Tag Archives: American
[unable to retrieve full-text content]The 737 Max only represents a small percentage of flights in the United States. But grounding them affects a lot more.
Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
When I offer my occasionally skeptical thoughts about American Airlines, its customers cascade abuse upon my ignorance, my being and even my Twitter feed.
No, that’s a joke.
What actually happens is that I get messages from yet more American Airlines employees and customers telling me that things at the airline aren’t too perfect.
Of course, it’s often the whiners who choose to make most noise.
For some time, though, American has made decision after decision that seems unhelpful to its customers.
The airline, though, has always insisted that its customer satisfaction scores were holding steadier than you would be doing, should you be standing in one of those bathrooms.
It’s a source, then, of considerable discomfort that the airline admitted it has a big problem.
During its latest earnings call it admitted that customer satisfaction scores for the airline as a whole have now gone down.
Yes, passengers appear to be bothering to express a little displeasure even on the airline’s survey forms.
You might think that — as well as the tiny bathrooms — reducing legroom in First Class as well as Economy Class wouldn’t necessarily endear American to its customers.
You might even think that executives at American realize this.
However, as Skift reports, American’s president Robert Isom believes passengers are unhappy for a different reason.
He said no, no, they’re entirely happy with the actual product American offers:
People are very pleased with what they’re getting in terms of service and in terms of the amenities and fleet and airports.
For Isom, though, passengers have just one itty-bitty issue:
They want a reliable airline. They want to be certain they get what they pay for.
You mean like with baggage fees?
Isom’s view rhymes perfectly with the opinions of the airline’s CEO, Doug Parker.
He recently insisted that by far the most important thing to customers is to get to their destination on time.
I fear he and Isom may not, for once, be correct.
But as it forced more and more of its planes into its so-called Project Oasis (seriously) cramped configuration and it flies more and more narrowbody planes stuffed with more and more seats over longer distances — yes, a narrowbody nightmare to Brazil! — passengers are going to notice.
American’s Flight Attendants regularly tell me they don’t feel the sort of motivation they’d like to, given what they see as management’s indifference to anything other than the lure of lucre.
Why, Isom himself declared last year that the airline won’t make anything better for passengers unless it can make a profit out of it.
At some point, your customers can see what you’re doing and decide they really don’t like it.
At some further point, they’re going to tell you.
It was a hauntingly pleasant experience, one that the airline is phasing out.
Is it really any wonder that its customers are now less satisfied?
Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
I admit it’s been a year.
I’d avoided the airline a little on my travels, but it was time to try again.
Gingerly, then, I booked an Economy Class ticket from San Francisco to Miami and then paid another $ 90 for an exit row seat.
Because, well, it’s a relatively long flight and, for some odd reason, the airline claimed it was flying a Boeing 767.
Airlines are mostly sending these old beasts to the Arizona pastures — or, perhaps, to marginal billionaires who build tasteless castles in Arizona pastures.
These planes, though, used to offer something so lacking in the latest models: air.
They’re wide-bodied, so you can at least fool yourself into believing there’s more space.
I used to go out of my way to fly American to New York when they flew 767’s there.
Things have changed. Now you are the sardine and the airline is the can-I-make-a-bigger-profit.
Would this be a strange throwback to a forgotten time?
Waiting For Godot-ful Disaster.
Flying involves worrying. Before you do the actual flying, that is.
When it comes to American, one of the primary concerns is whether the flight will be delayed more or less than Brexit.
Yet, as the day and the hour approached, no message from American that the plane was out of action, I’d be reseated on a narrowbody bus and driven to Miami.
I arrived at San Francisco airport. The luggage tag machines were working, The man at the bag drop even smiled and made a joke about my name. (If you don’t make a joke about my name, what is wrong with you?)
Still, I wasn’t comfortable. This thing was going to go wrong. It was just a question of how, how badly and when.
The departure board didn’t twitch. It was as if it had smoked a decent brand of THC pot.
Boarding was announced on time. People didn’t even crowd the gate area to distraction. This bordered on the haunting.
