American Airlines Reveals Their Conjoined Triangles of Success

American Airlines doesn’t have a mission statement but they have four strategic objectives. And each objective has a visual symbol.

These were rolled out to the airline’s managers at their annual leadership conference last month. They’re sharing it broadly now with employees.

As best I can tell here is what each of the four pillars are all about:

It’s easy to look askance at corporate mission language, but I actually think that American’s leadership has a pretty clear idea of where they’re going and what’s important to them. They’re really transparent about it. You can agree or disagree with the strategy, or like or dislike it as a customer. But they aren’t mealy mouthed about it at all. And I have to respect that.

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. This is all a bunch of Doug Parker nonsense. American Airlines is a joke, and frankly it’s laughable that employees are questioning his decisions as CEO. Let’s not forget that it was the LAA employees who saw Parker as their savior and voted for the merger.

  2. Hahaha did Doug Parker actually read this? They way he answers employee’ questions tells you he only cares about making himself rich.

  3. A “world class customer experience” perhaps, for a small sliver of the traveling public. The rest get “former third world class” customer experience. I say former, because many third world carriers outperform American in customer experience now. I just flew Ethiopian several times last week. Much prefer it to American in economy class.

  4. I interpret these platitudes slightly differently:

    “Think Forward Lead Forward.” Make the economy customers “lean forward” by eliminating reclining seats and reducing seat pitch as much as possible. Make first class customers “lean forward” to avoid toddlers in economy from kicking their seatbacks, since we no longer divide first from economy.

    “Make culture a competitive advantage;” Make it an advantage that Spirit and Frontier have over us, since we have no desire to improve our own. We don’t have to. We’re part of an oligopoly… Number Three and proud if it.

    “Create a world class customer experience:” We want to be right up there with Bulgaria Air, RyanAir, and Air Koryo.

    “Ensure long term financial strength.” Pour every dollar we squeeze from customer comfort into lobbying. This will enable us to keep out all competition, foreign and domestic.

  5. Money Magazine’s rating of US airlines had American and United (in that order) behind Spirit and Frontier.

  6. There’s such a difference in likability between Doug Parker and Oscar Munoz (as I perceive them), but I refuse to fly any of the US3 because their employees are terrible.

    Add in perceived nickel and diming in Product/Service cuts by Doug Parker and his team, and there’s no pleasure in flying AA anytime soon.

    Would it be safe to say that United has the better hardware though? I’ve abandoned my EXP and not flown AA since last year.

    Even if I’m forced to go to a dentist, I’ll always choose one that is friendly and the least-painful for my paid experiences. I am surprised that Doug Parker and his ignorant executives fail to see this with their customers time after time.

  7. What a steaming pile of bs on the part of American. I loathe these euphemisms. Why doesn’t AA simply say what they actually mean? Explain that they couldn’t care less about the passenger (with a few high dollar exceptions), only care as much as minimally needed about their employees, and that raking in as much money as humanly possible is the only thing that matters. *That* would avoid being mealy mouthed about their goals and perspectives. No interpretation required.

  8. Same vapid PowerPoint slides that you’ll find in any corporate board room. No reason to be surprised. Hold them accountable by walking with your money.

  9. That picture of a broken seat, inside that ancient and hideous first-class cabin, says it all.

    Most of American’s airplanes are uglier than Doug Parker’s ass.

  10. It’s just cliche corporate speak. They didn’t use “verticles” or “burning platform” because they are an airline.

  11. Bullocks… Manage our assets like owners.

    I remember onetime having the most insane itinerary ever (NOT AA’s fault) an AA ticket agent mistakenly (out of the blue) offered to try to make it less crazy… 20 minutes on the phone talking to supervisors, nothing could be done. I even asked “could I just end my journey at DFW?” nope. They would cancel my return flights.
    An owner would say “oh wait, I can keep all of your money and potentially resell one or more of your seats and all I have to do is retype a three letter airport code AND surprise you by making your day? Let’s do it!”

    But no. They don’t allow their employees to act like they own anything.

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