Doug Parker Retires As American Airlines CEO Today. Here’s His Legacy.

Doug Parker steps down today as CEO of American Airlines. He’ll become non-executive Chairman, but consistently describes this as “retiring.” Airline President Robert Isom becomes CEO in his place.

Parker has been a staple at the top of U.S. aviation for more than two decades, and more than anyone is responsible for changing the entire industry by kicking off consolidation. He’s been a genial leader willing to dress up for Halloween and sing to employees. He’s been personally successful – as successful as anyone can possibly be in the airline industry – while leaving customers, shareholders, and employees all worse off.

The Doug Parker Quest To Run The World’s Largest Airline

Doug Parker accomplished what long appeared to be his career objective. He denies he ever set out to run ever-larger airlines but the steps he took clearly demonstrate otherwise. He accomplished that and it is a huge achievement.

American Airlines was actually the sixth try for Doug Parker to take over another carrier, and the second successful one. He was CEO of America West and merged with US Airways while the latter was still in (its second) bankruptcy.

Parker sought to merge with bankrupt American Trans Air in 2004 during ATA’s first bankruptcy. (ATA ultimately raised cash selling Chicago Midway gates and nonvoting shares to Southwest instead.)

Then in 2006 with Delta in bankruptcy US Airways sought to take over that larger carrier. Even if that deal had gained traction it was unlikely ever to have passed regulatory scrutiny since the combined carrier would have controlled the only two meaningful hubs in the Southeast (Atlanta and Charlotte). Delta’s campaign to fight the hostile takeover attempt was called “Keep Delta My Delta.”

Parker tried to merge with United, but in 2008 United CEO Glenn Tilton merely offered Parker “a senior operating role and to put him on the potential chief executive candidates list if he meets certain performance goals.” Tilton effectively stuck a knife in any potential deal with Parker that way – because Parker wouldn’t be running the combined airline – though United preferred to merge with Continental in any case.

US Airways management thought they could take over United with the same playbook that had worked when America West took over US Airways, getting suppliers to kick in cash but crucially generating funding for the deal via a co-brand credit card contract. Then-President Scott Kirby huddled with the head of Barclays in the US, where he discovered just how big the Chase-United tie-up was. That ended the co-brand deal funding angle.

The United-Continental merger only happened two years later when a potential US Airways tie-up again became a stalking horse. (Continental CEO Larry Kellner hadn’t wanted to do a deal with United. Pushed out, that left Jeff Smisek to become CEO of the combined carrier.) In the second attempt at a US Airways-United deal Parker was reportedly willing to become CEO but delay ascending to Chairman.

US Airways pursued American Airlines through its bankruptcy. Far from resisting a deal, American CEO Tom Horton claimed that he approached Parker at Conquistadores del Cielo about doing a deal.

Horton, though, wanted to consider any merger from a position of strength after exiting bankruptcy. Parker got the unions on his side with big promises, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation on his side by offering a proposal in bankruptcy that didn’t include terminating pensions. The creditors’ committee sided with Parker – and Parker finally was able to become CEO of the world’s largest airline, the culmination of a decade of strategic focus on merging.

Parker’s Legacy Propped Up By Taxpayers

Doug Parker became CEO of American West Airlines days before 9/11. He went to Congress for subsidies to keep the airline afloat. When the Air Transportation Stabilization Board rejected his application for funding, he went back and asked again. His persistence paid off, picking the taxpayer pocket and keeping the carrier alive.

When he maneuvered to successfully take over US Airways out of its second bankruptcy, that airline had been the beneficiary of taxpayer largesse as well – ATSB funding, burning through cash from the State of Alabama’s pension fund, and offloading its own pension obligations on the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

And in part by getting the PBGC on his side in the American Airlines bankruptcy, he was able to secure the support of the creditors committee to do a deal taking over American.

Of course the coup de grâce was the CARES Act. Parker led the industry in seeking bailouts during the pandemic, funding that ultimately totaled more than $79 billion. He camped out in DC to make a bailout his sole focus and it paid off handsomely, with around $10 billion in direct cash to American plus subsidized loans backed by the AAdvantage program. That doesn’t count of course the bailout funds for airports and suppliers than benefited American, nor the suspension of certain taxes.

When Senator John McCain (R-America West) died, what did Parker express gratitude to him for? Government subsidies.

doug parker congressional testimony 2001
Testifying For Government Subsidies In 2001

Driven To Reduce Competition In The Industry

In 2010 Doug Parker emailed his executives complaining about Delta’s fare discounting and then forwarded the e-mail chain to then-Delta CEO Richard Anderson. He was trying to get Anderson to raise prices. Anderson forwarded the email to the airline’s general counsel – knowing that the discussion was illegal.

In 2018 American Airlines paid $45 million to settle a price-fixing lawsuit.

Parker more than anyone else set of consolidation in the airline industry, merging America West with US Airways; serving as a stalking horse for Delta which merged with Northwest; serving as a stalking horse for United which merged with Continental; and then ultimately taking over American Airlines. That means fewer competitors, fewer options for customers, but potentially stronger airline businesses.

Destruction of The Customer Experience

Doug Parker was a disciple of Bill Franke who made him CFO and then CEO of America West. Franke is responsible for turning Spirit Airlines into an ultra low cost carrier, bought Frontier Airlines, and turned it into a Spirit clone. Franke is responsible for giving the world low cost airlines Volaris, Tiger Airways, JetSmart (which is partnering with Parker’s American), and Wizz Air.

The team around Parker that ran America West and then US Airways did so on a shoe string. They gave US Airways the ticker symbol LCC. And at US Airways they removed seat power from planes that had it and tried charging customers for water.

When America West and US Airways merged, they went with the cheaper America West reservation system, and the airline shut down with problems. Customers couldn’t check in. The website and kiosks didn’t work. And they couldn’t even sell tickets.

There’s an argument that this approach, which earned Parker the nickname ‘Discount Doug’ among some customers and perhaps taken too far, may have saved US Airways as it navigated turbulent times including through the Great Recession. However it was the wrong model for a global, high cost airline like American which was used to serving frequent business travelers and which needed to earn a revenue premium to survive.

The new standard American Airlines domestic product features less space per passenger than Southwest, less padded seats than ever before, and no seat back entertainment – the opposite direction from where Delta and United are going.

But what’s striking is that,

  • The 30 inches of pitch (distance from seat back to seat back) American Airlines now offers on domestic aircraft was originally going to be 29 inches but even employees pushed back in horror when this became public.

  • Parker as CEO of the airline never even tried the product himself during the first six months that it was flying and as they converted their domestic fleet to this new, less comfortable standard. Sit for a moment with the idea that the CEO of the company did not even try the product he was selling to customers and had greenlit to replace his airline’s previous product.

  • Under his leadership the airline didn’t even build a mockup of the new cabin they were installing across their entire fleet. Instead, they just “tap[ed] it out” as Chief Operating Officer David Seymour puts it.

After US Airways took over at American they cut inflight food costs for first class, which they had to partially walk back in the summer of 2015. At the time Parker expressed surprise that customers cared about the food served in premium cabins. He also admitted that they thought they could get away with not adding seat power to the old US Airways fleet but learned that fleet inconsistency confused customers. It would have been fine, in other words, if American didn’t have seat power. But since they did they had to go in and add it to US Airways planes.

Poisonous Employee Relations

Doug Parker is personable and gets on well with employees in person. He drops into stations and chats up employees. When he flies, he visits the galley. Despite a nine figure net worth, he’s someone employees could easy sit back and have a beer with.

He never managed to actually merge the America West and US Airways work groups – or even airlines – until taking over American, still running “US East” and “US West.” Employees didn’t all get e-mail addresses, and legacy America West pilots had to pay a fee to access their scheduling system.

American Airlines employees had 9 years of built-up anger with CEO Gerard Arpey and Tom Horton was Arpey’s pick as replacement. So employees signed on with Parker in support of a merger during bankruptcy, somehow expecting to benefit from his leadership rather than the old guard at the airline.

That quickly didn’t work out well. Mechanics even effectively shut down the airline in summer 2019, extracting near total surrender from management. Pilots are without a new contract, and so are flight attendants. The pilots union actually warns pilots against coming to work for the airline.

During the pandemic American Airlines furloughed more workers than any other airline. And – despite government subsidies intended to keep everyone employed – the airline told non-union employees who had been terminated that they couldn’t come back to the carrier if they’d taken jobs elsewhere in the interim.

Destruction Of Shareholder Value

Even before the pandemic American Airlines wasn’t a profitable airline. Doug Parker promised in September 2017 that the airline would “never lose money again” but the truth is that flying airplanes wasn’t generating much profit for American even when he said it – passenger revenue per seat mile was lower than cost per seat mile, as disclosed in the airline’s quarterly financials on a regular basis. It was only adding in billions of dollars selling AAdvantage frequent flyer miles to banks that the airline was able to show meaningful profit.

