American Airlines focuses on exact on time departures over nearly all other priorities. United Airlines will sometimes hold a plane for connecting passengers when it’s not going to cause further delays or inconvenience others on board. American will rarely do this.
The problem is that while American has a strong focus on D0, that comes in the form of managers yelling at gate agents for not getting out planes and flight attendants getting yelled at for requesting missing catering items. They might send out planes with broken seats, and just not fill those seats, rather than fixing them during the day. It’s the exact opposite approach from investing to insure that all the processes right to depart on time with properly catered aircraft, maintained seats, and customers who are taken care of.
With planes full again, there’s so much pressure to get out right at “D0” that one gate agent shared a story on social media of leaving people behind at the gate. There were seats available because some customers didn’t show, and the agent wasn’t able to put employees waiting to travel on the flight in their place – because it would have meant an extra couple of minutes, which the airline won’t abide.
Today I left 3 nonrevs behind because there was way too much going on all throughout the [flight] with seats & bags & there was just too much. One fo those flights where you fell like you’re thrown into a tornado. The [flights] are so full.
I would do EVERYTHING to get a nonrev ON. I’m a nonrev! I get it. I would never leave a nonrev. But I did.
I ran out of time & people didn’t board but it was too late then. That D10 is no joke. I was at D8. I happened to have the same city next & they made it thank god & in in first class & so nice!! But I still felt so bad.
Please don’t give me grief because I cried the way home from the whole day.. and this. Sometimes we might not seem like we don’t care [sic]..but that’s the professional face. We care. MOST of us DO care… This summer is brutal. Please don’t be mean to me. I’m really quite good but it’s a tricky summer out there for revenue & nonrevenue. I believe this is an apology & an explanation.
This is a window into what gate agents are feeling, the pressure they’re under from the airline without the resources to get their job done and the crush of passengers returning to travel.
This was a full flight, so wasn’t even one of the cases where American Airlines is trying to get away with having just one agent at the gate to save money. On those flights things may be worse.