American Airlines' $20 Million Dollar Dilemma

As American Airlines’ merger with US Airways heads toward the finish line, one question remains unsettled: Will outgoing American CEO Tom Horton get a payment of nearly $20 million? At the moment, the matter is still up in the air [we have ideas on what to buy with $20 million, below]. Millions? That’s nothing compared to bag fees

Pros and Cons of $20 Million Payment

On the one hand, as the Dallas Morning News reports, there are those who say the money is a “fair” and even “reasonable” reward for Horton’s work shepherding the company through bankruptcy and merger. A board member of AMR Corp. (parent company of the airline) said Horton’s efforts produced “extraordinary and unprecedented results.” On the other hand, the payment – which is actually $19,875,000 in stock and cash – has been objected to by the U.S. bankruptcy trustee who sees it as a possible violation of bankruptcy laws. A hearing on this and other merger matters is set for next week. No millions? Then save with cheap flights

Expert Predictions

We asked air travel analyst Rick Seaney if he had any prediction to offer on the matter but he declined, adding, “I quit trying to understand public company executive compensation ages ago.” Indeed, speculation seems as pointless as consulting a Magic 8 Ball (take your pick of “Signs point to yes” or “Outlook not so good”). Better to wait until next Thursday’s bankruptcy hearing, when a judge may rule on the matter. Or put it aside – again.

What You Can Do with 20 Million

If there is a $20 million dollar payment, what can you buy with such a sum? Plenty. Some ideas:

  • Buy a super-sized house like celebrity couple Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen’s new digs in LA. The mega-mansion reportedly cost $20 million, but then, it does have a moat.
  • Buy 60 new Ferrari F12 Berlinettas and have change left over for gas.
  • Don’t buy anything – just spend $100 a day, every day. It’ll only take you about 547 years.


Published: August 9, 2013