American was a financial laggard, whose results improved from prior years as fuel prices fell and as cobrand credit card deals became more lucrative in the aftermath of American Express losing its Costco deal, both of which corresponded with Parker’s takeover of American. Those made him look good.

And yet other airlines performed consistently better. In 2017 he bet an analyst that American’s stock would hit $60 by November 2018. He lost that bet and instead of the promised bottle of wine (a bad look for a CEO with 3 past DUIs) the airline said he was buying dinner.

american airlines stock under doug parker
My Notes Added To Image From Google Finance, March 15, 2022

Now the airline is loaded with more debt than any other airline and badly needs to earn a revenue premium more than any other airline, which means that the experience-cutting strategy to follow Spirit and Frontier is least-well suited to the airline’s current situation.

Doug Parker’s Conversations Around Race

The NAACP issued a very unfair ‘travel warning’ against American Airlines after an incident where Louis Farrakhan supporter Tamika Mallory, heading to Al Sharpton’s daughter’s wedding, was kicked off of a flight after abusing staff.

Parker embraced the challenge, though, and even went viral for a heartfelt conversation around race that he had with a Southwest Airlines flight attendant shortly after George Floyd’s murder.

Before the pandemic his self-described narrative for his career had been about steering employees to safety, so that they’d have jobs forever. After George Floyd, he began wearing a Black Lives Matter bracelet.

And yet his replacement as CEO isn’t a person of color, and he’s becoming the airline’s non-executive Chairman rather than appointing a person of color from the Board as its Chairman. Few African Americans have served in airline roles as part of leadership under Parker’s tenure.

How Doug Parker Sees His Own Legacy

Yesterday Doug Parker sent a letter to employees (.pdf) and in it he explains what he’s most proud of and where he believes he leaves the airline.

We’ve accomplished amazing things together over the 20 years I’ve been privileged to be CEO, including: industry-shaping mergers; avoidance of the failures and broken commitments that beset almost every other airline over that period; and an impeccable safety record.

Of all we have achieved together, the most rewarding to me has been our work since the pandemic. We fought collaboratively with our union leaders on behalf of those we collectively represent, and, as a result, we were able to keep our airlines flying and our team members employed. The people of American responded by growing back faster and further than any other airline, producing the best operating performance in our history, and our highest customer satisfaction scores ever. It was as if everything we had done as a team over decades came together to prepare us for this crisis, and you all rose to the challenge

Fighting alongside union leaders, of course, refers to convincing the federal government to hand over around $10 billion in taxpayer money directly, in addition to subsidized loans and other favors.

Here’s a tribute to Parker’s career that American Airlines produced when he was given the Wings Club Lifetime Achievement Award last year. The video is worth watching just for its introductory segment with American’s Steve Johnson saying that when Doug Parker traveled to New York after US Airways 1549 crashed into the Hudson he left his briefcase in the parking garage – and they had to evacuate US Airways headquarters in Tempe thinking it was a bomb.

And here is Parker’s acceptance speech for that award. Self-deprecating Doug at the outset is the best Doug.

Here’s a musical tribute to Doug Parker sung by Southwest Airlines Chairman and former CEO Gary Kelly, also produced for the Wings Club but shared publicly when Parker announced his retirement earlier in the year.

Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

How did Parker stay at the helm of American Airlines after losing the confidence of investors, employees, and customers? How did he remain CEO after losing his airline’s partnership with LATAM to Delta? After underperforming the industry? In his own telling the American Airlines board he put together lacked airline experience. It did, though, include long-term friends of Parker.

Many customers will be tempted to cheer Parker’s departure, but that’s the wrong reaction. Robert Isom began his leadership era telling employees not to spend a dollar more than they need to.

The ex-America West and ex-Northwest executive who served as Chief Operating Officer at US Airways and American until the board bounced Scott Kirby (now CEO of United) to make room for him as President says he’s been a part of all the key decisions over the years. Parker emphasizes that there’s little daylight between him and Parker. But while Parker plays good cop with employees, enjoys dialog with them, Isom lacks the ‘warm fuzzies’ that Parker brings.

Four years ago Robert Isom laid out his vision to… follow Spirit and Frontier.

[T]oday there is a real drive within the industry and with the traveling public to want to have really at the end of the day low cost seats. And we’ve got to be cognizant of what’s out there in the marketplace and what people want to pay.

The fastest growing airlines in the United States Spirit and Frontier. Most profitable airlines in the United States Spirit. We have to be cognizant of the marketplace and that real estate that’s how we make our money.

