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NeBaNi
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American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:49 pm

Gary Leff from the Boarding Area has a pretty damning article about AA and it's lack of customer focus. He focuses on Doug Parker and the legacy US Airways team and somme of the thinking behind their decisions. Here's the article:
http://viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com/2018/01/13/americans-problem-management-touch-customers/

The part that I found interesting; this is from a Q&A session with employees about the tiny lavs on the 737MAX:
Flight attendant: “The doors open in the lavs and nobody can get in or out. i don’t know if you’ve been on it”

Doug Parker: “I have not been on the MAX.”

Flight attendant: “If you gain an ounce you’re not coming down the aisle i assure you.” (laughter) “but what are they revamping anything on it or is this something that it is what it is?”

Doug Parker: “tell me what the issue is again, it’s the bathrooms?”

Flight attendant: “In the aft of the aircraft the two bathroom doors open up and they lock into each other. so now you got people coming out of the bathroom into the galley and then we have to shut the doors, let them out, and let the next two people to use the restroom… and the sink you get soaking wet because it’s so small you can’t get your hands in there, so it really has some design flaws”

I think part of the issue, as Gary Leff points out, is that the AA management has never been on the MAX yet. So they don't know what customers are going through. Heck, have higher ups in management even taken a flight with all the perks of a Basic Economy ticket to see how their decisions affect customers?

Note that I'm not trying to bash Doug Parker, or AA management here. I think Gary Leff is pretty one sided here, and I would love to hear some counterarguments from A-netizens here. Of course, it goes without saying that I'm not trying to bash Gary Leff either.
 
B737900ER
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:14 pm

Is that why they have 100,000,000 customers annually? Because they know nothing about them?

AA knows everything about their customers. Most importantly, that the only thing their customers really care about is price. If AA went to 4-3 seating on the max, and dropped the price 25 dollars, I bet they would fill up every seat.
 
StuckinCMHland
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:16 pm

Very interesting post, thanks for putting it up.

Sadly, it seems to me that a lot of people on this board will say that a lack of customer focus is irrelevant. The most important/only thing that matters is CASM and sticking as many people in a plane as possible to maximize profit. People 'want the cheapest flight possible and that's all that matters', and/or 'people want cheap flights and demand good service but you can't have both'. I'm 6' 4" and the last time I flew I barely fit in the bathroom I had to use. I guess we are getting to the point where passengers will have to make sure they finish their 'body maintenance' before they get on the plane because they can't fit in a restroom. Better make sure its only decaf coffee on those flights too.
 
StuckinCMHland
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:20 pm

B737900ER wrote:
Is that why they have 100,000,000 customers annually? Because they know nothing about them?

AA knows everything about their customers. Most importantly, that the only thing their customers really care about is price. If AA went to 4-3 seating on the max, and dropped the price 25 dollars, I bet they would fill up every seat.


Wow, thanks for making my point for me in the above post. Maybe they ought to try a standing room only flight and see how many people will be willing to be stuffed in a sardine can flight (Yes, I know it's illegal, just trying to make a point).
 
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Rookie87
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:22 pm

The Airbus has a similar issue with the aft lavs sooo...I honestly think this is an issue over nothing. Design flaw? Nope. Try letting the other person out of the other lav before you instead of forcing your way out at the same time.
Even with the 737-800 sliding ish doors (I don’t know what the actual name is) you can’t both get out of the lav at the same time, one person has to go after the other because they can’t both fit in to the aisle and anyone waiting would have to either go in to the galley or press themselves against an aisle seat...
 
vegas005
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:26 pm

Trying to figure out how in the hell Doug Parker can be the CEO of AA and he has not been on a max...that should get him fired immediately. What an out of touch bean counting dork. The world needs to revolve around the client.
 
Boreale
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:34 pm

AA (and others) can't offer this terrible product while still attempthing to command a fare premium as a "legacy" that makes them more expensive than NK and F9 domestically and Norwegian and Wow TATL...this approach only drives up profits for a few years before you make all your customers mad (+they understand what they're actually buying) and you drive them to true ULCCs or WN/B6.

Why (once I understand the difference) would I buy economy basic on AA for the same price as the exact same flight on WN? Don't even get me started on transiting in DCA vs BWI....

(Yeah I'm clearly a WN fanboy....sue me.)
Last edited by Boreale on Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:42 pm, edited 3 times in total.
 
deltal1011man
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:37 pm

NeBaNi wrote:
Gary Leff from the Boarding Area has a pretty damning article about AA and it's lack of customer focus. He focuses on Doug Parker and the legacy US Airways team and somme of the thinking behind their decisions. Here's the article:
http://viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com/2018/01/13/americans-problem-management-touch-customers/

The part that I found interesting; this is from a Q&A session with employees about the tiny lavs on the 737MAX:
Flight attendant: “The doors open in the lavs and nobody can get in or out. i don’t know if you’ve been on it”

Doug Parker: “I have not been on the MAX.”

Flight attendant: “If you gain an ounce you’re not coming down the aisle i assure you.” (laughter) “but what are they revamping anything on it or is this something that it is what it is?”

Doug Parker: “tell me what the issue is again, it’s the bathrooms?”

Flight attendant: “In the aft of the aircraft the two bathroom doors open up and they lock into each other. so now you got people coming out of the bathroom into the galley and then we have to shut the doors, let them out, and let the next two people to use the restroom… and the sink you get soaking wet because it’s so small you can’t get your hands in there, so it really has some design flaws”

I think part of the issue, as Gary Leff points out, is that the AA management has never been on the MAX yet. So they don't know what customers are going through. Heck, have higher ups in management even taken a flight with all the perks of a Basic Economy ticket to see how their decisions affect customers?

Note that I'm not trying to bash Doug Parker, or AA management here. I think Gary Leff is pretty one sided here, and I would love to hear some counterarguments from A-netizens here. Of course, it goes without saying that I'm not trying to bash Gary Leff either.


Other than it being the new airplane (sort of, its still pretty much a 737.) why would they?

I hope y'all don't honestly think Doug is going around trying out every seat, every lav, every airplane etc. etc. He has direct reports that have direct reports that have direct reports that do that.
Over time I'm sure he will fly the MAX, but I don't see why it is a pressing need. Just like I don't expect him to rush to fly the NEO when they get it.

vegas005 wrote:
Trying to figure out how in the hell Doug Parker can be the CEO of AA and he has not been on a max...that should get him fired immediately. What an out of touch bean counting dork. The world needs to revolve around the client.

lol. This has to be a joke.

StuckinCMHland wrote:
B737900ER wrote:
Is that why they have 100,000,000 customers annually? Because they know nothing about them?

AA knows everything about their customers. Most importantly, that the only thing their customers really care about is price. If AA went to 4-3 seating on the max, and dropped the price 25 dollars, I bet they would fill up every seat.


Wow, thanks for making my point for me in the above post. Maybe they ought to try a standing room only flight and see how many people will be willing to be stuffed in a sardine can flight (Yes, I know it's illegal, just trying to make a point).

Here were go. The good old airlines should be nice to pax because BASIC ECONOMICS is stupid. :banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

B737900ER wrote:
Is that why they have 100,000,000 customers annually? Because they know nothing about them?

AA knows everything about their customers. Most importantly, that the only thing their customers really care about is price. If AA went to 4-3 seating on the max, and dropped the price 25 dollars, I bet they would fill up every seat.

This.

Basic business and basic economics is really not that hard. I don't get why so many on this site have such a hard time with it.

StuckinCMHland wrote:
Very interesting post, thanks for putting it up.

Sadly, it seems to me that a lot of people on this board will say that a lack of customer focus is irrelevant. The most important/only thing that matters is CASM and sticking as many people in a plane as possible to maximize profit. People 'want the cheapest flight possible and that's all that matters', and/or 'people want cheap flights and demand good service but you can't have both'. I'm 6' 4" and the last time I flew I barely fit in the bathroom I had to use. I guess we are getting to the point where passengers will have to make sure they finish their 'body maintenance' before they get on the plane because they can't fit in a restroom. Better make sure its only decaf coffee on those flights too.

no we are at the point that you need to pay more money to sit in a better seat with a better lav.
its really not that hard. I am about an inch shorter than you and magically when I fly I don't have issues with the lav, with pitch, with seat width etc.
Why? because I pay more for a seat in at least Y+ but mostly F if I have to fly.

and if it on the rare occasion I have to non-rev I don't complain if I get a crappy seat because I am probably saving a crap ton of money.
 
ldvaviation
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:38 pm

NeBaNi wrote:
Gary Leff from the Boarding Area has a pretty damning article about AA and it's lack of customer focus. He focuses on Doug Parker and the legacy US Airways team and somme of the thinking behind their decisions.

Note that I'm not trying to bash Doug Parker, or AA management here. I think Gary Leff is pretty one sided here, and I would love to hear some counterarguments from A-netizens here. Of course, it goes without saying that I'm not trying to bash Gary Leff either.


Gary Leff panders to the mob. In short, he writes posts like this one to give some perverse satisfaction to his readers, most of whom hate AA because AA made it harder to game AAdvantage.

He could care less about bathrooms in coach. This is a person who prominently displays a picture of himself in a large Business Class bathroom, wearing airline-issued PJ's. (It is not a pretty picture.)
 
USAirKid
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:41 pm

StuckinCMHland wrote:
B737900ER wrote:
Is that why they have 100,000,000 customers annually? Because they know nothing about them?

AA knows everything about their customers. Most importantly, that the only thing their customers really care about is price. If AA went to 4-3 seating on the max, and dropped the price 25 dollars, I bet they would fill up every seat.


Wow, thanks for making my point for me in the above post. Maybe they ought to try a standing room only flight and see how many people will be willing to be stuffed in a sardine can flight (Yes, I know it's illegal, just trying to make a point).


Nah standing flights aren't illegal, passengers just have to be restrained, not seated.
 
vegas005
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:45 pm

vegas005 wrote:
Trying to figure out how in the hell Doug Parker can be the CEO of AA and he has not been on a max...that should get him fired immediately. What an out of touch bean counting dork. The world needs to revolve around the client.

lol. This has to be a joke.

are you 13 or what? Flying aircraft and the configuration/service to the client of the airline is the number one job! He has NEVER been on a Max...WTF? He was horrible at US Air and obviously hasn't changed a bit...
 
tcfc424
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:57 pm

A CASM-only approach is great when you want to fill your plane up with leisure passengers paying the lowest fare possible. If you're looking to pick up (or maintain) the higher fare passengers...primarily frequent business travelers...you really have to look at what you're offering. As a 3-year PLAT with AA and before that a 2-year GOLD at UA, I can tell you what means the most to those of us booking those fares within two weeks, I assure you it's much different than what Uncle Bob and Aunt Lisa are looking for.

I first do a Google Flights search to see the price range and who the players are. I have to stay within $100 on a domestic roundtrip or $400 on an international roundtrip. I can narrow my search down to blocks of 4 hours if I need to try and "massage" those numbers to make my preferred (read-loyalty) carrier work. That gives me the flexibility to usually select the carrier I desire, and/or the itinerary that fits the best for me. UA is an outlier in Austin in this aspect...they are almost always +$150 or more than the DL or AA fare, rendering them unusable. If they were in the ballpark, I would very likely jump ship that fast. DL is intriguing, but they don't have a club in Austin (yet---coming in 2019) and they still aren't as robust as AA or UA for Austin.

Once I have figured out the carrier I'm going to use, I actively look at equipment and amenities. Typically, I fly AA, and as such I have the choice of nice aircraft or nice crew. I hate flying through PHL, CLT, and PHX because the A319's, A320's, and A321's on those routes are awful, even in first class. These are typically the cheaper fares (so someone in revenue management at American knows these are less desirable). On the flip side, I know if I fly through JFK, ORD, DFW, or LAX that I might have a nicer plane but a lackluster crew when it comes to service. I really like the ease of connecting and frequency of flights in DFW...the crews just tend to be nasty.

The bottom line for me...AA is on thin ice with me. They have me locked in for the year, as my company just paid for my Admiral's Club membership. I can guarantee you next year though, with the opening of DL's Sky Club coupled with their ~20% expansion in Austin, its quite possible I jump ship. I really like the comfort+ offering with drinks being included. If AA did that, I would never worry about another upgrade again and would have no reason for my eye to wander. As it is, to me that is valuable, as is DL and UA's unlimited domestic upgrade policy. I know it reduces the frequency of upgrades, but at least you're not laying out miles or $ for a 555 mile flight where they don't even give you a PDB or a refill in flight. Point is, I do have a choice. I will very likely earn PPro or possibly EXP this year. It's not a given that even that will keep me with AA the way they're going. Discount Doug has cheapened AA to an extent that they are losing fliers like me. Daily. It may not mean anything right now as the airlines are printing money, but if things tighten up a little, they will begin to see the fractures.