Who, though, would I have sitting next to me? That can make a flight enjoyable or dip it into unbearable.
My seatmate was on his phone. He ran a tech company. He needed one of his employees to know just how much he sympathized with her problem.
His drippingly unctuous tone told me that he was unlikely to do anything about it.
I sat down in my window seat and the first shock hit me.
Waiting For Bad News To Bear.
Yes, the tray tables were as yellow as a smoker’s teeth. The seats, too, looked like they’d supported a thousand passengers and ten thousand hurried cleanings too many.
As I lounged tentatively, an announcement from the cabin crew.
Here it was, the bad news. It had to be bad news:
Welcome on board, ladies and gentlemen. This is NOT a full flight, so you should have plenty of room to store your bags and stretch out.
My mouth opened, my jaw seized up and my eyebrows began to vibrate.
I can’t remember the last time I heard such an announcement.
So many times I’ve been on flights that were patently not full, yet the cabin crew announced this was a full flight and please think about checking your carry-ons, before we confiscate them and sell them on eBay.
Yet here was American Airlines being honest?
Suddenly, we were pushing back. The tech type next to me was still bleating into his phone.
No one came to admonish him. I tried to give him a sly glare.
He finally got off the call and began to furiously type into his phone. Perhaps these were his self-help notes, I’ve no idea.
And then we were in the air.
Wait, we were on time? It seemed like it.
After a few minutes, it was the pilot’s turn to make an announcement:
There’s normally a lot of planes lining up for takeoff, but when we got to the runway, there was no one there. So we took off. Looks like we’ll be in Miami at least 30 minutes early.
This was beginning to feel like a parallel universe. I had descended into some weird time warp. Had I inadvertently inhaled some of that THC?
Now It Was Going To Be Ruined.
Oh, but then my seat-mate began to eat lunch. A vigorous eater of a carry-on salad, he was. And goodness did his elbow jab into my ribs with every jerk of his plastic knife.
Did he say sorry?
Did I mention he was a tech type?
This is where it would all go wrong. I felt sure that, once he’d finished his lunch, out would come the laptop and in would go his elbow to my ribs for the rest of the flight.
I was mostly right. His MacBook came out. What was surreal is that, unlike most self-important men I’ve sat next to on planes, his elbows stayed in.
Not once in the next several hours did he jab me again. It was almost as if, having satisfied an employee with platitudes and his hunger with a salad, he became fully sentient.
Meanwhile, the cabin service was efficient, if not effusive. Just like the biscotti-type things they handed out.
The Flight Attendants performed their duties and then disappeared.
I leaned into my slightly dreary Canadian detective novel — I refuse to work on planes, save in an emergency — stretched my legs right out and wallowed in a peculiar calm.
American Airlines Really Let Me Down.
We didn’t have to divert to Albuquerque because of an engine problem.
My seatmate had excellent noise-canceling headphones, the sort that truly are silent.
A baby trying crying a couple of times and then realized that so much attention-seeking just wasn’t going to work.
The whole thing was eerily tolerable, verging on the pleasant. It was like a blind date that involved easy conversation and even a kiss at the end.
We were at the gate almost an hour ahead of schedule.
This was as close to perfect as I could have conceived.
Even my bag came out quickly, which anyone who’s ever flown into Miami knows is a bizarre event.
I walked away, talking to myself. I try to do it quietly.
I only had one thought: American Airlines, you really let me down. I could find nothing to complain about, because it felt like flying from a few years ago.
The pilots couldn’t even muster any turbulence.
How lovely it is when nothing goes wrong with a flight. And how relatively rare that seems to be these days, especially if you’re flying in the back.
When the airline, the staff and the passengers all conspire to make it a pleasant experience, flying can be genuinely relaxing.
If only these three could conspire to make it happen more often.
Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Consistently, the airline has become a symbol of too many things that are wrong with air travel.
It’s managed to put itself in a We Don’t Really Care About Passengers corner.
It seems to find it hard to emerge from that.