We don’t want to make decisions that ultimately put us at a disadvantage, we’d never do that.

To be fair, much of what Kirby has done at United has surprised me given his past – it isn’t impossible that Isom will surprise as well – however at this point I haven’t found a reason to expect that the transition from Doug Parker to Robert Isom will have upside for key stakeholders of the airline.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. He’s the perfect example of the dark side of American capitalism. Ineffective leadership who personally profits at the expense of all others,,,,whether it be customers, shareholders, taxpayers, etc. Corporate boards that are weak and unknowledgeable about the industry that they represent perpetuate the legacy of poor control over management’s incompetence.

    I’ll throw in Randall Stephenson, former CEO of ATT, who destroyed so much shareholder value but retired a multi millionaire due to the horrible stewardship of the ATT Board of Directors.

  2. I got into a polite “discussion” with an American Airlines flight attendant at a layover hotel. She claimed that Delta employees were “stuck up”, “work harder for less money” than AA employees. My counter to that was, “Didn’t Dougie get a DUI the night that the Delta hostile takeover was thwarted?” (the answer is YES). “Didn’t Dougie stand “in front” of all AA employees and claim that you have nothing to do with the profitability of AA and that if you follow what we tell you, we’ll make money? So, how’s that working out for you? By the way, how much profit sharing will you get this year? (the answer was $0). The problem is not Delta’s employees…it’s American’s management.

  3. Gary, thank you for taking the time to write one of your longer articles on the end of Parker’s reign. You hit the key issues.

    The key takeaway is that Parker never really learned to win in the marketplace by being the best but tried to limit competition including through mergers and by living off government money whenever he could.

    I’m not sure why Parker or anyone else sees him as having ushered in industry-transforming consolidation. He managed to reverse merge with two larger airlines – which is rare in any industry – but America West/USAirways still significantly lagged other airlines like Northwest and Continental. And when megamergers began, Delta and Northwest led it followed by United/Continental with AA/US left as the only dance partners and they have never achieved the global size or scale or DL or UA and certainly not the profitability on the international network of DL.

    For all the competitiveness between American and Delta, the two briefly had the same market cap following the AA/US merger and end of AA bankruptcy but Delta’s market cap has been 2-3X American’s for years with AA having the lowest market cap of the big 4. For someone that gave up a salary in order to rely solely on stock value, Parker didn’t come close to achieving financial success even when his own finances depended on it.

    Some organizations just have DNA which keeps them from success and it is very likely that Parker and his ilk have influenced AA long enough that they will add financial and customer service mindsets to the confrontational labor environment that has been AA for years – and serve as further barriers to AA’s success.

  4. @Ken – it’s not capitalism, it’s corporatism, using government favors and taxpayer cash and it didn’t even work out well for AAL shareholders.

  5. Great write up. As an import into the US in 2008, landing at DFW, I missed much of this history, but certainly feel the effect now. As much as I try to avoid AA, living 20mins from DFW, over which AA has a stranglehold to the point where Clear can’t operate in the 3 AA terminals, means AA is a domestic necessary evil.

    I don’t know how they turn around the culture, or even if they want to. On a flight a few weeks ago we got the usual mask warning from the FA, then a double warning from the captain, talking to us like we were prisoners, and explaining, in detail, the consequences of non-conformance. This was entirely unnecessary, there were no issues on the plane, but psychologically, if someone was on the edge, the incendiary language used would have been a big enough spark to light the fire.

    I want AA to get better, if only for my own selfish interests, but the hard product is getting worse, and the soft product, in my experience, has always been rough, with RyanAir vibes, but without the cheap tickets.

  6. Good ****ing riddance DUI Dougie!

    You absolutely TRASHED an already souring airline in ways Frank Lorenzo never dreamed of!

  7. Wow. . .you people need to get a life. None of you have likely achieved 10% of what Mr. Parker has done in his life so you hide behind your keyboards and throw rocks.

    No one is perfect in this world or in business, but Doug set out to build the world’s largest airlines and he did it. You best not compare product with DL or UA too much. Many more people fly AA then UA or DL so do seat back screens make not the man or the airlines. Also both UA and DL have 30 inch pitch in coach too.

    AA has many first, they didn’t follow the “leader” with seatback screens but they installed high speed WIFI on all planes two years before DL or UA started. They have had Premium Economy on all widebodies for over two years now, DL and UA are barely 50% there and who fly’s more passengers, even more then SWA. HMMM, doesn’t look like a failure to me.

