American Airlines Executive Vice President: We Need Time to Get Better (5 Years Isn’t Enough)

American Airlines has a weekly series where Ron DeFeo, senior vice president of global engagement, interviews executives at the company (and sometimes with partners) to give employees a better understanding of the reasons for decisions being made at the airline. It’s called “Tell Me Why” and it’s also available on iTunes and soundcloud, which means that anyone outside the airline can listen, too.

The first several episodes were pretty enlightening, for instance interviewing their Vice President of Planning about new routes and about how they see certain hubs, and when they got into their fleet strategy along with their order for new Boeing 787s.

Recently they’ve been fairly milquetoast, such as the last interview with new Vice President of Marketing about how great their customer product initiatives are.

An Executive Vice President Offers Her Take on Where American Is Going

The company gives employees an opportunity to comment on “Tell Me Why” on an internal forum — and boy do they ever. One flight attendant who says that Delta’s onboard product and overall customer experience is better — even if American has newer planes — drew a response from Executive Vice President Elise Eberwein.

Her response is, in a nutshell:

  • American flight attendants are better than at competitor airlines
  • They can’t be expected to be better than competitors yet since their merger is newer, they’ve only had 5 years
  • American has to build products customers love and flight attendants are proud of — and they’re doing that
  • Their technology is great too

In other words – the airline is headed in the right direction because of the merger and they just need time to catch up to competitors.

However the airline has been going in the wrong direction since the merger, and the merger is never an excuse or cause for delay when a customer-unfriendly initiative needs to get prioritized (‘integrate before we innovate’ quickly goes by the wayside).

American’s Flight Attendants Are Better?

Ms. Eberwein first said the flight attendant was “one of American’s best..which means I would put you and your crew up against DL or UA any day of the week on any flight, and our service would win.”

She says American’s flight attendants are better, but are they? Are they given the tools to be better? The catering? Are they given the training to be better? And indeed are they told to prioritize customer service or sacrifice it for operational metrics the airline still fails to meet?

Blame It On The Merger, ‘We’ve Only Had 5 Years’

Maybe flight attendants are better, but the airline isn’t better overall and that’s because their merger was ‘only’ 5 years ago,

DL is five years ahead of us in terms of integration. That means they have been merged for 10 years, while we have been merged for just 5. UA is 3 years ahead of us. Not an excuse just similar to a house remodel. DL is five years ahead and renovating their existing structure (and doing it VERY well so not taking anything away from them), as is UA. Both started their remodel projects before us. Then we did a complete tear down and started building a new house (ie placed a huge new aircraft replacement order before the merger closed), albeit five and three years later… it is going to take time to catch up or even surpass. And at some point, both DL and UA will have aircraft orders of their own to contend with as their fleet’s age.

The implication is that American is headed on the right path and just hasn’t had enough time — five years — for results to show. American’s merger of course will always be more recent than Delta’s and United’s. However it’s time to stop using the merger as an excuse. They combined the American and US Airways frequent flyer programs in early 2015, and moved to a common passenger service system in October 2015. They even now have flight attendants on a single system, which lets them more easily assign the plane they want to the route they want.

The merger didn’t prevent them from rolling out a whole slew of customer-unfriendly initiatives. So it’s all about priorities. For instance,

When American leadership took over they found an airline whose Boeing 737s had 150 seats in them. They’re ripping out the insides of those planes to squeeze in 172 seats, which means less space between seats (even in first class), less recline, and smaller bathrooms. They’ll be ripping out seat back video screens, too.

They gutted American’s meal service in September 2014, and were surprised to learn customers cared so they restored some of what was lost.

The airline was already on a path to fully lie flat business class seats with direct aisle access, that wasn’t a new management decision.

The things this management did control largely hasn’t been to make the customer experience better (other than faster wifi, though at the expense of seat back screens). Indeed 5 years into the merger larger legacy US Airways narrowbody aircraft still lack power at each seat. The airline’s CEO said they thought they could get away with it (“we thought we could live with this“).

The American AAdvantage team had their own proposal to reward high value customers without undercutting the value proposition of the program. That plan was overruled by legacy US Airways management who decided to copy Delta and United’s devaluations instead, while applying US Airways revenue management philosophy to award availability.

Did they need a merger and new management to make things better for customers — or to make them worse?

Two Competing Visions For American Airlines

Ms. Eberwein says that they “rely far too much” on only being 5 years into merger, and acknowledges they “need to consider the hard product such as pitch, seat comfort, food quality, entertainment options, etc.”

