American Airlines in Chapter 11; free programs in Bermuda

Coming & Going

American’s future, free Bermuda

File AA under bankrupt

In the biography of American Airlines, we now open to Chapter 11: The Broke(n) Years.

The flagship carrier filed for bankruptcy protection last week, alarming not only the industry but also passengers with dream vacation plans.

But this is not a nightmare scenario — yet.

“Will they be here in three years? Yeah,” said George Hobica, president of Airfarewatchdog. “Will they be here in 10 years? I don’t know.”

Hobica predicts that to improve its financial standing, the company will downsize, phasing out older, gas-guzzling planes and eliminating smaller, less profitable routes. He also threw out the “merger” word.

“They will cut the regional routes first,” he said. “But the major routes will be fine.” By “major,” he means Miami and Dallas, but not necessarily Los Angeles and Chicago, markets other airlines already dominate.

Passengers won’t see immediate changes. (One caveat: Airline staff and crew may react to the news by striking.) But you may want to reconsider booking trips to smaller destinations on American, to avoid getting an e-mail “that says American no longer flies to Peoria,” said Hobica.

Fortunately, the other airlines have American’s back. Passengers can rebook on a carrier that flies in the black.

Travel ticker

The Bermuda Department of Tourism is relaunching its Bermuda Rendezvous Activities, featuring such free programs as a guided walking tour of Hamilton and Taste of Bermuda Calypso Sundays, held at the Bermuda Craft Market in the Royal Naval Dockyard. Runs through March. Info: 800-BERMUDA, www.gotobermuda.com.

Andrea Sachs (not the one who wears Prada) has been writing for Travel since 2000. She travels near (Ellicott City, Jersey Shore) and far (Burma, Namibia, Russia), and finds adventure no matter the mileage. She is all packed for the Moon or North Korea, whichever opens first.

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