    No business will be perfect in everyone’s eyes, there will always be critics, but Mr Parker did what he set out to do, he is well liked by many people in and outside of the industry, he stands head and shoulders above you losers.

    I don’t know you personally Doug, but congrats on a remarkable career, enjoy retirement, I am sure you will keep busy in the community and with your family and friends.

  8. So an accomplishment is creating the worlds biggest airline and ruining passenger experience and customer retention/loyalty?Success by size and creating a monopoly?The biggest train wreck wins?
    Angering employees,destroying morale damaging their golden goose the. FF program thier most profitable cash cow?
    And we should get a life? Yah sure
    Everyone I know is crying crocodile tears lol and yet hoping the airline can recover its past glory days compared to the dark period of Parker with his sad lack of proper leadership and inferior CRM
    Farewell Mr Parker thank god for advancing age 🙂
    The exit applause can’t come soon or loud enough and I am actually filled with Hope as
    I see the potential and early signs for improvement and recovery going forward

  9. timj and sunviking,
    you would do well to read airline financial documents instead of AA’s corporate talking points. If you did, you would find that American is not the largest airline by revenue, wasn’t pre-covid and wasn’t in 2021.
    Delta achieved that goal even though it flies less seat miles – because customers pay more for Delta services than they do for any other US airline, because Delta has figured out how to manage its asset base more cost effectively, and because Delta has figured out how to generate higher percentages of its total revenue from non-transportation sources that generate higher margins.

    Despite repeatedly talking about how young its fleet is, AA has never achieved an operating cost or revenue generation benefit compared to airlines that have “older” fleets, AA’s loyalty program contributes less to its bottom line than other carriers, AA pays more per gallon for jet fuel than DL and WN – both for different reasons, and AA walked away from manufacturer engine maintenance contracts only to allow Delta to pick them up from 2 of the 3 global engine manufacturers – all at much higher margins,

    The reality is that not one of the airlines that Doug Parker has run ever consistently achieved 1st or 2nd place. It IS the CEO’s job to maximize value for shareholders and Parker has repeatedly settled for financial mediocrity even as he touts metrics that do not mean anything.

    Whether Isom can fix labor relations or customer service at AA remains to be seen – and there are reasons to have doubt – but it isn’t a high hurdle for AA to get itself out of the financial basement that AA has lived in for a decade, not far from where US and HP also lived.

    Doug Parker has provided a “great model” for how to find others to pay for his failures to achieve business leadership something very few AA employees, shareholders or customers value as an achievement of which they can be proud.

  10. as a teeny tiny shareholder, may I say, I hope the door doesn’t hit him. HE really should have departed tomorrow. I know I for one lost $$$. But I still am holding tight and hoping for the best eventually. That AA goes back to being something special in the air….I know, I’m dreaming….but I also wish Bob C would come back at least for a while….

  11. Hopefully Tempe will erect a statue in Discount Dougie’s honor. Pigeons, being pigeons, need a place to defecate…

  12. Gary you stated “Parker is leaving customers, shareholders and employees all worse off”. Please add the retirees on all future lists.

  13. Credit can be given where it is due. Doug was responsible for saving AWA from certain liquidation after 9/11. Thousands have jobs today at AA thanks to his efforts.

    Sadly though, employee morale has been allowed to all but evaporate over the years. Both Robert and Doug were responsible for implementing the D-10 policy. They claim this is critically important to running a good operation. Those of us who work on the front line know this is complete B.S. We have gate agents threatened by their managers. Pilots beng told to stay out of it because they lack the “big picture”, threatened by gate managers.

    Management claims passengers notice if they push off the gate a few minutes late. Having been employed in this industry over 30 years, I can tell you this is nonsense. The BIG concern people have is getting to where they’re going ontime. This D-10 metric is tied to management bonuses and that’s why the pressure is being piled on front line employees. This has pitted employee groups against each other resulting in poor morale.

    Let’s not forget a CEO who has been arrested for DUI. Certainly someone who lacks good judgement. He also was quoted saying “employees don’t affect the bottom line” along with telling employees and stock holders that the Company will “never lose money again”. A bit short sighted I would think most will agreee. Black swan events will always occur.

    Sadly, Mr. Isom will most likely continue this legacy and very little will change for the better. He has had a hand in this downward spiral over the years. No reason to expect different as he was cut out of the same mold as Parker.

  14. DUI Parker needed To GO a long time ago…….ruined USAirways and destroyed the American Airlines entity post Merger. The Merger wasn’t the problem…..it was piss poor Leadership that became a Clown Show.

