American’s CEO Says Customers Notice Their Improved Product

At this morning’s American Airlines shareholders meeting CEO Doug Parker claimed “there’s no doubt our customers have noticed the improvement that’s been made to the inflight product.”

He cited JD Power scores in support of this claim. In this report American is behind Alaska, Delta, JetBlue, and Southwest. American scored ahead of Spirit, Frontier, and just ahead of United.

Since Parker is talking about improvement the relevant question is what has changed?

  • Less space between seats
  • Less padding of seats
  • Smaller lavatories
  • No seat back entertainment

While they’ve been installing larger overhead bins and faster wifi. Few US Airways ‘basket of deplorables’ aircraft have seat power.

American has continued to open Flagship lounges, which are improved spaces for business class customers and partner elites.

Meanwhile operational performance has suffered. Though their primary operational focus has been on exact on time departures their goal for July is to hit less than 60% D0.

Have you noticed the improvement to inflight product?

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. Haven’t you noticed? There’s little to no need (let alone inclination) to support assertions with anything resembling an impartial/objective assessment of the facts on which those assertions should be based. What did Stephen Colbert call it? “Truthiness?”

  2. LOL you know who else has a shit ton of JD Power awards, Chevy… so congrats to Doug on the company you share.

  3. Yes. They improved the special meals as Americans customers Clearly prefer out of date frozen special meals

  4. Is he drinking Trump tea?

    AA has established themselves by not being truthful or straight forward about anything.

    Less room throughout the fleet makes for a better, more personal experience?

    More award availability? Sure if you want to fly between non hubs traveling through hubs, but their hub captives don’t see it. They don’t think we notice that that they are taking more “AAdvantage” of more of the people more of the time.

    You can fool some of the people, some of time….

  5. JD Power? When is the Nobel prize arriving to support their own opinons? No wait let me guess McKinsey advised them on how to make customers happy.

  6. I’ve noticed an improved product on American by taking my flying to Delta so I get large overhead bins, IFE and updated interiors.

  7. Like others, I have noticed major improvement since moving most of my flying to SW, JB and Alaskan.

    AAL stock is up, so like Trump supporters there are plenty of people who will believe whatever you tell them.

  8. If you don’t like the airline you are free to take your business elsewhere. You won’t be missed.

  9. I flew domestic first class between CLT and ORD on a newer A321 last week. There was LESS legroom there than with my economy plus seat on United yesterday – on a CRJ! I’m totally serious. As for the economy section of the AA A321, it was uninhabitable by me (at 6’4″) unless I popped for main cabin extra. The hell with that and the hell with AA.

  10. I got the panoply of the AAL 737-8 experience on a recent first class trip: TUS-ORD-BWI, return was BWI-PHX-TUS, (BWI-DFW leg got cancelled morning of, re booked through PHX, flew the next day).

    Old interior with SB screen TUS-ORD, old interior no SB screen ORD-BWI, new interior, less leg room, less comfortable seat, less room under seat, no SB screen BWI-PHX, and finally old interior, no SB screen PHX-TUS.

  11. After flying them twice earlier this year, I will absolutely go out of my way to avoid flying American. Both first and coach are significantly less comfortable than Delta and JetBlue. I’m flying to Mexico City next month and am paying almost twice as much to fly Delta over American. AA has a more convenient schedule, but I won’t suffer those seats, especially when there are two flights involved. Delta/Aeromexico for the win. Delta’s done a great job differentiating their in-flight hard and soft product. Well, I guess American has, as well — just in the opposite direction.

  12. This is just getting sad. Will Dougie P. finally get the ax when his share buy back scheme doesn’t work?

  13. @Johnny and playalaguna. What kind of loony free association made this article an excuse to make ad hominem attacks on real Americans that voted for President Trump. So I will respond in kind. Twinkle twinkle little star, what you say is what you are. [Muttering under my breath, brain dead zombies. But of course you did not hear that since I said it quietly.]

  14. Gary, why do you leave comments with political content. Not the place for narrow minded grumblings

  15. @Greg Myers. Just curious, do you want Gary to (a) remove my post; or (b) remove Johnny, playalaguna, and my posts? Which one (a) or (b)? Some people, not accusing Greg Myers of this, want to encourage all left wing speech, but censor all conservative speech, in the name, catch this, fairness.

  16. “there’s no doubt” Sure. No doubt. I was also told there’s no doubt that no radiation was leaking from Chernobyl.

