The Other Flight: Planespotting AA’s Heritage Fleet

In my last post I mentioned catching a glimpse of an American Airlines plane that had been painted in the livery of Allegheny Airlines. Thanks to a little research I can tell you more about this interesting situation.

Allegheny had at one point changed its name to US Air (later USAirways) which eventually merged with American to form the world’s largest airline. Other “heritage” planes in American’s fleet include planes painted in the liveries of TWA, Piedmont, PSA, America West, Air Cal, and Reno Air. Seven distinct planes. Seven. Out of tens of thousands of aircraft in the world there are just seven that fall into this category.

I mentioned being an aviation buff. I have also written about my time working as a medical courier and the many trips I would take every day through the sometimes mysterious world of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. It was on one such courier drive about two years ago that I first encountered these heritage planes. While cruising the service road past Terminal C one afternoon, a mere stone’s throw from dozens of aircraft, I crested a slight hill and was met with the sight of the TWA/American – a B737 with the iconic red “TWA” painted on the tail. I went home and quickly looked up what this could mean and that’s when I first learned that there were others. So seeing the Allegheny/American A319 today at Reagan National Airport was a treat for me indeed. I feel as though I need to spot the other five now.

But back to my research from earlier today. Enlarging the picture on my laptop I plugged the tail number into and up popped our Allegheny. It showed that it had just touched down in Boston inbound from Charlotte-Douglas. Going back to that flight’s inbound segment I found this…

For the record, my own flight – on Southwest – took off moments later.

For the guy who just has to know everything about how the world around him works – especially when airports and airplanes are concerned – this was like uncovering a gold mine, except without the gold. As a kid I used to look up and wonder where each plane was going, what kind of people were on them, and where they came from. Today I spotted a plane from my youth and, through the magic of modern world, was able to find out where it was flying. I suppose I can live without knowing much more about the folks on board.

2 responses to “The Other Flight: Planespotting AA’s Heritage Fleet

  1. William McLellan

    You left out Mohawk Airlines which was also merged with Piedmont (and another line I think) to form Allegheny.

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