On Wednesday, American Airlines declared that it would lay off 13,000 workers or 15 percent of its workforce. The company is attempting to emerge from bankruptcy, which it filed last November. Along with the layoffs, the company is seeking to cut employee pensions and some health benefits. AA CEO Tom Horton called the decisions "painful" but said in the end, the moves would preserve tens of thousands of jobs that would have otherwise been lost.
Barbara Peterson is the senior aviation correspondent for Conde Nast Traveler and the author of "Blue Streak: Inside JetBlue, the Upstart that Rocked an Industry."