In a conversation with employees reported by View From The Wing’s Gary Leff, an American pilot told Parker that there seems to be a reluctance to offer customer service to passengers, even when the flight won’t be leaving on time.
He told the story of a connecting customer who said they’d left their phone and laptop on a flight and no American employee wanted to help.
They’re all told, you see, that the priority is the so-called D0, the determination to push back on time to the detriment, some might say, of customer service.
You know, those little things like the pre-flight drinks the more exalted customers adore.
Parker offered these extremely honest and revealing words:
The most important thing to customers is that we deliver on our commitment to leave on time and get them to the destination as they have scheduled.
But isn’t pushing back on time just one aspect of a greater good? That the customer should feel good on your airline and want to come back.
This, it strikes me, has been American’s singular difficulty of late.
I can’t remember whether the flight pushed back on time. I do remember, however, her strained and abject attempts to provide the minimum customer service she could.
The consequence, for me at least, has been to avoid American and choose other airlines.
Am I alone in reacting this way?
I used to fly American a lot. I used to actively choose it because it flew bigger planes from San Francisco to New York and seemed a good enough airline.
Parker is right that customers want to get to their destination on time. But isn’t it a little like restaurant customers who say they want good food?
If they get cold, disinterested service, I suspect many will happily give up the food for a restaurant that makes them feel good.
A greater difficulty for Parker is that there are airlines that are admired for their customer service and their reliable approach to arriving on time.
Delta, for example, seems to manage this rather well. Despite flying some tatty old planes.
Perhaps the real problem is that Parker transposes his own beliefs about what should be important into his customers.
He wants the focus to be on-time departure because he believes the airline will make more money that way.
If the planes are always on time, the system rolls along nicely and there are no unexpected costs.
Which reminds me of a T-shirt I used to wear, a long time ago. On it, a woman looks up at her lover and explains: “There’s more to life than snogging, Barry.”
Wichita Falls is a city of about 100,000 people in northeast Texas. It looks like there’s a lot of stunning natural beauty nearby.
But what the airport at Wichita Falls doesn’t have, apparently, is a place to get a nice meal near the airport, especially if 100 or more people unexpectedly show up all at once.
This became relevant last week, when American Airlines flight 2354 from Los Angeles to Dallas-Fort Worth was diverted there due to extreme thunderstorms. Passengers were looking at the likelihood of having to scramble to find a place to stay overnight, to say nothing of finding a bite to eat.
And the captain on their flight came up with a very simple solution.
In short, he called up the local Papa John’s and ordered 40 pizzas for his 159 passengers. As far as we know, he fronted the entire bill, $ 500 or more, himself. And his simple gesture went viral.
The captain’s name: Jeff Raines, according to CNN. His actions–in fact the moments when he found himself running back and forth from the terminal to the Papa John’s delivery car–was all captured on video by an airport worker named Josh Raines (no indication they’re related).
As Josh explained later in his Twitter feed, the passengers were going to travel the rest of the way to Dallas via bus. But Wichita Falls Municipal Airport is actually a mostly military airport, attached to Sheppard Air Force Base. It’s just not equipped for a sudden, unexpected influx of passengers.
Jeff Raines (the captain) apparently followed the whole thing up with an explanation on Facebook:
Thanks for the compliments however this was a “TEAM” effort. My First Officer was on the telephone with crew tracking / hotel desk arranging for our release and hotels for the entire crew.
The Flight Attendants manned a galley cart from the aircraft serving waters, juice, and sodas to all the passengers in the terminal. All while the Envoy SPS Personnel were arranging for a bus, re-booking flights, and answering a flurry of questions from these passengers.
Thanks to everyone for your help – there is no “I” in TEAM.
It’s unclear whether the passengers continued to Dallas via bus, as both Josh Raines and Jeff Raines seem to have suggested, or if they flew there the next morning, as American corporate P.R. says. I suspect it’s possible some passengers might have continued on to Dallas via bus; others waited for the flight the next day.