    @Greg dittoes. If I wanted to hear whiners complain about losing a 3 year old election, I’d leave Boardingarea and turn on cable news.

  17. @Greg Myers i have not even read the comments yet, I have been in work meetings, in general i remove comments that (a) reveal personal information about non-public figures and (b) especially hateful or crude sexual references. I just ignore most political stuff.

  18. I’ll bet those Washington-bound schoolkids American stiffed in Oklahoma City noticed the improvement when they boarded Delta.

    Anybody know how they got home?

  19. I flew UA F on a A320 last week. Made me realize how terrible the AA A320/319s are. Was amazed by the UA seat.

  20. Duggie has spent to much time in the clouds sitting in 1A depleting the Woodford inventory..

  21. Joke of the week. The product is still trash: from when you book, through airport and flying, through the customer service after your flight is delayed for hours. Trash trash trash, idk why i’m platinum, but there’s a status I’m not looking to renew at all.

  22. Can confirm that on my lax-sfo flight that was 4 hours delayed and rebooked on AS that they noticed AS 1st on their A320 was much nicer than AAs on the same airbus.

    So we did notice, but it wasn’t AAs. I was the lucky one who swapped an F seat on a flight never leaving to an AS window, most who switched have middles.

  23. Gene. You are too funny.

    Talking about mindless zombies: “Oneechanbara: The Movie” is about one Japanese woman, with her katana and dressed in a sexy bikini who saves the planet from hordes of mindless zombies. I side with the hot Japanese woman over the mindless zombies every day of the week.

  24. Yes, I do notice improved products. Like:

    * the best hard product J seat of any US carrier on the 77W I just got off of
    * the excellent DFW Flagship Lounge I am currently sitting in
    * The premium economy product I have flown several times this year
    * the rollout of the fast and useful ViaSat wifi on the domestic fleet

    Oh, I would consider removal of domestic seatback IFE to be an improvement.

    So all in all, yes there are noticeable improvements.


    An EXP

  25. @Bob the 77W business class seat was rolled out under previous management before US Airways took over, that can’t be what’s driving the supposed customer perception of product improvement over the last year, right?

  26. The only improvements I have seen (and I fly on AA at least 4x any given week) is that the Max remains grounded and that the OASIS cabin conversions have stopped. Otherwise, Dougie wrote the JD Power survey questions in his favor and he is drinking his own Koolaid.

  27. No improvement to the in flight product,however I have been acknowledge as a valued exp customer the past two flights by both the ticketing agent and the steward, so they must be doing training for the front line folks.

  28. Yes, I’ve noticed the improvement…it’s all negative.

    And what is it with everyone having a different uniform? I’ve been on flights recently where every FA had a different look, including one FA had a t-shirt as her top? It didn’t look very professional.

  29. Yes, I’ve noticed the improvement…it’s all negative.

    And what is it with everyone having a different uniform? I’ve been on flights recently where every FA had a different look, including one FA had a t-shirt as her top? It didn’t look very professional.

  30. I’d say with lower stock, lower profit, and benchmarks just above Spirit and Frontier that people have noticed. As such they have reacted accordingly. They are now ranked just above the worst of the worst and they have done a great job of pushing away previously-loyal customers to other airlines.

  31. AA is also blatantly falsifying its OA records. I’m a 10 year EP and track every delayed flight (average 65+ delays annually!!). Recently contacted EP Customer Relations and numerous flights were reported as on-time even when over 30 mins late, and 50% of the causes were also ‘incorrect’. Is this an FAA violation?

  32. Parker is full of hot air. He obviously does not fly the 737 Oasis. Or the unfit US air planes. My husband has been exec plat with AA for 15 years. He has gone back to flying with Delta regularly with an occasional AA flight. I cringe when I see what flight options I have from Chicago and then cringe more when aircraft is changed. Service on board is inconsistent. Will we be offered drinks before takeoff in first class on single aisle planes? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The other day I was on a flight from Chicago to LA in first class (that was a yes we were offered drinks before take off flight.) Single boarding aisle in gate area. We were told by a gate agent we could not stand between the ropes until they called first class boarding. Huh??? In May I was on a flight Phl to Rome. I missed breakfast as I was just waking up when FAs were delivering bfast. I asked for a few minutes so I could go and wash my face. When I returned to my seat the FA told me they were already cleaning up and I had to eat on their time! Did not have that on an Alitalia flight. FA saw me wake up and politely asked if I would like something. The AA / US Air merger has made flying in AA inconsistent and not enjoyable.

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