But what do I know, I only spent $14,000 with them last year.
 
graham697
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:00 pm

deltal1011man wrote:

Other than it being the new airplane (sort of, its still pretty much a 737.) why would they?

I hope y'all don't honestly think Doug is going around trying out every seat, every lav, every airplane etc. etc. He has direct reports that have direct reports that have direct reports that do that.
Over time I'm sure he will fly the MAX, but I don't see why it is a pressing need. Just like I don't expect him to rush to fly the NEO when they get it.


Eh, as a shareholder and manager myself, I would certainly hope the CEO spent at least a day reviewing the final product that costs millions/billions of dollars in aggregate. Pushing the day to day responsibility down the chain makes sense to a point, but at the end of the day it is THEIR job to ensure proper standards are being met.

If they never board their new 'product,' how could they really make that determination? At some point you need to give feedback to your troops and in this business it will require you actually seeing it in real life.
 
AA321T
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:03 pm

I’ve worked the MAX a few times as the aft galley flight attendant, the way the doors are installed is with the hinge on the forward part of the doorframe, so when people come out they have to step back into the galley, close the door, then shuffle back and forth with the next person in line for the lav, and finally clear the galley area. It’s really an awful design, especially when we are back there trying to set up for a service.

In that same crew news session, a representative from cabin interiors informed the room that Boeing only offered that style of door on the lavs but that the airline is looking into retrofitting bi-fold doors on the lavs.
 
AAvgeek744
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:06 pm

B737900ER wrote:
Is that why they have 100,000,000 customers annually? Because they know nothing about them?

AA knows everything about their customers. Most importantly, that the only thing their customers really care about is price. If AA went to 4-3 seating on the max, and dropped the price 25 dollars, I bet they would fill up every seat.


The top four airlines all carry 100 million pax per year. That means there are always gong to be reports of discontent, detached management, etc.
 
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exFWAOONW
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:08 pm

When I saw the title, my first thought was, when have they ever?
Is just me, or is flying not as much fun anymore?
 
BrianDromey
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:17 pm

deltal1011man wrote:
no we are at the point that you need to pay more money to sit in a better seat with a better lav.
its really not that hard. I am about an inch shorter than you and magically when I fly I don't have issues with the lav, with pitch, with seat width etc.
Why? because I pay more for a seat in at least Y+ but mostly F if I have to fly.

and if it on the rare occasion I have to non-rev I don't complain if I get a crappy seat because I am probably saving a crap ton of money.


I think this is a very good point. The Basic Economy fares serve the price sensitive customers, scraping out everything else. If you want more room, a snack, more miles, FFP status, etc then the more expensive Economy or Economy Plus are the right choice for you. There is more luxury and service as you move further forward, through Premium Economy and Business/First.

What people seem to be objecting to is that some Economy seats have better perks/service than their cheapest available seat. Its hard to accept that legroom, exit rows, baggage and beer used to be "free" (included in the fare).
 
KD5MDK
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:28 pm

tcfc424 wrote:
As it is, to me that is valuable, as is DL and UA's unlimited domestic upgrade policy. I know it reduces the frequency of upgrades, but at least you're not laying out miles or $ for a 555 mile flight where they don't even give you a PDB or a refill in flight. Point is, I do have a choice. I will very likely earn PPro or possibly EXP this year.

What's the benefit of an unlimited upgrade policy on DL or UA if you're going to make PPro?

I have similar flight planning habits as you, although I'm fine with connecting in CLT because it's pretty quick and I get access to a lot of destinations that would be more difficult or impossible from DFW like PWM and YOW. In seat power would be nice but at a certain point if the experience up front is a wide seat and personal service, I'll take it.

Likely to reearn Platinum for the first time in about 10 years this time around.
 
ADrum23
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:34 pm

Interesting points thus far, but I agree Doug "we'll never lose money again" Parker seems pretty out of touch here. AA really dropped the ball on the MAX with the seating configuration.

I don't have a problem with basic economy per say, but there should be regulations on how many seats an airline can put in and the pitch/length. What the US3 are doing is frankly wrong.
 
PITingres
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:46 pm

B737900ER wrote:
Is that why they have 100,000,000 customers annually? Because they know nothing about them?

AA knows everything about their customers. Most importantly, that the only thing their customers really care about is price. If AA went to 4-3 seating on the max, and dropped the price 25 dollars, I bet they would fill up every seat.


I bet they would, too.

Once.

(and, they would lose money doing it.)
Fly, you fools! Fly!
 
AA388
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:54 pm

Guys, I think that everyone is making really good points but I would like to offer another example, from the same crew news, that I think highlights the disconnection.

In the crew news, someone asked about the forwards backwards seats that are on some of the 772's and all the 788's. The question was, do we have any plans on retrofitting those seats to the new seats that were delivered on the 789. The OP (FA) stated that they receive many complaints on board about the forwards backwards seats. Before I heard Doug's answer, I was hoping and expecting that yes, they had a plan for the retrofit. Doug didn't know what the OP was talking about.... Like what? So a direct report of a direct report had to jump in with an answer and he said that there were no plans to retrofit the fleet. This blew my mind. If I was going to pay the big bucks for a business class seat, I would want to know exactly the experience that I would be getting. Not whether or not I would get one type of seat vs the other. Vasu jumped in and said that he has heard positive reviews about the rear facing seats (it sounded like he had ridden in the seats at least) and that they had more work space; and that this even possibly serves as a premium on some routes. I have flown the rear facing seats and they are not bad, though I like the newer seats better. The bigger issue in my opinion is inconsistency across the fleet. Now, some of the 772 fleet is in a high J config (45J vs 37J) and that fleet only has the forwards/backwards seats and is primarily concentrated out of one hub. If those were not changed, I would understand but there are a few planes in the 37J config that have them which creates this lotto before you board a flight.
Flown on A319, A320, A321, A330-200, A340-300,600, 717, 737-3,5,7,8,9, 747-400, 757-2, 767-300, 777-200
 
Cubsrule
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:23 pm

Lately, I feel like AA has given up on winning new customers with product. Instead, they have turned up the aggressive status offers - they gave me Platinum a few years ago after I had flown them two or three times the year prior (a couple of those may have been paid F). It’s a curious strategy given that AA hubs in some of the most competitive cities in the world.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
F27500
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:48 pm

No airline gives a crap about "being in touch with" their customers. This comes as a shock ?
 