But the real point here is an airline employee taking it upon himself to do something that’s clearly not listed in the American Airlines handbook, but that has a lot of potential to increase passengers’ affinity for the airline.
We’ve seen this repeatedly lately, for example with the Southwest Airlines captain who rerouted a flight to enable a passenger to get an amazing photo of the Great American Eclipse in 2017, and the Southwest flight attendant who worked to allow a passenger who has Down syndrome to fulfill her dream, at least for a day, of working as a flight attendant.
These little actions help any business’s reputation, and they often pay big dividends. For its pilot’s $ 500 pizza outlay, American clearly got a lot more than $ 500 worth of brand equity or marketing.
It doesn’t even really matter if the passengers like pizza. Simply by making the effort, the captain bought goodwill.
“We are always proud of our crew members who take great care of our customers who fly on American Airlines,” American said in an email. “We are fortunate that our crew members are the best in the business.”
Other than that, Mrs. Cannon, how was the flight?
A lot of things went wrong on Leighton and Merry Cannon’s recent trip to Europe on American Airlines. But, as Merry Cannon said in a phone call, the worst part was probably right at the very end: when she discovered a dead rat in her checked luggage.
Yes, a dead rat–“smashed,” as she put it–yet hidden, so that she wasn’t sure what was creating the “disgusting” smell that came from her bag when she picked it up at the airport. She brought it home unwittingly, despite the odor, hoping to clean and salvage at least some of her clothes.
“It smells like a dead body.”
The story began early March 5, as Merry Cannon told it. Her husband had a business trip in Germany and France, plus a short visit to London to see family. Since his mother was free to come to their house in Arkansas to take care of their two small children for a few days, Merry decided to go along.
Travel troubles mounted quickly: delayed and canceled flights, missed connections, an unplanned overnight stay in Chicago after their flight to Germany left without them, while American tried to find room for them on any airplane to Europe. Ultimately they had to fly to Brussels, Belgium instead, forgo the German part of their trip, and arrange to drive a rental car to Lille, France.
When they arrived in Belgium, however, they found that their luggage had never left Chicago. It didn’t catch up to them until their last night in France, just before their morning flight to London to see family for the day before heading back to the U.S.
Eventually, they made it home to Arkansas, and Merry collected their bags. The smell now emanating from her luggage nearly knocked her over, she said.
“Smell this,” she said to her husband.
“It smells awful!” he replied.
“It smells like a dead body.”
“It smells so gross.”
Maybe it’s “just” sewage waste from a lavatory
Leighton tried to sanitize the handle with Clorox wipes. They brought the bag to a customer service agent, who speculated that maybe it had been left on a runway in the rain at some point during the five days it took to catch up with her, and the smell was from mold.
Merry said she was skeptical, as they hadn’t noticed a smell when the luggage caught up to them in France. Perhaps, the customer service agent suggested, it had been stored under a lavatory on the plane, and sewage waste had dripped onto it.
Disgusted by that idea, Merry Cannon asked for a garbage bag or something to avoid taking the bag. But the agent told her the airline would only compensate her for destroyed luggage if she first brought everything home, tried to wash it, and offered evidence that it didn’t work.
The Cannons threw the bag in the back of their truck, and left it on the back porch of their house when they got home. The next morning, Merry Connor opened it, pulled out a few articles of clothing, and held her nose. She dropped them in the washing machine with vinegar, bleach, Tide, and OxiClean.
It barely had an effect. Disgusted, she walked back to the porch. And then she saw the dead rat.
Her reaction: “I’m surprised the people next door, building a house–the construction workers–didn’t call the police. I screamed, ran inside, started washing my hands over and over. I was just crying.”
“Your biggest concern would be bubonic plague”
She called American Airlines. They told her to photograph everything in the bag, and to put in a claim. The person she spoke with at the airline was apologetic, she said, and promised that the airline would pay for everything.
Then she called the county health department.
“This is awful,” she said the health department official told her when she described the rat situation. “I’ve never heard of anything like this. Your biggest concern would be bubonic plague.”
