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American Airlines ADEPT 2011 Program Experience

American Airlines ADEPT

Last June 2011 I started my 6-months internship (co-op) in American Airlines (AA) headquerters in Dallas/Fort-Worth, Texas. I’m so blessed to be part of the ADEPT 2011 program.

ADEPT stands for American Airlines Development Program for Technology, it is a two-year program designed to develop new hires for AA Information Technology Services (ITS). It was first started in 2006. The ADEPT members are recruited from different universities, in the 2011 class we had members from UT-Austin, UT-Arlington, UT-PanAm, Texas A&M, LSU, OU, etc.

So technically, I’m not a full ADEPT 2011 class member because I’m just having 6-month internship. But… for the whole six months I have been engaged in most of the courses, trainings, and programs they have, and that’s sweeet!

The purpose of this post is to give a picture of the ADEPT program from my perspective (co-op student from Northeastern University). 😀

Quick Outlines:


  • Two weeks orientation program
  • FSU courses and trainings
  • Mentorship
  • Brown bag lunches with AA Managing Directors, and VPs once a month.
  • Walk-a-Mile (1-day to 1-week experience in other departments)
  • AA travel privileges

* I almost have no cons, but if there should be any then this might do:

  • Accommodation for out of state students might be tricky. (Housing and Transportation)

Two Weeks Orientation Program

The first two weeks of the ADEPT program is orientation, and it was full of good stuff, too good I should say.

Week 1

Day 1
Meet with AA CIO, Monte Ford.
ADEPT program overview
Lunch with our going-to-be Managers

Day 2
Flagship University (FSU – AA training center) tour
C.R. Smith Museum tour (yes, AA has a museum)
Lunch with ADEPT mentors
ROPES course

Day 3
Data centers tour
Some more ADEPT program overviews

Day 4
Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and Agile training

Day 5
Introduction to AA Employee Groups
Brown bag lunch with one of AA VP
Tetra Map training

Week 2

Day 1
Creative and Innovation training

Day 2
DFW Airport – Shadow a gate agent experience

Day 3
More DFW airport tour – Baggage and Ramp, Gates, Backroom
Central Baggage System Tour

Day 4
Brown bag lunch with another AA VP
Alliance Fort Worth tour (AFW – one of AA’s maintenance and engineering base)

Day 5
AA Systems Operation Center (SOC) tour, Flight Training Academy tour
ADEPT 2007-2011 group lunch
Report to our managers

Pheeew… it even took me some time to wrote all of these. In short, our first two weeks were really good as you can see, and that’s just the beginning…

FSU Courses and Trainings

Flagship University (FSU) is AA training center, it’s just 5-minutes drive away from the headquarters. Some of the trainings and courses we had are:


Every ADEPT class member has their mentor who is the one year earlier ADEPT class member. Having a mentor means that we can ask a lot of questions we have in mind. We also have someone who can guide us and giving us advise as we get familiar with the company. For me, I have one of the best mentor, she gave me a cool airplane model for my birthday! 😀

Brown bag lunches with AA Managing Directors and VPs

This is one of the best things that I like from the ADEPT program, we get the opportunities to have lunches with the Managing Directors and VPs every month, how cool is that! We get to know the departments where they are working in, know their experiences in the company, and get great tips and advise from them.

Walk-A-Mile (WAM – 1-day to 1-week experience in other departments)

AA is really a huge company with a lot of different departments and groups, even for the ITS itself! WAM gives us the chance to spent and see what the other groups are doing, and most importantly, how what they do connect with the other parts of the company (including our group). I think this is great, because it encourages us to understand more about the process in the company, and not only the group that we are working in.

Travel Privileges

As if everything that I’ve mentioned above are not good enough, the travel privileges seals the deal! Have you ever thought of going somewhere on any weekend? The AA travel privileges made it happen. I went to Salt Lake City for a day on Sunday because I was so curious about the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and I just had the idea on Friday morning. I visited my families in Seattle and Houston when I thought I want to, sometimes just the day before. Every weekend you can be anywhere you want (provided the flight is not full), the possibilities are endless.

Accomodation for out of state students might be tricky. (Housing and Transportation)

This is a negative thing for intern like me who is not going to spent more than few months in Dallas. I was lucky to know someone who I can rent a room in his house, and also I had my sister’s car that I can borrow. But for some others, this might be a bit tricky because the public transportation system in Dallas, though I believe is good enough, is not so convenient.


Me and all the other interns agree that the ADEPT program is so underrated. We didn’t really know about this obviously great program until we were hired. AA also has a great work culture that I like from the very first beginning, most of the people are open-minded and friendly. More than that, the airlines industry is a very fascinating and fast-speed one where challenges to stay competitive and profitable are always around.

I know that AA is not a perfect company. I’m aware with the customer complaints around the internet, and also how the company is struggling to make profit in the recent years. Just few days ago, the company also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy which makes some mixed comments around.

But, from what I’ve seen so far, AA is always determined to be the best airline it can be, and I am proud to be part of it for the last 6 months. 😀

2 thoughts on “American Airlines ADEPT 2011 Program Experience”

  1. Andy says:

    Hey Jito,

    Awesome post man! Takes me back to the summer days.

    1. Trijito Santoso says:

      @Andy, thanks! Just want to make sure everyone knows how cool the AA ADEPT program is! 😀

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