American Airlines, AADP Launch Advertising Award for Positive Portrayals of People with Disabilities

New award recognizes authentic depictions of people with disabilities in television advertising

FORT WORTH, Texas – American Airlines and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) are pleased to announce the creation of the “Altitude Award” honoring the best U.S. television commercials featuring authentic depictions of people with disabilities.

“One of the highest priorities at American Airlines is our continuous endeavor to promote workplace diversity and inclusion and equal employment opportunities for all individuals,” said Dan Garton, Executive Vice President – Marketing. “We are looking forward to reviewing all of the entries and know that our judging panel – and the public – will have many worthy commercials to consider.”

“Many people get their information about disability from the media, including television advertising. AAPD is delighted to be partnering with American Airlines to lift up the commercials that tell our story in a way that helps to change attitudes and increase societal recognition of disability as a natural part of the human experience,” said Andrew Imparato, President and CEO of AAPD.

American Airlines and the AAPD are calling on all companies and advertisers to join a powerful voice of political, economic and social change for people with disabilities by submitting innovative, original television commercials that portray people with disabilities in a positive and progressive light. Entries must be submitted online at by the producing agency or company and will be evaluated in Dallas by a panel of judges. Five finalists will be selected for public voting.

The finalist with the most votes will receive the Altitude Award, along with highly coveted free advertising onboard American Airlines planes. The Altitude Award-winning ad will be announced in November 2009.

The judging criteria for the inaugural Altitude Award will include:

  1. Overall appeal
  2. Authentic depiction of an individual with a disability
  3. Clarity of message

Only spots that have aired between October 1, 2007 and March 31, 2009 are eligible for submission.

The American Association of People with Disabilities is the country’s largest cross-disability membership organization with more than 100,000 members throughout the United States. American Airlines Chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey originally announced this competition at AAPD’s Annual Leadership Gala in Washington, D.C., on March 4.

About The American Association of People with Disabilities

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the country's largest cross-disability membership organization, organizes the disability community to be a powerful voice for change – politically, economically, and socially. AAPD was founded in 1995 to help unite the diverse community of people with disabilities, including their family, friends and supporters, and to be a national voice for change in implementing the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To learn more about the AAPD, visit

About American Airlines

American Airlines, American Eagle and the AmericanConnection® airlines serve 250 cities in 40 countries with, on average, more than 3,400 daily flights. The combined network fleet numbers more than 900 aircraft. American's award-winning Web site,®, provides users with easy access to check and book fares, plus personalized news, information and travel offers. American Airlines is a founding member of the oneworld® Alliance, which brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business, enabling them to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own. Together, its members serve nearly 700 destinations in over 140 countries and territories. American Airlines, Inc. and American Eagle Airlines, Inc. are subsidiaries of AMR Corporation. AmericanAirlines, American Eagle, AmericanConnection,, We know why you fly and AAdvantage are registered trademarks of American Airlines, Inc. (NYSE: AMR)