Fresno And Nantucket Are Coming! Several New Routes Bookable On American Airlines This Weekend

American Airlines is adding several Chicago routes, bookable starting this weekend. The one I’m most excited about is Chicago – Fresno, but there are also surprising additions like Chicago – Nantucket (!) which airlines don’t pay enough attention to even seasonally, with service beyond Boston, New York, Philadelphia and to a lesser extent DC. Although sometimes…

Here’s American’s internal employee update on new, resumed, and extended Chicago routes:

About a hundred years ago I lived in Fresno, back when the only mainline service was a single daily American Airlines flight to Dallas. The aircraft overnighted at the airport and was double-catered out of Dallas, so breakfast in first class was cereal and shelf-stable milk.

One of the advantages of an outstation though is that United Express Westair agents never collected my upgrade certificates. A downside was long connecting times anywhere other than Los Angeles or San Francisco (I once flew Sydney – Honolulu – Dallas on American with a six hour layover in Dallas before flying home).

Now Fresno is all the rage. Southwest is launching Fresno in the second quarter. (Morris Air, which they acquired, used to serve Fresno.)

It’s only taken 35 years since Carol Burnett starred in the Fresno mini-series sending up 80s prime time soap dramas. (The full series is even online.)

Chicago – Fresno is a big deal for Fresno Yosemite International Airport (which wanted to change its 3 letter code to FYI, but is still FAT) since Chicago will be the airport’s first destination east of Denver.

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. Pre-COVID, UA flew FAT-ORD 5x weekly. While ORD is currently suspended, FAT is still served by UA from LAX, SFO, and DEN.

  2. The problem w/ FAT and a number of other cities just like RSW and EYW before is that everyone jumps into the same thing at the same time, producing enormous amounts of capacity that ensures that no one succeeds long-term except for those that were there before on the routes that have continued to operate through thick and thin.

    But maybe that is the point…. short term cash grabs while figuring out the next plan another day. AA and B6 seem to be doing alot of that these days.

  3. Nantucket, even in the height of summer, is a very small and very high end destination. It caters to the well-healed Northeasterner set (many of whom drive/take the ferry or have access to private aircraft). AA has flown to ACK from LGA, DCA and CLT. I am surprised that there would be a need for service from the Midwest.

  4. Wow, how long was Gary in Fresno? Some commenters previously thought I might be that guy running AA. Nope! I live in Fresno! Well on my way to making Platinum Pro for the first time this year. Fresno-Dallas has been a highly successful market for AA based on my occupying many seats on those flights for many years. Getting upgraded prior to the Pandemic was seldom posssible in Fresno but much easier out of DFW. AA needs to add another roundtrip set of flights now for Fresno-Dallas on weekends as they are heavily booked with vaccinated older leasure travlers eager to get the hell out of Fresno this Spring. Check out the AA fares from Fresno to many cities for 4 weeks from now, they are painfully high. Fresno-Chicago should relieve some of the pressure on the heavily booked Fresno-Dallas flights.

  5. Yes indeed UA did have 5 rdtrp flights feom FAT to O’hare each week prior to the pandemic. But the FAT departure was always at about 11 pm. Highly inconvenient time for a domestic departure.

  6. I would have killed for Nantucket service from Chicago when I lived in Chicago. I know a lot of people in the Chicago area who go there in the summer, so this will be good. And it will, depending on schedule, scoop up connections from the west coast. This is a big deal!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *