3 Things American Airlines Told Employees Last Week

In recent days I’ve covered the questions that American Airlines employees are asking management – and the candid responses they’re getting.

American also answers employee questions in writing. These answers usually aren’t as illuminating because they aren’t as candid and on the spot. However there are still things we can learn.

Even painting a stripe on a plane’s winglet is more money than American wants to spend. You can take the management out of America West, but you can’t take America West out of the management.

Don’t expect any new ultra long haul routes from American (or anything new out of Tulsa). American sees the opportunity cost of ultra long haul flights as too high to be profitable.

New planes without seat back video don’t work for a lot of customers, the one investment American might consider may surprise you. They claim 90% of customers bring their own devices, that really means smartphones and is probably high. Try getting their streaming video to work on a Windows laptop. They haven’t shown interest in an iPad rental program for families that don’t have one tablet per kid and one each for the parents. Headphone splitters, on the other hand…

You can’t really rent headset splitters, people put those in their ears, the required cleaning would be significant. But I suppose you could sell them.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. You don’t put headphone splitters in your ear. You plug 2 sets of earphones into the splitter……

  2. Here’s my ask Gary…

    Why don’t the intl JVs like AA/BA or UA/ANA offer more seamless reciprocal upgrade / seating benefits (like how NW/CO used to pull off)?

    Variable cost or just messy systems investment?

    Seems it would help the network effect for routes like JFK-LHR with shared frequencies.

  3. lol I’d love to see someone stick headset splitters in their ears… or “eats” [sic], as Gary calls them.


  4. The Microsoft Edge thing is potentially pretty bad. Unless they allow people access to various “app stores” while in flight over their Wifi.

    I use a large Ipad Pro with a keyboard, so no issues for me. However, I know lots of people with Windows 10 laptops that only have Edge as their browser installed.

  5. Headset splitters may seem like simple tech but are remarkably shoddy at the cheap end. Only the very expensive ones work well.

  6. This airline keeps getting worse and worse…..unions got in bed with a company stock sticker LCC and now they wonder why they are getting stuck with an LCC product…….LOL

    Delta gives their customers THEIR CHOICE on how they want to consume entertainment (on most longer haul flights) meaning, non-717/MD80/90. Seat back AVOD AND/OR Streaming to your device which is the non-cheap route to take.

    US Airways wants to spend money to tear it out instead of leaving it in, and reconfigure planes that have it with awful layouts and WiFi that doesn’t work and passengers that don’t know they need the App to actually stream.

  7. There is a reason why Delta refused US Airways’ takeover……Keep Delta My Delta….AA’s response: we’ll take anything without thinking about the ramifications…..LAA FA’s prob can’t wait to fly those those ratty LUS planes for 6 hours from MIA-West Coast with the no privacy FC galleys (joking).

  8. A parallel race to the bottom between AA and UA=a new definition of competition!!

    Makes it all the more relevant for the pols who control and shakedown ORD to open up ORD to JetBlue so we can finally derive a meaningful choice beyond the US3cartel.

  9. Funny if you read various things about social media, being seen on social is very important. Saw an article that mentioned one reason the chain restaurants such as Applebees, chili’s and the like are having a hard time luring a new generation is that their food doesn’t photograph well from the top, so people don’t like to share that they are eating there. AA is saying the most visible part of the plane from the inside isn’t important, when that is what will be seen on social media when post pics of flying. They aren’t posting, “I’m flying American to Cancun!” “They are posting On My way to Cancun!!” Now if you could see out the window that it was an AA plane, that is free advertising no one else is doing.

  10. No new service from TUL?


    Was hoping for a TUL-LAX, TUL-PHX, TUL-PHL, and/or a TUL-LGA/JFK nonstop. I’d even settle for any of theses routes to be on American Eagle. *Sigh*

    Oh well, at least one of the TUL-CLT flights was upgraded to mainline AA.

  11. @Max M – Weird. Just 90 miles east of you, over here at XNA, we have 2 daily non-stops to LGA, 1 daily non-stop to LAX, 1 daily non-stop to DCA (on RJ-175’s) and 3 daily non-stops to CLT (on RJ900’s). And, of course, multiple dailies to DFW and ORD.

  12. @Ed – XNA has Wal Mart…TUL has AA maintenance…. It would be nice fly AA direct to somewhere other than ORD, DFW, or CLT.

  13. @Jim L – Yep. Put my 25 years in there……
    But it’s also Tyson, JB Hunt, and all their connected vendor offices here. Having said that, without WMT we’d be driving to TUL, I suspect.

    You’d think AA maintenance at TUL would create more directs, though.

  14. Jim L., AMEN!

    Try being in Albuquerque, the forgotten city. We have sooooo much capacity left over from the Southwest Love Field flying requirements. SWA was originally a Texas airline, then allowed to fly other places IF they only flew to a state bordering Texas. We benefited by having many flights that stopped here and then continued on to another SWA city and vv.

    Now, misery. DFW, DFW, DFW, CLT, ORD, DFW, DFW.

    I flew n/s this past weekend from San Diego on Alaska. Big treat. And, I’ve totally come to terms with Embraer and truly realized they are a lot more comfortable. But, flying through a hub is still another 5 hours wasted, at best.

    I always heard there is a completely different attitude on Alaska — ’tis true, ’tis true. I lobbied for more Alaska flights and AA can just go to Dallas.

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