Transportation

Harvard Business Review Frequent Flier Asks, When Did American Airlines Get So Sad?

A few weeks ago, you no doubt recall, The New York Times wondered whether American Airlines was becoming "a waning star of air travel." To which many Friends responded, as they often do when the subject of the Fort Worth-based carrier comes up: Why, yes, yes it is. Among the frequent complaints here and elsewhere: The planes are dirty, the flight attendants aren't as nice as they used to be, you gotta pay for everything and so on and so forth.

This morning, Harvard Business Review's Tom Davenport chimes in with his two cents, which he put in his carry-on lest he pay another service charge. Writes Davenport, by the time he finishes this Boston-to-Dallas flight, he'll be close to raking up 5 million frequent-flier miles. But he writes that he'll be "depressed" if he hits Ryan Bingham numbers. That's because flying AA these days has gotten grim and fallen behind the times. An excerpt:

The predominant color scheme of the cabin is off-white and beige. There are no fun drinks -- something even Delta has! Unlike on JetBlue planes, there are no personal TVs, the opiate of the flying masses. There's not even any internet service on my plane. (American has been slow to implement WiFi.) Unlike on Southwest flights, the flight attendants don't joke or goof around as they tell you how to put on your seat belt. The service is not particularly attentive like Singapore Airlines is. In short, there is absolutely nothing interesting or amusing about the AA flight experience, which undoubtedly explains why American is usually well down the list in the JD Power service rankings.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky