Flight numbers frequently have meaning. The lowest flight numbers can be used to signify importance.
For instance after United bought Pan Am’s Pacific routes, it operated round-the-world service and it was a source of pride, not profits. At one point United flew New York JFK – Los Angeles – Hong Kong – Delhi – London Heathrow – New York JFK. United flights 1 and 2 traveled in opposite directions around the globe.
Three years ago the final US Airways flight was US1939. It was given that number for the year the airline commenced operations. Ed Colodny, who had been CEO from 1975 through 1991, was on board the flight. He had led the airline’s rebranding from Allegheny (US Airways was said to stand for ‘US Airways Still Allegheny In Reality Why Alter Your Signs?’).
Today American Airlines has at least two flight numbers which remind us just how American the airline is. And there’s at least one more flight number that’s just fun. Do you know of any other flight numbers like this at American?
American Airlines Celebrates the Country’s Founding, Every Day
On April 18, 1775 Paul Revere rode through what’s now Somerville, Medford, and Arlington, Massachusetts to warn that British troops were enroute and that they sought to capture Sam Adams and John Hancock.of the regulars’ movements later that night would be the capture of Adams and Hancock.
He never yelled “the British are coming” — the mission was meant to be discrete. And he wasn’t the only rider that night. In fact William Dawes set out first. Malcolm Gladwell theorizes in The Tipping Point that it’s Paul Revere’s social connectedness around Boston that made him the more well-known figure. Alternatively it may have been his first-hand written accounts that led to his immortalization by Longfellow.
The American revolution began that month, but it was July 2, 1776 that the Continental Congress in Philadelphia formally declared independence and two days later that it approved the wording of the Declaration of Independence.
Today you can fly Philadelphia – Boston roundtrip each afternoon on American flight AA1776. And American offers Sam Adams beer on board.
American Airlines Discovered America in 1492
It’s almost de rigueur to caveat any mention of Columbus with a criticism. Of course saying that Columbus ‘discovered’ America would certainly have seemed odd to the people already living here at the time.
My freshman year of college there was a funeral march on campus to commemorate Columbus Day. One of my friends stood along the march as a counter protester, holding up a sign which simply read “Western Civilization is Good.”
Without taking sides in any debate over Columbus, that most American of airlines does of course fly there (and indeed, Columbus was once a hub for America West). So their late morning Dallas Fort-Worth – Columbus flight, returning Columbus – Dallas Fort-Worth in mid-afternoon, uses flight number AA1492 in both directions.
Fly Lucky 7’s to Las Vegas
There are 7 days of the week, 7 seas, and 7 continents. God is said to have rested on the 7th day. There are 7 deadly sins and 7 wonders of the ancient world. If 7 is lucky, then 777 is triply so: on most slot machines 777 is jackpot.
So it’s appropriate that American Airlines flight AA777 runs Phoenix – Las Vegas.
When the airline eventually flies Los Angeles or Dallas – Guangzhou to connect up with China Southern, in which it owns a small stake, they’ll need to re-assign flight 888 from Pittsburgh – Philadelphia in celebration of the luck that venture will bring them.
Incidentally neither American nor United nor Delta regularly offers a flight 666.