However she says that’s what “Janelle talks about in this brief [“Tell Me Why”]” episode. In other words she suggests American is doing this.

[I]n the year ahead you can expect to see more attention on these aspects of our service. It is one thing to have the largest network (all 3 carriers make this claim), and newer, more fuel efficient aircraft. It is another to understand the psyche of our best customers, as well as our less frequent flyers, and build products they love/want to buy, and deliver those services as you do today with pride and enthusiasm (I see how you look when checking in for flights and I hear your comments when the onground bev service doesn’t occur in first.. you’re the epitome of service). We are paying attention to likelihood to recommend, cabin write ups (to fix things that aren’t working, and feedback on product decisions. So keep the feedback coming.

Lastly our technology is right up there with the rest, and in many cases surpasses the others. And technology, that is how easy it is to do business with us, even during irregular ops, is a focus as well.

But I have to close with championing the hundreds of not thousands of coworkers of ours who are working on all of this and more. We have a lot to look forward to in 2019 and beyond. Thanks again for all you deliver out on the line. Perhaps I can take a trip with you in the year ahead.

The airline’s President Robert Isom though says it’s all about low fares like Spirit and Frontier,

[T]oday there is a real drive within the industry and with the traveling public to want to have really at the end of the day low cost seats. And we’ve got to be cognizant of what’s out there in the marketplace and what people want to pay.

The fastest growing airlines in the United States Spirit and Frontier. Most profitable airlines in the United States Spirit. We have to be cognizant of the marketplace and that real estate that’s how we make our money.

We don’t want to make decisions that ultimately put us at a disadvantage, we’d never do that.

Which version offers a better description of American Airlines over the past couple of years — offering “products [customers] love/want to buy, and deliver those services..with pride and enthusiasm” or offering products that ensure the airline isn’t “at a disadvantage” compared to “Spirit and Frontier?”

The airline has improved international business class, though much of the decision-making there predated the merger. They have also improved benefits for ConciergeKey members. At the same time the domestic product has been made worse — even the domestic first class product with less space and less comfortable seats. Those are decisions made after the merger.

AAdvantage of course was the advantage American had over Delta and they voluntarily chose to to abdicate their unique selling proposition.

The track record since the merger doesn’t have anything to suggest all that’s needed is more time to catch up to Delta with 600 seat back video screens, better operational reliability, and friendly crew who update customers regularly during delays.

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. Ms Eberwein, Robert Isom, Parker and the rest of the US Airways (America West) management team are clearly in positions that are over their heads. They should be given their walking papers effective immediately.
    I was Executive Platinum for 10 straight years until this year. All because of the negative business decisions/changes that US Air’s management team made to AA over the past 5 years. I have millions of Advantage award miles in my account that I find extremely hard to use efficiently. Although Delta’s award program is not great, operationally, they run a much better airline. I’ve moved all my business travel over to Delta. I haven’t looked back since.

  2. As a guy that flew Delta quite a bit 5 years ago, they were good then too. I’m not unsympathetic to the idea of needing some time to work through merger kinks, but I think there is far more afoot with AA.

  3. Fat Pig Parker and their US Airways team gotta go. FPP is outta touch. He is too fat to fit inside a normal seat. Let go of my EP 2 years ago and not looking back. Unless Crandall is back or CEO from JL or NH is in charge of AA.

  4. The change we need to see is in the senior leadership team. Until that happens the culture and approach to the business will not change. The current team has a strategy that is not working, however they are too blind to see it and will continue on its path thus the comment 5 years is not enough. All you can do at this point is avoid AA as much as you can and wait a few years for the senior team to deploy those golden parachutes and move onto destroy another great company..

  5. I would have some sympathy for Parker and his madness if he and the rest of the executives were required to consistently fly economy in the regular middle seat in order to garner some understanding of the customer.

  6. You went easy Gary… what about…

    1) the complete gutting of the executive platinum line and now customer service agents actually fear helping you unless they can document for management a good reason they aren’t costing the airline by helping customers.

    2) removal of First Class (not flagship) check-in at Miami (and other hubs??) so now all Exp, ppro, plat, gold and everyone else with a priority tag can wait 20+ min in a “priority” line.

    3) One of your favorites… boarding not following the App (or even their own rules… gotta love the 50 people first class cabin)… hence causing anxiety, chaos and wasted time for boarding. This actually has been the reason for several failures at D0… the gate agents simply don’t follow or enforce the rules.