DarthLobster
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:23 am

vegas005 wrote:
Trying to figure out how in the hell Doug Parker can be the CEO of AA and he has not been on a max...


Probably has, but was too drunk and/or busy trying to buy another airline to remember.
 
MAH4546
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:32 am

Spot on. I've stopped flying AA entirely. To the surprise of nobody, the US Airways culture destroyed the airline. I've been flying Alaska, with some JetBlue Mint sprinkled in, and the difference is night and day. And I have no doubt Delta is leagues ahead of the poor quality US Airways product and customer service that American absorbed.

I'm still an Admirals Club member, though, because the lounge locations work for me and (gasp), AA has actually worked to improve their lounges. I was at the LAX T5 lounge last night before an Alaska flight, and the WiFi password was '737MAX' and I couldn't help but chuckle that AA would be proud of such a horrendously, customer unfriendly configured plane that it would make it the WiFi password for its premium customers.

A lot of their changes don't really bother me - Delta led the way for all of them - but at least Delta invests appropriately in bringing some semblance of humanity to air travel.
Last edited by MAH4546 on Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
a.
 
B737900ER
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:44 am

graham697 wrote:

If they never board their new 'product,' how could they really make that determination? At some point you need to give feedback to your troops and in this business it will require you actually seeing it in real life.

All the decisions regarding their product on the max would have been made before the aircraft was built.

AA knows what their customer looks like and wants. They won’t loose bookings because a lav door doesn’t swing in the ideal manner.
 
IPFreely
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:50 am

B737900ER wrote:
AA knows what their customer looks like and wants. They won’t loose bookings because a lav door doesn’t swing in the ideal manner.


This might be the only sensible post in this thread. The thought of a customer searching for flights, finding one that has the right route, times, and price, then deciding not to book it because the aft lav door is a right hand swing made me laugh out loud.
 
MSPNWA
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:09 am

This "outrage" from Leff and others about AA's Max is one of the most ridiculous sagas I've seen yet. Everything that he has complained about is widespread in the industry. Slimline lavs are already hundreds of legacy airplanes. It's nothing new, and it's nothing that will prevent AA from doing well. The competitive marketplace has forced the hand of airlines, not the other way around.

Leff has zero credibility from me. He's clickbait material.
 
klm617
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:24 am

tcfc424 wrote:
A CASM-only approach is great when you want to fill your plane up with leisure passengers paying the lowest fare possible. If you're looking to pick up (or maintain) the higher fare passengers...primarily frequent business travelers...you really have to look at what you're offering. As a 3-year PLAT with AA and before that a 2-year GOLD at UA, I can tell you what means the most to those of us booking those fares within two weeks, I assure you it's much different than what Uncle Bob and Aunt Lisa are looking for.

I first do a Google Flights search to see the price range and who the players are. I have to stay within $100 on a domestic roundtrip or $400 on an international roundtrip. I can narrow my search down to blocks of 4 hours if I need to try and "massage" those numbers to make my preferred (read-loyalty) carrier work. That gives me the flexibility to usually select the carrier I desire, and/or the itinerary that fits the best for me. UA is an outlier in Austin in this aspect...they are almost always +$150 or more than the DL or AA fare, rendering them unusable. If they were in the ballpark, I would very likely jump ship that fast. DL is intriguing, but they don't have a club in Austin (yet---coming in 2019) and they still aren't as robust as AA or UA for Austin.

Once I have figured out the carrier I'm going to use, I actively look at equipment and amenities. Typically, I fly AA, and as such I have the choice of nice aircraft or nice crew. I hate flying through PHL, CLT, and PHX because the A319's, A320's, and A321's on those routes are awful, even in first class. These are typically the cheaper fares (so someone in revenue management at American knows these are less desirable). On the flip side, I know if I fly through JFK, ORD, DFW, or LAX that I might have a nicer plane but a lackluster crew when it comes to service. I really like the ease of connecting and frequency of flights in DFW...the crews just tend to be nasty.

The bottom line for me...AA is on thin ice with me. They have me locked in for the year, as my company just paid for my Admiral's Club membership. I can guarantee you next year though, with the opening of DL's Sky Club coupled with their ~20% expansion in Austin, its quite possible I jump ship. I really like the comfort+ offering with drinks being included. If AA did that, I would never worry about another upgrade again and would have no reason for my eye to wander. As it is, to me that is valuable, as is DL and UA's unlimited domestic upgrade policy. I know it reduces the frequency of upgrades, but at least you're not laying out miles or $ for a 555 mile flight where they don't even give you a PDB or a refill in flight. Point is, I do have a choice. I will very likely earn PPro or possibly EXP this year. It's not a given that even that will keep me with AA the way they're going. Discount Doug has cheapened AA to an extent that they are losing fliers like me. Daily. It may not mean anything right now as the airlines are printing money, but if things tighten up a little, they will begin to see the fractures.

But what do I know, I only spent $14,000 with them last year.


I assure you a few transfers at ATL and you will and you soon will be tired of DL. You are better off sticking with AA. CS at ATL is some where out of the stone age and you better by yourself a pair of sprinting shoes.. DL on-board product is very good but as far as group staff and customer interaction they have a long way to go.
Last edited by klm617 on Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
the truth does matter, guys. too bad it's often quite subjective. the truth is beyond the mere facts and figures. it's beyond good and bad, right and wrong...
 
axiom
Posts: 721
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:32 am

IPFreely wrote:
B737900ER wrote:
AA knows what their customer looks like and wants. They won’t loose bookings because a lav door doesn’t swing in the ideal manner.


This might be the only sensible post in this thread. The thought of a customer searching for flights, finding one that has the right route, times, and price, then deciding not to book it because the aft lav door is a right hand swing made me laugh out loud.


Now you're the one exaggerating a single observation: the toilet door is an example of how product decisions are having an adverse impact on the customer experience. As a tall person myself, I've noticed how difficult the new lavs are to navigate, and I am also not impressed. Does it mean my travel habits change? Right now, no. But I am conscious of this change, and others, and my loyalty is eroding. We are talking about cumulative changes in perceptions of value. They add up.

