American Airlines wants to win the Los Angeles market

If you live in Los Angeles and spend a fortune each year on air travel - preferably in first or business class  - American Airlines wants earn your business. 

American had a big weekend in L.A. on the marketing front, announcing Friday it reached a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers to become the team's official airline. Saturday was entertainment day, with American cozying up to celebrities, including Kristen Bell and Fred Armisen, pictured in the tweet above.

American sponsored the Indie Spirit Awards, though it may not have gone as well as the marketing team had hoped, with award winner Paul Thomas Anderson blasting the airline in his acceptance speech for losing his luggage. An American spokesman said Anderson, a filmmaker, later apologized. 

American and Delta are competing in L.A. so see which carrier can carry the most high-value travelers. Many of the most sought after customers work in the entertainment industry, though both carriers are also trying to attract bankers, lawyers and other rich folks. Yes, both airlines will be happy to fly you to visit family or go on vacation. But since leisure travelers often buy inexpensive fares, airlines generally don't court them.

American and Delta likely can divvy up the high-value traveler market in Los Angeles relatively equally, with United in third place. But Fern Fernandez, American's vice president of marketing, told me American doesn't just want to coexist with Delta - it wants to be the L.A. Basin's No. 1 business airline. 

"There's no such thing as No. 2," Fernandez said. "You are either No. 1 or you go home."

American is probably No. 2 in the corporate market in three important cities -- Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Of the three, Los Angeles is likely American's best chance at being No. 1. 

American now has nearly 200 daily flights to 55 destinations from Los Angeles.  American, which picked up up four LAX gates from United last year,  has recently announced or launched several new routes from L.A., including:

  • Atlanta
  • Belize
  • Guadalajara 
  • San Antonio
  • Tampa 
  • Edmonton
  • Vancouver

Assuming American is going to go after the No. 1 spot in L.A., I'm guessing the carrier is planning to add many more flights from L.A.

What routes would you like to see the airline add from L.A.? Perhaps something to Asia?


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