    And the list goes on and on…. I agree 100% with you… it’s all about priorities. The customer experience clearly isn’t one of them.

  7. @Gary, you wrote:

    “American AAdvantage team had their own proposal to reward high value customers without undercutting the value proposition of the program.”

    THAT would make a fascinating piece: looking back at what the AAdvantage team wanted to do and contrasting with what the AmWest/US Air folks did instead.

  8. They forgot to mention SWA. Larger seats, consistent service, reasonable fares, generous ticket modification policy, and fun to fly. Free wifi for movies and IFE, no seat power, like AA, but unlike AA, larger seating area. And, they work well with Chase.
    No, delta is only one competitor. At 172 seats instead of 150, we had better see 10 to 15% airfare reduction, or else the preflight mood music will need to last the entire flight and better not force me to put in my 50 NFR ear plugs!

  9. You’d be shocked if a senior leader DIDN’T say they have the best flight attendant professionals in the industry, regardless of the airline.

  10. When Delta and United were at the 5 year mark following their respective mergers, they were performing better than today’s AA.

  11. Eberwein and Parker frist order of business after coming from US Air was to disrespect the retirees by downgrading their travel to D2R. Actiive employees know that Eberwein and Parker cannot be trusted or respected.

  12. Read a recent interview with Bastian at Delta. He chalked it up to…

    CEO having run Northwest previously so he “knew where the skeletons were” (code for handling the unions)

    Working on being on time first and letting it flow from there

    Margin advantage at fortress mid con hubs ATL DTW MSP that lets them reinvest elsewhere

    AA had none of these. CLT is the only really uncontested hub they have. DFW has DAL leakage and ORD is a duopoly with UA plus MDW leakage.

    It’s a rough hand to be dealt. Management can do better especially with reliability but labor is no saint here and Delta’s best moves were set in motion the day NW agreed to merge.

  13. Pathetic. Since the merger things have gotten bad at AA. Their spin is such BS. Does AA now stand for Awful Airline.

  14. In another new low for AA in its race to the bottom – Beginning 5/3/19, the 757 with a proper business class, that has been servicing MIA – VVI for years, will be replaced with a 737 MAX. They are selling this worse possible excuse of a domestic first class seat as business class on a 7 hour international flight.

  15. Total BS that perhaps only AA’s Board of Directors still buys, but certainly not the customer! AA would make a fine second edition of “Peter’s Principle” or “The Art of CYA.”

    Ironically, this comes in parallel to Amtrak’s management sounding off on the same pathetic excuses to cover-up their inability to operate a transport product that is highly questionable for its sustainability going forward.

    Between this story on AA, what we know about Amtrak, the enormous waste in defense and its contractors, subsidies for profitable industries, is this how the nation has devolved..?

  16. I’m platinum for life. I had to live on AA jets to accomplish that. What do I get for it? Award miles that are impossible to use. Poor service. Rude employees. Uncomfortable aircraft. A gutted AAdvantage program. An experience that when you think it can’t possibly get worse, does. My first choice airline has become JetBlue. JetBlue is better at every single thing I’ve complained about than American. It wouldn’t bother me at all to see AA crash and burn.

  17. Planes are full so why change. Air travel is a monopoly. That’s just the way it is. The bottom line is how much money they make not how much you love them. Vote with your feet? Not possible. They are all very similar.

  18. Premium Economy…is what economy used to be. Business is what First Class used to be. First Class, what First Class?
    Need I say more?

  19. American has some of the rudest flight attendants on their domestic routes. Even flying first class is only marginally better. Maybe it’s just union arrogance, but to me, it is all how you are treated that determines your loyalties.

  20. I don’t believe that American needed more time. They need a complete restructure.
    I fly first class just about every week and am executive platinum with American.
    I hear the flight attendants complain out loud about customers on the plane. They are plan rude. This comes down too poor training on how to be great customer service reps for American,
    The ticketing staff in Philadelphia are among some of the rudest. Many times I’m delayed on American and if you think for a second the gate staff is friendly or helpful very often your sadly mistaken American VP’s. Your doing an awful job building a good brand with this merger.

    I’ve had the worst baggage issues with American this past year with over a dozen delayed bags at multiple airports and I can’t perform my job without my tools. With that American has caused me so many heartaches this past year with lost revenue with my job.
    Honestly I’m ONLY still loyal to American because it’s a hub in my area for convenience.

