No New Crackdown on American Airlines Inflight Credit Card Marketing After All

Earlier today I noted Lewis Lazare‘s Chicago Business Journal story that a new American Airlines memo to flight attendants was aiming to rein in their inflight credit card marketing.

The piece said American was telling flight attendants not to market the card when passengers are trying to sleep, or during emergencies, and to read the card announcement script verbatim. Too often flight attendants make claims about what the initial bonus offer will provide in award travel that are implausible.

However an American Airlines spokesperson tells me that Lazare got it wrong, he didn’t have a new memo to flight attendants, just their standard training.

To be clear, there is no new memo to flight attendants. When flight attendants come in for recurrent training, those who have chosen to participate in the program will receive training about the program. Customers and flight attendants value the offering and there has been no change to the program or the training.

With no changes, then, it seems we can expect flight attendants to continue to ignore their training with impunity. In one story relayed to me today, “some [flight attendants] walk down the aisle waving applications saying ‘please pay for my groceries’.”

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 much ado about nothing. I’ve probably taken 50 AA flights this year. The majority of these flights had no credit card pitch whatsoever (candidly, I think the flight attendants get lazy about making the announcements, just like they sometimes get lazy about doing other parts of their jobs). On maybe 2 or 3 of the flights, I encountered a credit card pitch that struck me as slightly cheezy. Mind you, it wasn’t an over-the-top hard sell, but it struck me as at least mildly annoying. Far less annoying than, say, a 5 minute flight delay, but still arguably “unprofessional.”

    Obviously, there are many who would prefer to have no on-board sales pitches. Just like there are some who would like free booze and meals in domestic coach. But we all know — or should know — that airlines are businesses, and businesses are going to try to make money. I can live with the current on-board credit card pitches. Heck, when I heard one the other day, it made me think about whether I should try to get one of those Barclay’s AA cards again for the sign-up bonuses. So that “annoyance” might actually put another 60K miles in my account!

  2. I agree. DL, LUV and UA push them just as much (if not more in UA’s case) as AA. If you don’t have seat back IFE. . .you don’t have to listen to the announcement! An advantage over DL IMO. . .LOL

  3. John C

    The apps have identifying information for the FAs so they get something if you sign up.

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