American Airlines CEO on DFW: ‘We’re Not Going to Let Customers Have Another Option’

At this week’s employee Crew News forum, an American Airlines captain asked the carrier’s CEO Doug Parker what he thinks about United’s growth strategy which is at double the rate of American’s.

Parker first notes that his airline’s 2% capacity growth is half the 4% – 5% growth target that United has set, “It’s not enormous growth, but it’s growth in excess of GDP where we have the airline.”

And then explains United’s rationale, “they’ve inherited an airline where their hubs aren’t fully utilized. They have markets for example in Chicago that American flies and United doesn’t fly.”

American Airlines Chicago O’Hare

Parker channeled his inner Kirby explaining that United had shrunk their airline’s domestic capacity and needs to catch up.

They have that opportunity and I think they’re filling out that opportunity, so they were just in a different place than we were. It’s not about they see a different level of demand or anything like that. They had let themselves get to a point where they weren’t fully utilizing the ability of their hubs and they’re catching up.

Comparing United’s position in Chicago to American’s at DFW, he offered this perspective his airline’s strategy:

We would never allow that in Dallas Fort-Worth. Somebody starts flying a flight from Dallas to anywhere and American either is already there or we’re gonna be there.

Because we’re not going to let customers have another option other than American in and out of here.

That’s the best explanation of American’s Reykjavik service I’ve seen. And it’s hardly the first anti-competitive statement he’s made.

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. I already have other options than United or American though I have to connect
    I’ll do anything to avoid them until the day AA has decent customer relations when things go wrong and makes a reasonable amount of saver award redemption seats available Till then my revenue goes elsewhere

  2. “Because we’re not going to let customers have another option other than American in and out of here.”
    Southwest is legitimate option in Dallas-Ft Worth area. Is Parker going to push Southwest out of DAL? Good luck.

  3. I get a big kick out of FT threads where a pax misses a connection but had the option to fly non-stop without a significant price premium. They chose to connect either because of a preference for that airline or to avoid flying the non-stop airline(s). Always a good laugh when they end up arriving 12-24hrs or more late

  4. How is that statement non competitive? He’s in fact declaring his desire to compete with airlines that try to fly out of that airport on price and route network. Now say if he was secretly pushing seat size minimum regulations that undercut the ultra low cost carriers that have forced American to lower their prices and there by removing their competition… That would be anti competitive.

  5. A 2% growth target is really shrinkage in comparative terms, and they have been achieving that through densification rather than true network growth.

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