I understand perfectly well the quarterly profit motives of executives in this business and others. Doesn't mean that it is the only way to creating and sustaining value.
 
Newbiepilot
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:49 am

From reading the article, it sounds like first off the cabin engineering team made some design mistakes. Lavatory doors, power ports, etc are decisions made within the engineering department at the airline. There could be a number of causes. Not enough competent engineers at headquarters, Management being overly cost conscious, money only being spent on revenue generating products, etc. These are fixable. CEOs aren’t usually involved in decisions on lavatory doors, sinks, etc.
 
rbavfan
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:03 am

tcfc424 wrote:
A CASM-only approach is great when you want to fill your plane up with leisure passengers paying the lowest fare possible. If you're looking to pick up (or maintain) the higher fare passengers...primarily frequent business travelers...you really have to look at what you're offering. As a 3-year PLAT with AA and before that a 2-year GOLD at UA, I can tell you what means the most to those of us booking those fares within two weeks, I assure you it's much different than what Uncle Bob and Aunt Lisa are looking for.

I first do a Google Flights search to see the price range and who the players are. I have to stay within $100 on a domestic roundtrip or $400 on an international roundtrip. I can narrow my search down to blocks of 4 hours if I need to try and "massage" those numbers to make my preferred (read-loyalty) carrier work. That gives me the flexibility to usually select the carrier I desire, and/or the itinerary that fits the best for me. UA is an outlier in Austin in this aspect...they are almost always +$150 or more than the DL or AA fare, rendering them unusable. If they were in the ballpark, I would very likely jump ship that fast. DL is intriguing, but they don't have a club in Austin (yet---coming in 2019) and they still aren't as robust as AA or UA for Austin.

Once I have figured out the carrier I'm going to use, I actively look at equipment and amenities. Typically, I fly AA, and as such I have the choice of nice aircraft or nice crew. I hate flying through PHL, CLT, and PHX because the A319's, A320's, and A321's on those routes are awful, even in first class. These are typically the cheaper fares (so someone in revenue management at American knows these are less desirable). On the flip side, I know if I fly through JFK, ORD, DFW, or LAX that I might have a nicer plane but a lackluster crew when it comes to service. I really like the ease of connecting and frequency of flights in DFW...the crews just tend to be nasty.

The bottom line for me...AA is on thin ice with me. They have me locked in for the year, as my company just paid for my Admiral's Club membership. I can guarantee you next year though, with the opening of DL's Sky Club coupled with their ~20% expansion in Austin, its quite possible I jump ship. I really like the comfort+ offering with drinks being included. If AA did that, I would never worry about another upgrade again and would have no reason for my eye to wander. As it is, to me that is valuable, as is DL and UA's unlimited domestic upgrade policy. I know it reduces the frequency of upgrades, but at least you're not laying out miles or $ for a 555 mile flight where they don't even give you a PDB or a refill in flight. Point is, I do have a choice. I will very likely earn PPro or possibly EXP this year. It's not a given that even that will keep me with AA the way they're going. Discount Doug has cheapened AA to an extent that they are losing fliers like me. Daily. It may not mean anything right now as the airlines are printing money, but if things tighten up a little, they will begin to see the fractures.

But what do I know, I only spent $14,000 with them last year.


If the Airbus are so bad that they are sent to cheaper markets"so someone in revenue management at American knows these are less desirable". Then how do you explain the A321transCon flights JFK-LAX/SFO? Maybe they send them to those markets because they are cheaper to operate so there a re better yields with them? Makes you wonder n that A vs B crap.
 
Cubsrule
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:07 am

rbavfan wrote:
tcfc424 wrote:
A CASM-only approach is great when you want to fill your plane up with leisure passengers paying the lowest fare possible. If you're looking to pick up (or maintain) the higher fare passengers...primarily frequent business travelers...you really have to look at what you're offering. As a 3-year PLAT with AA and before that a 2-year GOLD at UA, I can tell you what means the most to those of us booking those fares within two weeks, I assure you it's much different than what Uncle Bob and Aunt Lisa are looking for.

I first do a Google Flights search to see the price range and who the players are. I have to stay within $100 on a domestic roundtrip or $400 on an international roundtrip. I can narrow my search down to blocks of 4 hours if I need to try and "massage" those numbers to make my preferred (read-loyalty) carrier work. That gives me the flexibility to usually select the carrier I desire, and/or the itinerary that fits the best for me. UA is an outlier in Austin in this aspect...they are almost always +$150 or more than the DL or AA fare, rendering them unusable. If they were in the ballpark, I would very likely jump ship that fast. DL is intriguing, but they don't have a club in Austin (yet---coming in 2019) and they still aren't as robust as AA or UA for Austin.

Once I have figured out the carrier I'm going to use, I actively look at equipment and amenities. Typically, I fly AA, and as such I have the choice of nice aircraft or nice crew. I hate flying through PHL, CLT, and PHX because the A319's, A320's, and A321's on those routes are awful, even in first class. These are typically the cheaper fares (so someone in revenue management at American knows these are less desirable). On the flip side, I know if I fly through JFK, ORD, DFW, or LAX that I might have a nicer plane but a lackluster crew when it comes to service. I really like the ease of connecting and frequency of flights in DFW...the crews just tend to be nasty.

The bottom line for me...AA is on thin ice with me. They have me locked in for the year, as my company just paid for my Admiral's Club membership. I can guarantee you next year though, with the opening of DL's Sky Club coupled with their ~20% expansion in Austin, its quite possible I jump ship. I really like the comfort+ offering with drinks being included. If AA did that, I would never worry about another upgrade again and would have no reason for my eye to wander. As it is, to me that is valuable, as is DL and UA's unlimited domestic upgrade policy. I know it reduces the frequency of upgrades, but at least you're not laying out miles or $ for a 555 mile flight where they don't even give you a PDB or a refill in flight. Point is, I do have a choice. I will very likely earn PPro or possibly EXP this year. It's not a given that even that will keep me with AA the way they're going. Discount Doug has cheapened AA to an extent that they are losing fliers like me. Daily. It may not mean anything right now as the airlines are printing money, but if things tighten up a little, they will begin to see the fractures.

But what do I know, I only spent $14,000 with them last year.


If the Airbus are so bad that they are sent to cheaper markets"so someone in revenue management at American knows these are less desirable". Then how do you explain the A321transCon flights JFK-LAX/SFO? Maybe they send them to those markets because they are cheaper to operate so there a re better yields with them? Makes you wonder n that A vs B crap.