    BTW Philadelphia has the worse baggage claim especially in Term A. Super rude and lost my bags twice this year coming back from California both times. One time I had to wait over two hours to get my bags up to the claim belt. The rude agent wouldn’t give us any info except that they would be up shortly. Later she informed us that the ramp agent couldn’t ope the cargo hole door for the baggage. Please if this is true then it proves that your training in all areas of this airline are pathetic. Call for help from a trained baggage agent, you don’t wait two hours to get the door open. Not that I believed this excuse anyway. or straight up lie. Also poor attitude about the whole incident.
    Delta is and has been for many years leaps and bounds above American.

    I will weighing my options this year of getting back my delta levels and getting away from American all together.

  21. It’s so nice to see how on the money I am about AA and I’m sure I don’t travel nearly enough as those who have responded above. I took my family to Hawaii via AA AND HAD AN AWFUL EXPERIENCE GOING AND RETURNING. It was so awful I wrote PARkER a letter about how awful the experience was. ( and I never do that) HE NEVER RESPONDED. unimaginable!!! I should have put the letter on Facebook.

    In the meantime I have a lot of miles. What can I do with them. Help please. Rhonda

  22. I’ve already started booking on Alaska for 2019. They’re not “the best”, but they’re a damn sight better than AA. And their merger is even newer.

    First domestic trip is $1000 of revenue not going into the AA sinkhole.

  23. This is simply a company without a value proposition. I wonder if their senior management has even gone through such a basic exercise. Can they articulate their value proposition to the customer? What is their brand strategy? What does success look like for them? Much of it sounds like “low cost airline,” in which case just go do that and cancel the perks. If it’s to be the best full service airline, start with making their full service experience the market standard. Delta seems to get that….

  24. The only airline worse that American is Brittish Air. I have been an American Airlines 1,000,000 mile member for 20 years I go out of my way in cost and stops NOT to fly American. The seat pitch on their new aircraft is insane, done by pencil pushes not travelers. Available award flights across the pond are unavailable for smaller award miles, with the exception of using Brittish Air, who charges just about $500 per person in taxes and fees when going through London. American Advantage awards are well below the industry average. Their motto should be “American Airlines our head is __ ___ ___. ” Can you tell I’m upset with American Airlines, they can’t.

  25. I am a Lifetime Platinum (Ex Plat for many years) and you will find me on Alaska whenever I can make that work (most of the time happily).
    I sent an e-mail asking questions when Plat Pro was first introduced….AA just didn’t care about my concerns and expressed that by not sending any type of reply……customer service???
    Shortly after the merger, long before the terrible seats came along they gutted Celebrated Living and American Way magazines. Yes, they saved a few bucks most likely…. but greatly lost the quality edge they enjoyed.These use to be the class of the industry and I so looked forward to getting on that first plane of the month to read and view the great articles contained there-in. (for AW even bi-monthly at. the time). This was an early indication to me they were changing direction ….and not in a good way. Bring back Janet Thomas Adam P and team!!!!

  26. Where oh where is TWA or even PSA when you need them? Now those two airlines had great on-board service…always a smile (even on the PSA planes!).
    I suppose it all boils down to money….the boards of directors of all the airlines are more interested in making money for their stock holders and themselves, and screwing the passengers (with the passenger never even approaching a climax) in order to make more money (baggage fees, change fees, higher prices for food & booze on board).
    And all the passenger gets is transportation from point A to point B and sometimes further. I will say though, Qantas runs a first class operation. I flew from Sydney to Brisbane in coach, and then Brisbane to Cairns and back to Sydney in the front, and from the moment we asked into the International Terminal in Sydney and returned to the Sydney terminal, it was nothing but courtesy and comfort. The airline of America could and should take lessons from Qantas and other international carrriers and bring civility back in the air..

  27. Decades as US Chairman Preferred/AA ExPlat, but fell off the highest tier with the downgrading of the AAdvantage program. Let’s face reality, this is no longer a Loyalty program but a ‘How Much Money Will You Give Me’ program. Loyalty is a two-way street and I can certainly walk the other way. I have flown with DL and several International carriers recently, and the experience is VASTLY different (better). I understand that there are subsidies to many international carriers, but AA falls short even in comparison to other domestics. This management group does not get it, but I feel the reckoning is coming! Service downgrades on board, and at the Admirals Clubs, Fees at every turn and generally grumpy/rude customer service (let’s not even get into the off shore phone support personnel) do not a Happy Customer Make!

