American Wants You To Know That Their Cross Country Flight Was Revolutionary 61 Years Ago

Last month I poked around American’s new Airbus A321 that’s begun flying between New York and Los Angeles and that is scheduled to serve the New York – San Francisco market soon.

I flew the inaugural Los Angeles – New York flight last week and loved it.

It’s a gorgeous aircraft with great seats and a great entertainment system. It is light years ahead of the old product American offered on their 767s. Business class is at least as good as what Delta and United are offering, and they offer the best product in the market with a first class cabin offering 2 seats across (one in each window).

During the inaugural flight, American’s Vice President of Marketing kept repeating the mantra that American “invented transcon service” and that it was great they were “re-inventing it.”

That’s the pitch for their new 30 second ad — that spends 20 seconds on what American’s first coast-to-coast service used to be in 1953, and only 10 seconds on what it is now. And too many of those 10 seconds linger on a smiling flight attendant (I’m also trying to figure out what food she’s passing to her passenger, where he accepts it mid-air).

While it’s important to get the message across that American has great crews (some of them actually are that fly this route!), if this new plane with just 102 seats — nearly a third of which are lie flat — is going to work people need to see the product.

If they’re going to take time in a visual medium to highlight the seats.. show the seats. Show a before and after. Show business class. Show first class. Show the touch screen entertainment. Show flat beds and thick blankets and pillows. Show the espresso machine up in first class. “The more you tell, the more you sell.”

I suppose showing vintage film could appeal to the Hollywood crowd that’s crucial to the economics of this flight. Maybe (quite probably!) American’s marketing geniuses know more about appealing to their target market than I do.

But it just seems like such a wasted opportunity for such a good product — whose future likely depends on proving itself, quickly, to new management.

(HT: L.A. Airspace)

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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