The carrier expects to continue flying as normal and has emailed concerned customers to tell them that their flights and frequent flyer miles will remain intact.
Tom Horton, chief executive of parent company AMR, posted a video message on the airline’s website alongside information on the implications of filing for bankruptcy.
American hopes applying for “Chapter 11” protection will give it time to cut high staffing costs in line with domestic rivals United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, which have both used Chapter 11 to cut costs before entering into merger agreements.
The bankruptcy comes less than a month after American launched its first brand campaign for two years. The ads, starring Kevin Spacey, focused on its customer service and first class options.