American Airlines: Caring For What Matters Most

Eight months ago American Airlines Senior Vice President Kurt Stache spoke publicly about the airline’s lack of brand purpose and work they’d done to try to get clarity on who they are and what they’re trying to be.

That seemed dead-on to me what the airline needs to do. They don’t have a mission statement and they even confuse employees over whether they’re trying to deliver a premium product or catch Spirit.

  • The effort could be clarifying for the whole company – who are they, whom do they service, what are they trying to accomplish, and how?

  • Or it could be just a new slogan and ad campaign, like the 2016 ‘greatest flyers’ campaign that basically said their customers put up with the misery of flying.

This was all supposed to happen in 2019, however they didn’t get it done. They still haven’t told us what the new messaging in, but it’s expected around March 1 when they roll out new uniforms.

The airline’s holiday video, sent to customers, contains a tag line I don’t remember seeing before. It says American is caring for what matters most.

I’m hopeful that this isn’t the new brand purpose we’re waiting for. A brand purpose could help to clarify who the carrier is.

  • What investments the airline should be making
  • Help employees focus on goals that align with those of the business
  • Serve as a tool to beat back bad decisions that are inconsistent with the vision

Or it could not do these things at all. Despite a couple of inquiries American Airlines hasn’t offered comment on the status of their new brand purpose statement.

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. What matters most is the customer. Without them, there is no airline. American has largely forgotten this.

  2. From the Youtube comments section, “I was just tearing up when her luggage actually made it to her destination on the same flight as her. Touching…unrealistic…but touching.” That’s about as much as I got from the video.

  3. How long is American required to wait before it can simply cover and copy the legendary ads from Braniff International, National, and Northeast..?

    No marketing concept can overcome AA’s dilution of the customer experience! Accumulating miles is irrelevant if the actual flying experience sucks.

    In the marketing world AA’s approach reminds me of Amtrak in its beginning years when it’s marketing program claimed, “We’re Making the Train Worth Traveling Again.” That false promise cost Amtrak significant credibility with travelers who found continuing mechanical issues.

  4. How about seat back IFE and 31′ pitch standard in economy in all planes. That would solve a lot of problems.

  5. In reference to marketing, AA’s failed Oasis concept is as bad as when New Coke was introduced in 1980s to replace regular Coke.

    However, the difference is that Coke’s executive management were willing to park their ego, listen to their customer, and almost immediately reject the New Coke concept.

    Unlike Coke Cola, AA is willfully deaf to any such customer input. Under Parker et al, AA is like the “Odyssey of Flight 33” from Twilight Zone.

  6. Yes their happy caring culture is what will bring me back
    All reflected in the video
    All that was missing was the dancing in the video with chants and cheering
    @American we are going for great

  7. Their mission statement is to screw over as many customers and business partners as possible while delivering the worst flying experience in the world.

    They are currently defrauding Citi and Barclays banks by closing down frequent flyer accounts that receive too many credit card sign up bonuses. They want to profit from selling their miles to the banks, then they simply shutdown people’s accounts to get the miles off their books as liabilities.

  8. I just flew Delta last Thursday night (PHX-MSP-BWI) and again Monday night (BWI-ATL-PHX).
    I happened to have the same flight crew for both legs of the Thursday flight and they were excellent. It was also great to be able to watch the (lopsided) Ravens-Jets football game live.

    The Monday night crew was also solid. The crew from ATL-PHX gave everyone in first class a holiday card from the flight crew. The Monday night game was on/off due to the live stream. Possibly due to some storm that had us fly a “V” from ATL to PHX down into the Gulf of Mexico due to some large storm.

    Only AA and Southwest have non-stops from BWI/PHX and that is why I have a lot of AA miles and had avoided Delta for a long time. Since last year I’ve been flying Delta (after having a number of delays on AA) and even with a connection (usually in MSP/DTW), it has been very nice.

    I’m not into mission statement stuff but employees should at least know what you are striving for. Premium class, economy, etc. Although I think some crews use that (lack of a vision) as an excuse for poor service amid their whining.

  9. Agreed with the other comments that Oasis is a deal breaker for me. Several consecutive years as an EXP and many more as Platinum prior to that.

    AA Int’l business and PE is great, but as I also fly a lot of domestic flights what they are doing with Oasis is unacceptable. Case in point, we recently had a family trip and my son’s gaming console broke down. It was having IFE that kept him from melting down. If it were an Oasis plane, it would have been miserable for us and everyone around us.

    I don’t expect they will reverse course without a change in management as they seem to be doubling down, but I’m out if my option is an Oasis plane. I can get the same experience with Southwest but more legroom or move to Delta with IFE and more PE seats on int’l flights at better fares than AA.

    Really puzzling that the board hasn’t figured out a change is needed based on their stock price and future outlook….

  10. Switched to Delta 3 months ago easily made top tier and what difference it makes to have planes on time, friendly and HONEST crews and captains. Gate agents that are invested in making everything run smoothly. Then I went back and flew AA again because I needed a direct flight to attend a funeral…no discount for last minute bereavement fare (did get one on Delta on the return). One cancelled and 1 delayed flight on AA (mechanical for both) and finally crews that cared about their customers (Delta) versus those that cared about themselves (AA).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *