Bits ‘n Pieces for March 27, 2013

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Doug Parker says he’s open to re-thinking American’s new livery and branding. (HT: Milepoint)

  • Folks burning their HHonors points before the massive devaluation a few hours from now! Hilton resorts in the Maldives have a new sea plane terminal lounge in the Maldives. (HT: Teja P in the VFTW comments)

  • British Airways is closing its Jacksonville, Florida call center by the end of the year.

    Anyone that’s ever called there knows wherever their calls are routed going forward, service can only get better. I’ve never understood how people who live in Florida could be so unhappy. With 280 jobs affected, I now understand how I could hang up, call back, and get the same person so frequently.

    I don’t revel in anyone losing their jobs, but consolidating seems like a good opportunity for a world airline like BA to offer 24 hour call centers…(HT: Steve L.)

  • American got approval from the bankruptcy court today to move forward with the US Airways merger. It didn’t, however, get approval for American CEO Tom Horton’s $20 million payout. Presumably the airline will find a way to make that good to him once the merger closes.

    As I’ve written, I believe he’s earned it — for success in driving through cost reductions at the airline, taking all of the heat from unions so that new management could come in and make a fresh start, and navigating an amazing deal for American’s stakeholders (he drove up the price of the airline, made creditors whole, with funds leftover for equity holders). I have to believe that US Airways is overpaying for American, and this represents a very small commission to Horton for making that happen.

  • The Identity Project provides an update on the TSA’s formal nude-o-scope rule making. The TSA was ordered by federal courts to submit its nude-o-scope procedures to formal review and comment rulemaking, and after two years they’ve finally done so (critics are unimpressed). The rule making docket is here and you can submit your own comments until June 24.

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. The Hilton sea plane lounge was very nice. It had a beautiful view with a nice breakfast. What was even nicer was there customer care on the return flight. As soon as we got back to the Male airport there was a greeter there to let us know our flight was canceled and we had been rebooked for the next flight. They said not to worry because we will not miss our connection. They made arrangements for a tour of Male given that we now had a longer than expected layover. Excellent service

  2. The Parker paint scheme is interesting. I thought this part, “Maybe we would have thought about doing something combined, but probably not.”, was moreso. Based on the livery, it almost looked like they were working together, as it almost appears to be a mix of the two emblems. Wonder why AA would change their scheme, without Parker’s input, if they knew the merger was moving forward.

  3. @Chris B. – Maybe they went ahead with the livery BECAUSE they knew the merger would go forward. AA management was against the merger, so maybe they did this just to give Dougie a poke in the eye.

  4. I hate to see anyone lose their job, but the BA call center was just dreadful. The last time I called to book award, it went fairly well. Until the end. I asked the rep if she could break down the taxes/fees. Her reply was “NO, is there anything else I can help you with?” When I replied that she hadn’t helped me, she said”thank you for using BA,” CLICK…….

  5. Ludmila. Tell that to all of the professional athletes that make 20-30 million a year and only work 6 months a year.

  6. Nobody, I dont care what they do, deserves 20 million. If he did a good job he does deserve something but that is just obscene.

  7. He negotiated incremental BILLIONS. He got AA in good enough shape that those billions didn’t just make creditors completely whole but got money for equity holders. And we negotiated himself out of a job. Since he ALREADY did all that, without commitment of the money, I might well stick it to him if I were in charge 😛 but there’s little question that he earned the payout consider the value he delivered for debt and equity holders in the airline.

  8. @DBest his ‘skill set’ aside his performance is outsized relative to peers in similar circumstance, his payday isn’t especially,,, relative to similarly-situated peer performance and compensation he probably should have gotten MORE 😛

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