American Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Credit: Getty Images

It's true, there are plenty of low-cost, no-name international air carriers that get the job done. But there’s a level of quality, safety, and service you can expect when flying the three major U.S.-based, legacy airlines: Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines. Via these airlines and their partners you can travel the globe, but according to Skift, American Airlines lacks the global footprint of its two competitors.

That all may change in 2020, when 47 Boeing 787 Dreamliners begin to arrive and are put to use by American. Vasu Raja, the airline’s vice president for planning, told Skift, “That’s the airplane that is going to take us eventually to India and into Africa, and into markets which are very different from the ones that we have been in historically, but ones we believe will be very profitable.”

This move is a long time coming for the airline that has been more conservative than its competitors in building international reach. American Airlines has a robust flight schedule to Europe and South America, but hasn’t had much success in new international markets.

Between 2005 and 2012, American offered a direct flight between Chicago and Delhi, India, but canceled it after deeming the route unprofitable due to plane size and flight times. The addition of the African market, which is serviced by Delta, would be a completely new venture for American Airlines.

In Raja’s interview with Skift, there was no mention of what U.S. hubs these flights would depart from, but he was clear in his plan for American to be an increasingly global airline.

If a trip to India or Africa has been on your wish list, but you’ve been waiting for direct flights on an airline you trust, it may pay to keep an eye on American in the coming year.