You really think there’s any comparison other than the name between the 319s (either LAA or LUS) and the 321T?

To be clear, I don’t necessarily buy the “Airbus is lousy” argument because the LUS 321 were pretty nice inside, but bringing the 321T into the conversation is like suggesting that the 762s that preceded them somehow excused the 1995 product that was on the 763s for about two decades too long.
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N62NA
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:17 am

AA388 wrote:
The bigger issue in my opinion is inconsistency across the fleet. Now, some of the 772 fleet is in a high J config (45J vs 37J) and that fleet only has the forwards/backwards seats and is primarily concentrated out of one hub. If those were not changed, I would understand but there are a few planes in the 37J config that have them which creates this lotto before you board a flight.


Yep, I thought so and thanks for confirming (I put up a thread about the backwards/forwards 772s fleet being mostly out of JFK). While not a fan of the backwards/forwards, I did choose AA on a high J 772 for an upcoming JFK-LHR over BA with their awful J seat. And I know in advance I will be sitting in a backwards facing seat, so that's OK.

On the way back, it's MXP-MIA on a 772 low J and the seat map says all forward facing but... knowing that there are a few oddball 772s out there with the backwards/forwards low J config is not exactly confidence inspiring that I'll be getting the experience that I booked.
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usxguy
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:22 am

What's interesting is that pre-HP merger, I believe the entire US fleet had power ports in each plane. I don't recall them being at EVERY seat, but I think every seat set had them.
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USAirALB
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:26 am

usxguy wrote:
What's interesting is that pre-HP merger, I believe the entire US fleet had power ports in each plane. I don't recall them being at EVERY seat, but I think every seat set had them.

Pre-HP merger, each seat (in every cabin) had a power-port in the arm-rest of all A319/320/321/333s. Mind you it was just a 2000-era EmPower port that required an adapter, but still it was leagues ahead of NW/DL/CO/UA. I believe that AA was the only other airline that offered in-seat power in Y-but not in all rows.

In-seat power was deactivated in 2008. This was the same time that the drop-down LCD IFE systems were ripped out of the A319/320/321s. The B737 fleet had already had their IFE removed in the 2003-2005 era.
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jetblueguy22
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:30 am

vegas005 wrote:
vegas005 wrote:
Trying to figure out how in the hell Doug Parker can be the CEO of AA and he has not been on a max...that should get him fired immediately. What an out of touch bean counting dork. The world needs to revolve around the client.

lol. This has to be a joke.

are you 13 or what? Flying aircraft and the configuration/service to the client of the airline is the number one job! He has NEVER been on a Max...WTF? He was horrible at US Air and obviously hasn't changed a bit...

Any CEO of a major airline who concerns himself with the way the bathrooms swing open or the exact comfort of the plane has no business being in that position. That is what his direct reports are supposed to be working on. I'd be willing to bet he has a VP of Passenger Experience or some variation of the title.

CEO's job isn't to control the minor details of the company, it's to run the whole company. There is only so much a person can have their hands on before it becomes too much. Going off your argument, he's never shot an ILS or done an A check on a MAX, therefor he has no business buying them.
Look at sweatpants guy. This is a 90 million dollar aircraft, not a Tallahassee strip club
 
crownvic
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:25 am

F27500 wrote:
No airline gives a crap about "being in touch with" their customers. This comes as a shock ?


You pretty much hit the nail on the head. It is 2018. The first industries that were trailblazers of bad customer service were cable and telecommunications industries. They were innovators of bad service. The airlines followed. Why? Because through mergers and consolidation, we have created a situation where competition has been reduced to a point that these industries know where they stand and what they can get away with. This same mentality is now spreading out through other industries as well. Those three industries have made it clear, that bad customer service does little to chase away customers anymore. Most people have adjusted their expectations these days to expect very little wherever they spend their money, and we can thank those first two industries for setting a course in this direction.
 
Chemist
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:05 am

"No airline gives a crap about being in touch with their customers."

I still find WN service to be pretty decent. The hard product is ok - fairly good for economy but nothing outstanding. The soft product is almost consistently good. And the lack of being nickel and dimed is a breath of fresh air, even if/when their fares are no better, or even worse, than the Big 3

It's amusing that WN is still looked on by some has somehow inferior to airlines like AA which in many, many ways is a lot worse -- unless you are up front.
 
StuckinCMHland
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:21 am

Basic business and basic economics is really not that hard. I don't get why so many on this site have such a hard time with it.

StuckinCMHland wrote:
Very interesting post, thanks for putting it up.

Sadly, it seems to me that a lot of people on this board will say that a lack of customer focus is irrelevant. The most important/only thing that matters is CASM and sticking as many people in a plane as possible to maximize profit. People 'want the cheapest flight possible and that's all that matters', and/or 'people want cheap flights and demand good service but you can't have both'. I'm 6' 4" and the last time I flew I barely fit in the bathroom I had to use. I guess we are getting to the point where passengers will have to make sure they finish their 'body maintenance' before they get on the plane because they can't fit in a restroom. Better make sure its only decaf coffee on those flights too.

no we are at the point that you need to pay more money to sit in a better seat with a better lav.
its really not that hard. I am about an inch shorter than you and magically when I fly I don't have issues with the lav, with pitch, with seat width etc.
Why? because I pay more for a seat in at least Y+ but mostly F if I have to fly.

and if it on the rare occasion I have to non-rev I don't complain if I get a crappy seat because I am probably saving a crap ton of money.[/quote]

******


You know 1011, I get sort of tired at constantly hearing that a person understands economics on a.net only if you agree with rock bottom prices, stuffing every plane with more and more seats, selling lotto tickets, and inadequate service is the only way airlines can make money. Eventually the race to the bottom will reach the point that people will be forced to fly in planes that are so uncomfortable they will find other, slower, cheaper, and more comfortable transportation to get where they are going. It's not there yet, but its coming.

And by the way, the last time I flew I flew first class and used the forward restroom. I always fly Y+ or F these days, doing exactly what you supposedly 'suggest I do to get better service'. But I guess that didn't stop you from drawing conclusions and making statements about someone you have never met or talked to before. Thankfully I don't fly AA so I won't have to worry about the restrooms the original poster talked about, yet.

