owner of the world's first airline lounge at the new LaGuardia Airport (LGA), which became known as the Admirals Club. Membership was initially by invitation only, but a discrimination suit decades later changed the club into a paid club, creating the model for other airline lounges