  15. So Parker stands head and shoulders above the rest of us? Gosh, you probably think the same about Joe Biden (or Donald Trump for that matter). Fortunately out strength has never been leadership dependent but in the people you call losers.

  16. Parker’s stunning ineptitude at his chosen job was matched only by that same degree of ineptitude by the board that should have ousted him many years ago. Outside of himself and some upper management types, absolutely no one has benefited from the unmitigated disaster that was Doug Parker’s tenure.

  17. As far as I am concerned, Good bye. Nice going out the door present Mr. Parker.
    Screw the customers on the FF program. Its now virtually impossible to even get to the first tier. Used to be able to do with about 4 RT tickets, now that you have upped the first tier to 30,000 miles instead of the 20,000 it used to be will take 7 RT. Whomever thought of this plan I am sure is real happy with the money they will save AA since only the most frequent flier will benefit.

    Was planning on taking a Business FF mile trip to Oz. Two years ago it was 250k RT. Now cannot even get a ticket for under 900k.

    Real nice job. Looking for a new permanent airline now. Too bad there are not any left.

    Considering the airlines got 40 BILLION bailout, guess Mr. Parker got his going away present.

  18. Good riddance to the 21st Century pariah of the Airline Industry like Frank Lorenzo was before him. Customers and Employees couldn’t be happier but it doesn’t appear Robert Isom will be any better based on the fact that He was responsible for running the day to day operations and AA was always at the Bottom. As several Employees have told Me “They would screw up a one car funeral”. Absolutely amazing at what an awful Airline they have become, smh.

  19. His nest career might be working from home with affiliate marketing and blogging. And promoting travel affiliate programs. Who knows!?

  20. Maybe Scott Kirby had a Board at United that advised him “no, don’t turn United into an LCC? Isom has a Board full of (as you report) inexperienced cronys…..

  21. Can anyone tell me what a non voting Executive Chairman does? Will Dougie. be able to “whisper ideas behind the scenes?”

  22. The irony of Doug Parker even given the opportunity to serve as CEO and President of AA is quite interesting because he was fired and chased off years before by Robert Crandall himself. Crandall made AA into the juggernaut (even though he wasn’t very popular with the rank and file) but Parker managed to take AA to the lowest of lows in customer perception. Biggest doesn’t mean The Best and the level of debt Parker brought to the Carrier while lining his own pockets will be his legacy at the AIrline and a special footnote in aviation history since this House of cards is not sustainable long term. Visions of Grandeur, Insatiable Greed all done by a dark figure that had issues behind a wheel. Their Employees deserved better as did their Customers. Good riddance!

  23. Our airport has Spirit and Frontier (and Southwest) already. We don’t need another low cost carrier. If AA becomes more and more a clone of these two, there most definitely will be a flight to quality.

    Business passengers don’t want to fly on Spirit and Frontier. Even if they aren’t the best of the best, Delta and United will most definitely gain from American’s loss.

  24. And would be interesting seeing a few more numbers , ie: how much was that fool earning in annual salary and stock to drive airlines into the ground and lose customers? And Parker was intelligent enough to get DUIs too? Just great..

    And the new guy does sound as clueless as Parker.

    HELLOO Delta status match!

  25. After 42 years with AA and various airlines that became AA, this article is the best summation Ive read of what the real deal was. Doug Parker might have been nice to have a beer with, but he was no friend to customers, to the empolyees or the retirees. A tremendous knowledge loss took place when employees were shown the door when covid started and a vast amout of goodwill as well. Isom is a smart guy who would do well to distance himself from Parker’s playbook as soon as possible.

  26. I’m sure you were just so excited to write this, and to drag your fAAv airline!!! Sending a giant “bless your heart” your way, Gary!

  27. That’s my CEO and I’m standing behind him. What he has done has saved multitude of jobs and effectively navigated us through manny storms. You don’t have to like him but respect is due. Love you DP. An Icon is leaving and we wish him farewell

  28. Finally, an article that completely and accurately articulates the so-called “legacy” of Doug Parker. Comments by Gustov and Dave Wilson add excellent perspective. End of the day Parker only expedited the meteoric fall of American from being one of the best in the world to a sad near bottom feeder. It began when a spineless BOD fired Bob Crandall, hired Don Carty then eventually Tom Horton all of whom set the stage for the USAir demolition derby fiasco. Little hope someone who was a major player in the demise will do anything to turn it around.

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