So let me ask you: the next time you use AA and use a bathroom with such a tiny sink and small space you will just say "Great! what a small sink, it's inconvenient and others would have trouble with it, but I saved a few bucks on my airfare and the airline is making more money for its shareholders."
 
dc10lover
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:30 am

American Airlines officials should take a drug test.
Why endure the nightmare and congestion of LAX when BUR, LGB, ONT & SNA is so much easier to fly in and out of.
 
axiom
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:41 am

rbavfan wrote:
tcfc424 wrote:
A CASM-only approach is great when you want to fill your plane up with leisure passengers paying the lowest fare possible. If you're looking to pick up (or maintain) the higher fare passengers...primarily frequent business travelers...you really have to look at what you're offering. As a 3-year PLAT with AA and before that a 2-year GOLD at UA, I can tell you what means the most to those of us booking those fares within two weeks, I assure you it's much different than what Uncle Bob and Aunt Lisa are looking for.

I first do a Google Flights search to see the price range and who the players are. I have to stay within $100 on a domestic roundtrip or $400 on an international roundtrip. I can narrow my search down to blocks of 4 hours if I need to try and "massage" those numbers to make my preferred (read-loyalty) carrier work. That gives me the flexibility to usually select the carrier I desire, and/or the itinerary that fits the best for me. UA is an outlier in Austin in this aspect...they are almost always +$150 or more than the DL or AA fare, rendering them unusable. If they were in the ballpark, I would very likely jump ship that fast. DL is intriguing, but they don't have a club in Austin (yet---coming in 2019) and they still aren't as robust as AA or UA for Austin.

Once I have figured out the carrier I'm going to use, I actively look at equipment and amenities. Typically, I fly AA, and as such I have the choice of nice aircraft or nice crew. I hate flying through PHL, CLT, and PHX because the A319's, A320's, and A321's on those routes are awful, even in first class. These are typically the cheaper fares (so someone in revenue management at American knows these are less desirable). On the flip side, I know if I fly through JFK, ORD, DFW, or LAX that I might have a nicer plane but a lackluster crew when it comes to service. I really like the ease of connecting and frequency of flights in DFW...the crews just tend to be nasty.

The bottom line for me...AA is on thin ice with me. They have me locked in for the year, as my company just paid for my Admiral's Club membership. I can guarantee you next year though, with the opening of DL's Sky Club coupled with their ~20% expansion in Austin, its quite possible I jump ship. I really like the comfort+ offering with drinks being included. If AA did that, I would never worry about another upgrade again and would have no reason for my eye to wander. As it is, to me that is valuable, as is DL and UA's unlimited domestic upgrade policy. I know it reduces the frequency of upgrades, but at least you're not laying out miles or $ for a 555 mile flight where they don't even give you a PDB or a refill in flight. Point is, I do have a choice. I will very likely earn PPro or possibly EXP this year. It's not a given that even that will keep me with AA the way they're going. Discount Doug has cheapened AA to an extent that they are losing fliers like me. Daily. It may not mean anything right now as the airlines are printing money, but if things tighten up a little, they will begin to see the fractures.

But what do I know, I only spent $14,000 with them last year.


If the Airbus are so bad that they are sent to cheaper markets"so someone in revenue management at American knows these are less desirable". Then how do you explain the A321transCon flights JFK-LAX/SFO? Maybe they send them to those markets because they are cheaper to operate so there a re better yields with them? Makes you wonder n that A vs B crap.


This is not an A v B thing - it's a hard product quality issue. The ex-US birds are just older on the whole. The historic US hubs will likely also have lower costs - combo of local labor and facilities costs, more emphasis on connecting volume, etc.
 
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Boeing778X
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:47 am

I'm not a fan of the MAX layout any more than the other guy! 172 in a 738 is absurd!

But to say that AA Management is "out of touch" with customers is an equally preposterous proposition.

Airlines depend on listening to customers, and they do so while still making a buck. We could play the fool and be like Spirit who could give a toss, bet we aren't.
My only concern with the MAX is legroom, but MCE and Business is still there.
United Airlines: $#!ttin' On Everyone Since 1931
 
Blerg
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:29 am

Every time there is a similar topic an army of posters appears informing us that all passengers care for are low fares even if it means they are forced to stand or sit in seats with virtually no legroom.

I tend to disagree. There is only so much you can cut before you go full ghetto. Delta seems to have understood this which is why they have started offering free meals on numerous domestic flights. If Parker and his team were so confident that passengers only care about cheap flights then why did they follow DL's example in stead of just undercutting them? I mean why would anyone fly Delta when American Airlines is $25 cheaper, am I right? Maybe passengers do care about that free sandwich after all.

The same principle applies to the transatlantic race to the bottom. What will happen when all airlines remove all free services? In order to be better than their competition they will start reversing the process by offering more and more free stuff to their customers. People might be ok with flying in abysmal conditions on flights shorter than three hours. However, the longer the flight, the more they start caring about their comfort.
 
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Rookie87
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:53 am

Blerg wrote:
Every time there is a similar topic an army of posters appears informing us that all passengers care for are low fares even if it means they are forced to stand or sit in seats with virtually no legroom.

I tend to disagree. There is only so much you can cut before you go full ghetto. Delta seems to have understood this which is why they have started offering free meals on numerous domestic flights. If Parker and his team were so confident that passengers only care about cheap flights then why did they follow DL's example in stead of just undercutting them? I mean why would anyone fly Delta when American Airlines is $25 cheaper, am I right? Maybe passengers do care about that free sandwich after all.

The same principle applies to the transatlantic race to the bottom. What will happen when all airlines remove all free services? In order to be better than their competition they will start reversing the process by offering more and more free stuff to their customers. People might be ok with flying in abysmal conditions on flights shorter than three hours. However, the longer the flight, the more they start caring about their comfort.


You’d think what you wrote was the case and every flight I’ve been on the AA 321T from/to JFK, a good number of people in economy have no idea that there’s a free wrap, fruit and cheese plate and chips/dessert cookie or brownie.
Just because you might care about the free sandwich, doesn’t mean everyone else does. If what you said proves to be true, all the legacies will reintroduce free meals in coach. If not, then you’d see what we have now on ‘select’ routes. Good for Delta that they soearheaded that. They may or may not have taken a risk to see if they could get value from adding a free sandwich.
 
9w748capt
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:06 am

AA388 wrote:
Guys, I think that everyone is making really good points but I would like to offer another example, from the same crew news, that I think highlights the disconnection.

