American Airlines Still the Largest Carrier After All

New and notes from around the interweb:

  • Top 20 airline companies by number of seats flown by this measure American Airlines is still number one and interestingly China Southern is larger than United.

  • Will the new A321XLR be good – or bad – for passenger comfort, flying long distance flights with a single aisle aircraft (as the Boeing 757 often does today)? It depends on the airline and what they do with it.

    The XLR “is a fuel efficient narrow-body that won’t need to carry as many passengers to make a route economical. That opens more nonstop flights to more destinations,” says Gary Leff, an aviation expert who pens the View from the Wing blog. That’s good news for passengers, he says, but only if airlines make the most of their limited interior space. “Airlines flying these aircraft will have to put in better seats, offer more passenger room, and better entertainment,” Leff says. As for the widely held belief that passengers simply prefer to fly a twin-aisle wide-body for that feeling of space, Leff says “larger aircraft are often pitched as potentially having better amenities, but in the end usually just wind up with more seats.”

  • TSA is testing facial recognition at security checkpoints in Las Vegas

  • Southwest’s flight attendants union is mad at the airline for sharing a video with employees detailing what’s being offered for a new contract. Unions prefer to be the sole conduit of information to their members for contract negotiation issues.

    The airline is proposing a choice of a 3% annual raise or 2.5% raise and $2000 signing bonus, along with changes to the reserve system.

  • Azul says they won’t join Star Alliance

  • Pretty cool time lapse video of LAX from the folks at The Points Guy.

  • The latest version of Midwest Airlines says they’re launching and announced their first routes. They’d like to fly “between Milwaukee and Grand Rapids, Michigan; Omaha, Nebraska; and Cincinnati, Ohio” and for service to start before end of year.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. the Azul CEO is just posturing to see if Star could sweeten any invitation offers with fewer of the commitments or tech burdens. It sounds like they’re the right fit for the “Connecting Partner” model.

  2. For sure, a narrow-body can be every bit, if not more comfortable than a wide-body, especially if it offers 18” wide seats in economy class versus 17”-17.2” wide seats, as will be found on any “densified” 9-abreast Boeing 787 and 10-abreast 777, especially if row pitches are otherwise comparable.

    However, when compared to an Airbus A330, A340, A350 (9-abreast only), A380, Boeing 767 or “Classic” 9-abreast 777s (747s only if they have 18” wide seats, NOT 17”-17.2”), then there’s NO comparison at all, wide-body wins hands-down.

    Not even close!

    I’ll take a 2-4-2 Airbus or 2-3-2 Boeing 767 over ANY 3-3, 3-3-3 or 3-4-3 aircraft EVERY time!

    Followed by wide-bodies with 18” wide seats if they have 3-3-3 or 3-4-3 configurations.

    Then Airbus A321s with 18” wide seats over any other aircraft that has 17”-17.2” wide seats as the width between my shoulders is 19” – and who wants to be rubbing shoulders against perfect strangers at all, let alone for more than 3-hours?

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