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The Origins Of Frequent Flyer Programs!  
User currently offlineRootsAir From Costa Rica, joined Feb 2005, 4186 posts, RR: 40
Posted (9 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3150 times:

Hi to all


As you know , a couple of years ago, airlines started their frequent flyer programs in order to make them more attractive. Ever since, their success has been gargantuan. I thus wanted to know some information about these programs

a) I would like to know when such programs were started

b) Who was the first one who started them ?

c) Could you more or less tell me what year the major airlines started introducing them ?


A man without the knowledge of his past history,culture and origins is like a tree without roots
9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMidwest717 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 76 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (9 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3141 times:

The first was AA in 1981

User currently offlineFoxBravo From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 3002 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (9 years 7 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3123 times:

Yes, Midwest717 is right--AA was first with its AAdvantage program.


Common sense is not so common. -Voltaire
User currently offlineCitationJet From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2445 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (9 years 7 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3106 times:

I became an AA frequent flyer in 1982.


Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773.
User currently offlineLemurs From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1439 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (9 years 7 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3071 times:

Wait, are you sure about that? I'm pretty sure I read in another thread somewhere that AA was single-handedly responsible for everything bad in the airline industry.  Yeah sure


There are 10 kinds of people in the world; those who understand binary, and those that don't.
User currently offlineLincoln From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 3887 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (9 years 7 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3045 times:

Quoting Lemurs (Reply 4):
Wait, are you sure about that? I'm pretty sure I read in another thread somewhere that AA was single-handedly responsible for everything bad in the airline industry.

Hey, if you're the industry leader in terms of innovation you'll come up with some bad stuff as well as some good.

Those airlines that never fail are the ones that only do things after someone else has tried them...

First widespread computer usage for reservations? American Airlines
First pax loyalty program? American Airlines (a university I was looking at at one point claims it was one of their graduates @ AA)
AA is full of Firsts...

Lincoln



CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
User currently offlinePicarus From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 300 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (9 years 7 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 3003 times:

Yes, yes, yes...AA was the first to offer a FF program like we know it today. However, airlines in the U.S. had been offering marketing programs for years to attract and retain customers. They may not have evoke the card carrying "prestige" of being a FF with a given airline, but they were loyalty programs nevertheless.

A couple that spring to mind are the onboard scratch-off games from the 1970s and even the "clubs" that provided a respite away from the hustle and bustle of the terminals and gate areas.

Picarus


User currently offlineJcavinato From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 520 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (9 years 7 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2986 times:

I flew TWA a lot in the 60s and 70s. They then sent me a couple of briefcase tags with the instruction to put the briefcase up on the counter with the tag in view of the agent whenever I spoke with him/her. That got me onto oversold flights and into their clubs (which were for first class and luggage tag holders). United did a similar thing when I worked for them in the 60s. So loyal customers were captured and treated well back then.

User currently offlineAADC10 From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2099 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (9 years 7 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2965 times:

Quoting Lemurs (Reply 4):
Wait, are you sure about that? I'm pretty sure I read in another thread somewhere that AA was single-handedly responsible for everything bad in the airline industry. Yeah sure

Well, some airlines think that the Frequent Flyer program is a bad thing.

My understanding is that early in the deregulation era Robert "Fang" Crandall was looking for ways to keep business fliers, who were used to half empty planes with seats that were much larger than today, on flights that were full, sandwiched in between tourists and other discount ticket holders. One of his executives (I forgot his name) came up with the idea and Crandall apparently wrote "good" or something like that on the memo. Fang also pushed hard to computerize the reservation system, which helped to make having a frequent flyer program possible.

Of course, Crandall's problem was that he was so tough and aggressive he undermined himself in his number 1 goal: to surpass United as the largest airline in the world. When PanAm was crumbling and needed to sell of its prized routes, they were not even offered to American because they were afraid Fang would outmaneuver them in negotiations, so they sold them to the more collegial Dick Ferris at UA. Obviously AA did eventually surpass UA, but only after Crandall's departure.


User currently offlineBrons2 From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3015 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (9 years 7 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2958 times:

2 words: Robert Crandall...


Firings, if well done, are good for employee morale.
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