    I have stayed ‘loyal’ because of the ‘perks’ of my status, but those are non-existent or few and far between anymore. So no reason to keep booking AA. There is a whole new world of options out there that I will be happily exploring in 2019. Happy New Year!

  28. As a Platinum flyer, I hope AA reads these comments. They have become a horrible airline… USAir in an American wrapper. I find myself flying them less and less. I am sick to death of credit card commercials on every damn flight!!! Uncomfortable seats, poor service, and no regard for passengers. Sad state of affairs….

  29. I have flown AA on their International flights and that is where they really excel. All flight attendants were excellent, and went far above the call of duty to make the customer experience outstanding. That being said, the domestic cramped plane experience is where they need to improve. I like the idea of the executives being made to fly in the worst cheap seats to gain the voice and perspective of the customer. How about them going undercover while doing this to see what is really going on, vs what they think/hope is the customer experience?

  30. Squeezing seats and making people uncomfortable will not serve American well, customers . will find other airlines to fly. I flew my family to Jamaica in first class and wished I had booked DELTA comfort instead, cramped in AA 737Max. Max means LESS when it come to American.

  31. I miss US Air and was a loyal FF with them. They took care of their priority members unlike AA. I have no loyalty to AA and I consistently vote against them in the annual Freddie awards. They nickel and dime you to death like spirit airline. Total amateur hour.

  32. I had finally become CK in 2018 on AA, and despite almost guaranteed FC seating on flights (and the convenience of flying out of one of their hubs), I found myself increasingly shifting business to other competitors, even if it meant a connection. While I do believe their international business class is good, it often comes at a hefty price premium that is hard to justify if I am being financially responsible. Sad, really. The whole justification for the merger was that it would benefit the flying public, so using the excuse that they need more time after 5 years is pathetic. And, if they are already gutting and going all in on the horrible new Project Oasis, there is no way passenger comfort and flying experience can be a priority. I guess they don’t realize all their customers suffer to sell a few additional seats to compete with Frontier or Spirit. Sadly, until more of their premium fliers (that pay the hefty dollars) make the switch, they will just keep on, keeping on. But to those of you still enamored with the increasingly useless status and not sure of making a switch, I say “jump in, the water is fine”

  33. I was just a lowly Gold member for years but have now dropped out completely. They will continue their decline unless enough people stop using them.

  34. The real problem is the new owners, you kow the ones that bankrupted three airlines before they stole American Airlines, really only wanted to get out of Phoenix and get American’s reputation, routes, and computer system. Well they got their wishes, but it is clear they still do not know how to run an airline. The upper management acts like kings in the castle. clueless as the customers are searching for the American they expect. The middle management is given directives but no authority or skills to accomplish anything other than fight the daily screw ups. I hate to see what is left of what was the Best Airline in the Skies finallly fail, but the dye is cast. The only thing saving them today is United can be just as bad.

  35. The management of this airline is completely out of touch with its employees and paying customers.
    I too, quite them three years ago during the merger, they screwed the customer at every chance and blamed it on the merger. In the middle of the merger you couldn’t find a smile on a US Air or AA employee, they were all pissed and they would openly take about it to the customer. The blame it on the merger tank is empty and don’t make your problems to customers problem.

  36. I flew Delta for the first time a month ago and it was like stepping into the sunlight on a warm sunny day in the middle of a beautiful meadow. What is this? I thought to myself. Sensible boarding process, attentive service, a seat that is comfortable, some leg room? What? But it was true. And it was at this point that I realized how horrible AA has really become. It’s all true. AA does not care about the passenger and it is very evident in the way AA employees interact with themselves and customers that AA management doesn’t care about them either. And there is no loyalty. When you have CK members not even wanting to fly AA, that speaks louder than words. Economy comfort seats on the 777 to LHR are virtually gone. Most of them have been replaced with Premium Economy and the few EC seats they kept are back in row 35+. I have an idea, just put in bench seating, or better yet, why not just treat your plains like an airport terminal train and just make everyone stand. FU AA! You lost another EP member.

