How often do you fly? Do you prefer using United Airlines and American Airlines? If yes, which of them do you prefer and why?
Comparisons like these are always tricky, as both airlines operate at a very high standard. Of course, airlines are expected to maintain a very high standard.
The essence of this comparison is to help travelers to identify the differences between both airlines. You may have been using both airlines and have not noticed the comparisons we’re about to point out between both airlines.
So, if you’re ready, let’s dive in.
United Airlines Vs. American Airlines Comparison
So, how are both airlines different? Which should you consider when traveling within the United States of America or abroad and why? You’ll have an idea after reading this post.
1: When it comes to the economy ticket price, American Airlines is the winner. Therefore, if you’re planning to travel within the United States of America and want to save money, American Airlines are a wise choice.
Take note of this. If you’re planning to travel outside the United States of America, both airlines offer the same thing. In other words, you can choose any of them for your international flight. The prices are similar.
2: In terms of service quality in Economy Class, American Airlines is the winner. They offer more for Economy Class and still charge less than United Airlines.
3: In the aspect of fleet size, American Airlines is the biggest. In other words, American Airlines has the largest fleet size and transports more passengers than United Airlines. Let’s put some figures to this comparison.
American Airlines has 933 fleets of aircraft, and there are 4 on order/planned already. United Airlines boasts 859 aircraft, making it the third-largest commercial airline fleet worldwide. So the difference between American Airlines and United Airlines’ fleets is 74.
4: The average age of American Airlines’ fleet and that of United Airlines is another important aspect of this comparison.
American Airlines’ average fleet age is 12.4 years. United Airlines’ fleet age is 16.5 years.
A Handy Tip: United Airlines boasts the oldest fleet among all major airline operators in the United States of America.
5: In terms of passengers transported, American Airlines is the largest. The airline transports around 200 million people every year. They also record the most flights per day.
So, United Airlines transport fewer passengers than American Airlines daily and yearly. In 2021, the airline transported approximately 69.4 million passengers. The figure reported was 58.8 million domestic passengers, while 10.6 were international flights.
6: American Airlines flies to more destinations than United. Let’s put a figure to make this comparison understandable.
American Airlines flies to 225 domestic and 124 international locations in 62 countries. This report is as of January 2023.
On the other hand, United Airlines flies to 120 destinations internationally and 210 destinations within the United States of America.
7: United Airlines is the winner in the best airline for loyalty. They have frequent flyer programs, and it’s so easy for passengers to redeem their rewards.
You’ll discover that United offers the biggest number of partner airlines, no mileage expiration, and four credit card options.
However, American Airlines isn’t doing very bad regarding loyalty programs. Both airlines have ways of rewarding regular flyers with miles, but it’s based on the ticket price. For example, you could earn 5 miles for every $1 spent.
8: In the aspect of in-flight experience, American Airlines has a slight edge over United Airlines. So, it’s as good as placing them as the winners in this segment.
Here’s a brief on both airlines’ in-flight experience, starting with United.
Legroom on Economy class seats on United Airlines varies from plane to plane. However, on average, they have around 31 inches of pitch, the distance measured from your seat back to the same spot on the seat in front of yours.
The Economy Plus category costs more, but you’ll enjoy more legroom in most planes. You’ll get around 34 – 37 inches in pitch.
The in-flight experience could be different on the Upper-class cabin seats. The experience varies from plane to plane and route to route. For example, passengers can enjoy restaurant quality dining in the United Polaris Business Class, including perks like Saks Fifth avenue bed for long trips.
When you analyze United and American Airlines’ basic economy class tickets, you’ll discover that United has the worst ticket.
Anyway, let’s analyze the in-flight experience on American Airlines.
You’ll get 32 inches of pitch on most economy-class seats. However, the main cabin extra is your best bet if you want more. You’ll enjoy around 34 – 36 inches of pitch.
American Airlines’ business and first-class categories vary from route to route, and you can get luxurious lie-flat seats and other top-notch services on long-hour flights.
Finally, let’s state this clearly. American Airlines offers the best economy-class fares between the two airlines. Another thing that sets it apart is that it offers the best entertainment.
9: Let’s look at the number of incidents that have happened between both airlines. How many incidents have both airlines had?
Airline incidents are not interesting subjects. The lives of many are cut short in these incidents. But for this post, let’s dive in a little.
The Aviation Safety Network states that American Airlines has had more hijacks than airlines elsewhere.
Two American planes hit the World Trade Center North Tower on September 11, 2001.
American Airlines has also suffered several horrible plane crashes since its inception. It suffered a deadline crash in 2001, where flight 587 crashed into the Queens neighborhood with no survivors.
So, American Airlines has had the most plane crashes (12). Air France is the only airline that has the same number.
Let’s look at United Airlines’ incidents since its inception.
United has also experienced several incidents, ranging from minor plane damages to passenger arrests. Besides that, the two major crashes it has witnessed are the ones that happened to flight 175 and flight 93.
Flight 175 was hijacked and made to hit the World Trade Center’s south tower. Flight 93 remains famous today, as the brave passengers prevented a horrible incident from happening.
The flight was heading to the Pentagon, but the plane’s passengers prevented it.
In total, United Airlines has had 7 plane crashes, which have claimed the lives of 288 people.
A Handy Tip: Despite the nasty plane hijacks and crashes both airlines have witnessed, flying remains the safest means of transportation.
Statistics show that air transport boasts 0.07 deaths per billion passenger miles.
10: Baggage safety is another important aspect of this comparison. It hurts to lose one’s baggage at the airport, even when you did everything right to prevent such.
Regarding baggage safety, American and United airlines follow strict TSA guidelines to ensure passengers don’t carry prohibited items.
So, both airline companies will perform the necessary checks to ensure you’re not transporting any prohibited items. You’ll also fill out a form stating that you aren’t transporting any prohibited item.
It is important to review your airline’s guidelines on prohibited items before heading to the airport. In other words, find out about the things prohibited.
For instance, most passengers do not know that electric skateboards are prohibited until they arrive at the airport with it.
United Airlines prohibits lithium batteries. On the other hand, American Airlines requires passengers to follow certain guidelines when bringing mobile devices onboard.
A Handy Tip: If you misplace your baggage, American Airlines will pay you for the items lost while you’re enjoying your vacation.
11: On aircraft safety, both airlines are in a good place. Both air transport companies use standard aircraft brands and models, such as Airbus, Boeing, etc.
We all know that Airbus makes one of the best airplanes in the world. And their airplanes are used worldwide. Their planes also come fitted with “Skywise Reliability,” a program designed to immediately notify operators of any perceived damage.
American Airlines use A320 and Boeing 737 – 800, which are narrow-bodied planes. The wider-bodied planes the company uses are Boeing 777 and 787.
United Airlines uses Embraer, Airbus, and Boeing 757,767,777, including the 787 models. However, it’s refreshing that the company plans to replace its old 757 planes with newer and state-of-the-art Airbus models called the A321XLR. It will happen within the next few years.
This United vs. American Airlines comparison should help you decide the ideal platform among both.
American Airlines is the largest in terms of airline fleets and passengers. The Airline has 933 airplanes, and they have even ordered more. American Airlines transport around 200 million passengers each year.
American airlines also offer the best basic Economy class ticket. Both in terms of the ticket price, in-flight experience, and entertainment.
However, United Airlines has experienced fewer incidents than its American counterpart. The airline company has only recorded 7 crashes, while American Airlines has recorded 12.