Each year the American Airlines management team does a musical performance – all dressed up for Halloween. This year it was Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ filmed around their new Skyview campus.
CEO Doug Parker stepped into the role of Billy Ray Cyrus. Those who had been questioning his longevity at the helm might have been hoping he’d go as Lil Nas X himself, but remember that both Justin Trudeau and Ralph Northam got to keep their jobs.
These videos are all in good fun and have always reinforced for me that even when I question decisions made at the airline there’s no US carrier C-suite executive quite as self-deprecating as Parker. He’s a good guy to hang out with and the best airline CEO in the business at Halloweening.
Still this year’s performance seems lackluster compared to past efforts. It wasn’t that funny, it felt more like going through the motions. The 2018 effort ends with Parker declaring “that’s how you make culture a competitive advantage!” (A nod to his idea that he would make American employees so happy they’d take such great care of customers that the airline would earn a revenue premium.)
He played Boy George, lip syncing Karma Chameleon with a giant chameleon running around in the background. Now Senior Vice President Vasu Raja was Michael Jackson moonwalking (and making Northam jealous).
More beleagured this year Parker merely ends “how great was that? Just kidding I know it wasn’t very good. We tried.” And he thanks American Airlines employees, who are all still left wondering what’s next.