  37. So many spot on comments. AA has deteriorated since the merger. It surely is US Airways in the AA wrapper. It is all about the $’s with AA, not customer service. The few remaining AA employees continue to provide the exceptional services, but the new US Air guided employees lack any customer service or care for flyers. All loyalty programs have been depleted for $s by US Air. Flight attendants on long-haul over night trips (6+ hours) distribute the beverages/food/snacks as quickly as possible and then head to the die hole for their personal comfort and to never be seen again until time to land. If you need any help, travel to the galley or rear of the lane side-stepping all the way for the beverage or service desired. My wife and I have both been EP for years, which means nothing any more. The new seat configurations for first on 767/777/787 with forward/rearward facing seats suck, obviously designed solely for the single business traveler and not comfort or couples. Food choices suck. Give me a break, enough wraps, and food choices in first/business are terrible too…not much of a choice if you fly frequently. What was my preferred seating area as no charge main cabin extra is now “premium” seats for an additional fee. My list goes on and on. The only thing that keeps me on AAL is lack of flight choices on other airlines. I have no hope for AAL. It’s all about the $s and lack of alternatives for you that keep AAL going. It’s not about caring for the passenger. It’s been down hill for 5 years, and the slope down is steep. Venting here is your only alternative. There is no help from AAL customer service. The same goes for the Admirals’ Club…

  38. I cannot believe that five years is not enough to turn AA around. That is more time than we give the American President to turn the country around. Get a grip and give the customers what we want, and the airline will be successful again. We want a comfortable seat, good service and food.

  39. Wow, for the most part, I couldn’t agree more with everything written here. I, too, have been EP for about 20 years. I didn’t fly enough to make it for 2019 so it will be Platinum for Life status for me now. And what does that mean to AA? Very, very little. Fees, fees, fees on everything you do. Have to change your flight? That will be $200. AA changes your plans, they do it with absolutely no compensation. You missed the event you were flying with them in the first place? Too bad. They don’t give a, well, you know….Never mind they got you to your destinatiion 24 hours later. Hey, why are you complaining? (Yes, that is sarcasm.) Those FF miles you saved? Try to use them. Lots of luck. And if you want something other than the milkrun, prepare to cough up even more miles. What? You want to be able to plug in your laptop, Kindle, phone, or whatever? Too bad. No outlets. But hey, if you have enough juice you can watch a really stupid (boring) news program. As I mentioned at the first of this comment, I’ve read from others who have jumped ship. Move over. I’m joining you. I’ve booked my last flight on American.

  40. Quite simply, Amercian has been imploding since the merger. The FAs know it, the pilots know it, the gate agents know it the ground crew know it. And management really doesn’t care and is making it worse. It is all about the last nickel of revenue for today with no investment in customer service for tomorrow. Every intentional decision from reducing first class seat room, devaluation of premium customers awards, rasining redemption levels, disrespecting line employees, denying minor baggage claims, lying about delays that obviously cannot go at the posted times (time after time), poor IFE on horrible Airbus configs to claiming the merger did it. No, the merger didn’t do it, management did it on purpose. Clearly the worst US airline today and quite certainly tomorrow and years from now.

  41. I gave AA 3 years to get it right it only got worst.
    I left them and went to another airline that gets my 66 flights a year and I am happy as can be.
    AA needs to rethink their Business plan.

  42. I read this article with interest. I too am EP this year, but this year will be my last. I am fed up with the FA’s attitude even when flying first/business. It is hit and miss if you get a good FA, flying first/business it should not be that way. No power at the seats, how am I supposed to work? Looking at my options for air travel, sad to see AA going this way and obviously either don’t care or are totally oblivious to what is taking place around them!

  43. Last year I was flying to a place that flights on AA appeared to be slightly better schedule than flying Delta. So for the first few weeks I used AA. The experience was horrible. The gate staff were difficult and rude. The flight attendants were okay. On one flight we came in and had the smoothest landing ever… then we dropped around 2 feet and actually hit the runway. Everyone gasped. I had been flying more on AA than other airlines and I still wasn’t treated as a valued customer.

    I switched to Delta for the next month of flying. The booking experience was seamless. The agents at the airport were pleasant. Flight attendants were as good or better than AA staff. Never had a scary moment with the Delta pilots. Even when I had no status on Delta I was made to feel like a valued customer. Once I had status the perks were better than AA. Plus it was easier to increase status on Delta than maintain status on AA.

    In November I switch projects. Now I cannot find a direct flight on Delta. Because I hate getting stuck half way to a client, I will always take the direct flight. So I have been flying AA again. The flights have been okay. The gate agents have been curt and rude. If Delta had a direct route, I’d switch in a heart beat.

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