American Eagle Gives Itself a Name That It Can’t Possibly Live Up To

American Eagle Airlines will change its name to Envoy.

Here’s the trick. American Eagle is a wholly owned subsidiary operating feeder flights and thin routes for American. Recently American has taken on more regional partners to do flying for them. And US Airways has non-owned regional airline partners flying for them. And that regional flying needs a name. Like United Express and US Airways Express, a brand that encompasses all of the contracted airlines flying small aircraft.

So American wants to use ‘American Eagle’ to represent all of these airlines, not just their one subsidiary. As a result they’re renaming the subsidiary.

So far, so good. But… Envoy?

“By taking on the Envoy name, we can better differentiate ourselves from the competition and better market ourselves.

…The name was chosen because Envoy is reflective of what the company does for the airlines it works with – serving as their ambassador and a representative to their customers.

Except… it’s really not representative of the service being offered. Maybe it won’t matter, because customers will just see the ‘American Eagle’ branding. Only the most die-hard frequent flyers pay attention to the actual name of the operating regional carrier. Passengers will still fly ‘American Eagle’ and eventually they’ll transition to these American Eagle flights being ‘Operated by Envoy’ just as they might be ‘Operated by Republic Airlines’.

Still, Envoy conveys a sense of distinguished service that isn’t historically a part of American Eagle’s operation. They’re a regional carrier. Regional gate areas can be confusing, chaotic even. While there are many planes with first class and snack service even, it’s not the highest level of service an airline can offer.

Think I’m the only one that sees Envoy as a mismatch for the carrier? US Airways has long used the brand ‘Envoy’ for their international business class product. Here’s how the US Airways website describes their Envoy service.

There’s no place like Envoy, our international business class. With more space and personalized service, you’ll arrive refreshed, relaxed and ready to do business. Enjoy restaurant-style meals and sip fine wines. Pass the time with hours of movies, TV and music. Plus, enjoy access to any US Airways Club the day you travel, priority boarding and baggage handling and no checked bag fees. And if your trip includes flights within the U.S., you’ll travel in First Class.

Does that sound like an American Eagle regional jet experience to you?

It’s just a name, service standards remain the name, so it won’t ultimately matter. But if you’re going to call yourself envoy, an emissary on a special diplomatic mission, there are protocols to live up to!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Since US Airways will eventually be dropping “Envoy” as the name of their international business class product, is this merely a move by American Airlines Group to preserve one of their trademarks?

  2. @DWT – that’s exactly what I was thinking.

    I always found it odd that American Eagle’s inflight magazine was so upscale. I guess it fits in that sense.

  3. Its already the first embarrassment from the US Airways management. Its not only bad branding its confusing to new and pre existing customers.
    It sounds like they want to hold onto the brand name and will call something Envoy just to keep something US Air alive
    I hate A Eagle mostly because its a crap/ barely acceptable product made only worse by their LAX barn they call a terminal to fly in or out of.

  4. Envoy basically means ambassador or liaison. The regional airline is like a liaison between the mainline flights and a lesser served customer population. For some reason the name doesnt seem like such a stretch to me.

  5. It would be a mismatch if it matters–and it doesn’t. Could be called Consolidated Doobobs for all it would matter to the end user.

    Those who think it matters have too much time on their hands, or not enough brain cells working.

  6. American Eagle’s operation is such a mess, I guess this is their attempt to improve their brand image. After all, with so many flights on tiny regionals operated by American Eagle, I’m betting that contributed to AA falling near the bottom of the airline rankings just published by the WSJ.

  7. Those who don’t think that it matters also may have too much time on their hands to respond here in this forum.
    Regarding the stupidity of the not enough brain cells working comments I’ll leave that up to the smarter majority of readers and posters out there 😉

  8. @george how exactly will anything change? The plane will still say American Eagle on the outside with a tiny sticker that says: Operated by Envoy Airlines.

    Actually an expansion of the American Eagle brand.

    The only real change is the greater use of other regional airlines under the American Brand.

    So inside baseball.

  9. yeah, we only associate “envoy” with heightened service levels because we are accustomed to USAir’s nomenclature. The general public wouldn’t know/care, nor would they necessarily associate “envoy” with “luxury.” Agree with CW – means “messenger.” Also agree with Brian, “Nobody really cares.”

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