“The plague? What am I, in a sitcom?” She thought about her two young children. Had she unwittingly brought a bubonic plague-infested rat into their home?
“Rats carry the plague,” the heath official told her. “Your other worry would be fleas. That’s what carries disease.” Later, he added, “Burning garbage is illegal, but that bag needs to be burned.”
Merry and Leighton took photos, and disposed of the bag and its contents. She said she hoped American Airlines would make her whole–at least for the actual value of the things she lost.
“I realize this is not the outcome you requested”
An American Airlines representative emailed her, saying the airline would pay her $ 1,648, “maximum liability set by the Montreal Convention … for a trip with an international flight.”
“I realize this is not the outcome you requested,” said the note, which was signed by a “specialist, central baggage,” in the Central Baggage Resolution Office. “[H]owever, I appreciate this opportunity to address your concerns and explain our position. We hope you will give American Airlines another chance to earn your business.”
I asked American Airlines for comment. Here’s their statement:
We have apologized and are not aware of any similar issues of a rat making its way into a checked bag before. While we are unable to determine if the issue occurred in the United States or overseas, we did apologize to the customer, and they were compensated earlier this month.
NOTE: Based on the Montreal Convention and applicable international tariffs, liability limitations for international travel are 1,131 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) per ticketed passenger. This applies to all airlines for international travel. SDR (Special Drawing Rights) is an International Monetary Fund unit of currency. SDR’s will be converted to U.S. Dollars using the rate in effect on the mishandled baggage settlement date. That is what was compensated. If you convert 1,131 to U.S. dollars, it is around $ 1,600.
It wasn’t enough, Merry Cannon replied. The bag itself was a Samsonite that cost $ 300, she said, and she had three pairs of boots that cost $ 200 each, “plus I had dressy clothes, and workout clothes.” Some of the things she’d brought were brand new, and stillahd the tags on them.
Cannon said she tried several more times to get someone from American to discuss her case, and see if she could get anything beyond the $ 1,600, but to no avail. Eventually, she posted the photo of the rat and her story on Facebook and Twitter.
“You could have just paid me for my bag, and none of this would have been out here,” she said. “I’m never flying with them again.”
With nearly 30,000 runners faring through the wind and rain, the Boston Marathon is officially complete and Desiree Linden was crowned the first American woman to win since 1985, which is an incredible feat. Known as one of the most exclusive marathon’s in the world, to say the competition is ‘fierce’ would be an understatement. However, if you haven’t yet heard of Linden’s unfathomable display of sportsmanship, prepared to be humbled.
One of the clear favorites to win was American, Shalane Flanagan, who is the defending champion of the 2017 New York City Marathon (back in November). However, one hour in, Flanagan had to take an unexpected 13-second break to use the restroom (or “portable facility” as announcers call it).
Shalane Flanagan’s detour to the port-a-potty. pic.twitter.com/lLLCyLhVYz
— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) April 16, 2018
The Epic Sportsmanship Gesture
In an unusual and surprising move, fellow American Desiree Linden decided to wait back with Flanagan for those 13-seconds. Let’s put that into perspective for a moment. In 2017, here were the times of the top 3 finishes on the Women’s side:
Take note that there were less than 2 minutes that separate first and third place, and merely 9 seconds separating second and third. Linden risked 13, critical seconds.
An Unparalleled Lesson in Respect
Where there’s speculation that the move was strategic on Linden’s part, it was an extremely risky decision — one that can only exemplify an unparalleled level of respect for a peer. The fact that Linden was still able to pull ahead and win is even more incredible.
All in all, I’m humbled. To see sportsmanship displayed at such an elite, competitive level is simply humbling.
Everyone loves to win — winning against the odds and with dignity? Now that is powerful.
ReadyNetworks announces its alliance with Powerupcloud Technologies, a global leader in delivering cloud and big data solutions on leading cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure….
(PRWeb March 01, 2017)
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/03/prweb14109903.htm
2010 American Music Awards Presenter, Nominee And Performer Highlights
- Lady Gaga
- Katy Perry
- Ke$ ha