Hmm, that is really interesting. Would they have closed up shop at ORD in favor of STL?
This would’ve significantly altered the balance of power of the US3 for sure.
It really is a shame AA didn’t keep and rebuild STL. I’d rather them have a hub to themselves rather than split ORD three ways with UA/WN.
According to WN route maps from 1996 and 1998 (which can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/erussell1984/29263094912
), WN served ABQ, BWI, BHM, MDW, CLE, CMH, DTW, HOU, IND, MCI, LIT, SDF, OKC, OMA, MCO, PHX, SLC, TPA, and TUL nonstop from STL in the late 1990's, and TW was still around in the late 1990's.
Reasons why AA kept its ORD hub include
(a) AA already having a hub at ORD prior to AA acquiring TW,
(b) AA having nonstop service out of ORD to some regional destinations in the Midwest, Northeast, and Canada that aren't served nonstop from DFW,
(c) AA connecting passengers onto AA, BA, CX, AY, IB, JL, and QF long-haul international flights at ORD,
(d) AA already having an established frequent flyer base in the Chicago market, and
(e) AA having some corporate contracts in the Chicago area.
In addition to Chicago, the Baltimore/DC, Denver, Houston, Greater Los Angeles, and San Francisco Bay Area markets also have both an UA hub and WN focus city, with UA hubs at IAD, DEN, IAH, LAX, and SFO and WN focus cities at BWI, DEN, HOU, LAX, OAK, and SJC. AA also has hubs at LAX and DCA, which are in markets with both an UA hub and WN focus city, but AA inherited its DCA hub through the AA-US merger.