In the crew news, someone asked about the forwards backwards seats that are on some of the 772's and all the 788's. The question was, do we have any plans on retrofitting those seats to the new seats that were delivered on the 789. The OP (FA) stated that they receive many complaints on board about the forwards backwards seats. Before I heard Doug's answer, I was hoping and expecting that yes, they had a plan for the retrofit. Doug didn't know what the OP was talking about.... Like what? So a direct report of a direct report had to jump in with an answer and he said that there were no plans to retrofit the fleet. This blew my mind. If I was going to pay the big bucks for a business class seat, I would want to know exactly the experience that I would be getting. Not whether or not I would get one type of seat vs the other. Vasu jumped in and said that he has heard positive reviews about the rear facing seats (it sounded like he had ridden in the seats at least) and that they had more work space; and that this even possibly serves as a premium on some routes. I have flown the rear facing seats and they are not bad, though I like the newer seats better. The bigger issue in my opinion is inconsistency across the fleet. Now, some of the 772 fleet is in a high J config (45J vs 37J) and that fleet only has the forwards/backwards seats and is primarily concentrated out of one hub. If those were not changed, I would understand but there are a few planes in the 37J config that have them which creates this lotto before you board a flight.


The Zodiac Concept D seats suck. They are just absolute trash. Boggles my mind why they didn't go with the Cirrus or BE Super Diamond right off the bat. Oh yeah probably to save a buck.

It's appalling to me that years after installation, Dougie et al haven't done a damn thing about the seat-shaking issue. Incredibly disappointing.

Dougie is in it for himself and the shareholders, that's it. If folks are willing to pay for the garbage product AA largely offers, why would he care. Having said that, the 77W J product is fantastic and as good as anyone's. I'd even choose AA over CX to HKG!
 
9w748capt
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:08 am

ldvaviation wrote:
NeBaNi wrote:
Gary Leff from the Boarding Area has a pretty damning article about AA and it's lack of customer focus. He focuses on Doug Parker and the legacy US Airways team and somme of the thinking behind their decisions.

Note that I'm not trying to bash Doug Parker, or AA management here. I think Gary Leff is pretty one sided here, and I would love to hear some counterarguments from A-netizens here. Of course, it goes without saying that I'm not trying to bash Gary Leff either.


Gary Leff panders to the mob. In short, he writes posts like this one to give some perverse satisfaction to his readers, most of whom hate AA because AA made it harder to game AAdvantage.

He could care less about bathrooms in coach. This is a person who prominently displays a picture of himself in a large Business Class bathroom, wearing airline-issued PJ's. (It is not a pretty picture.)


As a former gamer/churner, there's definitely some truth to this. No doubt people like Gary and TPG are making far less in commissions from Citi AA cards than before. They can thank AA's virtually worthless miles and Citi's restrictions on churning for that.
 
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Rookie87
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:09 am

StuckinCMHland wrote:
Basic business and basic economics is really not that hard. I don't get why so many on this site have such a hard time with it.

StuckinCMHland wrote:
Very interesting post, thanks for putting it up.

Sadly, it seems to me that a lot of people on this board will say that a lack of customer focus is irrelevant. The most important/only thing that matters is CASM and sticking as many people in a plane as possible to maximize profit. People 'want the cheapest flight possible and that's all that matters', and/or 'people want cheap flights and demand good service but you can't have both'. I'm 6' 4" and the last time I flew I barely fit in the bathroom I had to use. I guess we are getting to the point where passengers will have to make sure they finish their 'body maintenance' before they get on the plane because they can't fit in a restroom. Better make sure its only decaf coffee on those flights too.

no we are at the point that you need to pay more money to sit in a better seat with a better lav.
its really not that hard. I am about an inch shorter than you and magically when I fly I don't have issues with the lav, with pitch, with seat width etc.
Why? because I pay more for a seat in at least Y+ but mostly F if I have to fly.

and if it on the rare occasion I have to non-rev I don't complain if I get a crappy seat because I am probably saving a crap ton of money.


******


You know 1011, I get sort of tired at constantly hearing that a person understands economics on a.net only if you agree with rock bottom prices, stuffing every plane with more and more seats, selling lotto tickets, and inadequate service is the only way airlines can make money. Eventually the race to the bottom will reach the point that people will be forced to fly in planes that are so uncomfortable they will find other, slower, cheaper, and more comfortable transportation to get where they are going. It's not there yet, but its coming.

And by the way, the last time I flew I flew first class and used the forward restroom. I always fly Y+ or F these days, doing exactly what you supposedly 'suggest I do to get better service'. But I guess that didn't stop you from drawing conclusions and making statements about someone you have never met or talked to before. Thankfully I don't fly AA so I won't have to worry about the restrooms the original poster talked about, yet.

So let me ask you: the next time you use AA and use a bathroom with such a tiny sink and small space you will just say "Great! what a small sink, it's inconvenient and others would have trouble with it, but I saved a few bucks on my airfare and the airline is making more money for its shareholders."[/quote]

And I swear every other post on here someone is 6’4 or 6’5 *eye roll* the plane and the world isn’t built for most 6’4 or 6’5 tall people. Average height Joe and Susan will fit and won’t have an issue with 30” pitch. Average joe doesn’t care nor does he know about the woes of the giants who fly and how ‘inconvenient’ it is for them to use a lav on a piece of equipment flying through the air at close to 500mph at over 30,000 feet. What consumers have proven from the ‘race to the bottom’ as some of you on here call it, is that if Spirit airlines is cheaper, they will fly. They will complain yes but they will fly. Enough to force the legacy airlines to do whatever they can to compete for that lost revenue.
If we are all venting, I am sick of people whining about lav doors and backwards facing seats. In that same crew news video, customers paying for those backwards facing seats have written that they liked them. Vasu mentioned they also gotten complaints but nowhere near enough to justify retrofitting the cabins. If that doesn’t tell you that management listens to their customers, I don’t know what will.

If anything, my issue with AA is the inconsistency in service BUT that’s at ANY company. I’ve had and seen many amazing agents and flight attendants at AA and I’ve also seen some from both groups who’s attitudes were akin to someone who resided in hell. Other than that, their menu continually improves, service is modified, aircraft are updated. All the L-US airbus aircraft will have power ports at every seat by 2019. Most of not all of the wide bodies will have premium economy by this summer? Correct me please. Satellite internet, real food in the lounges instead of snacks, and a 3 class domestic product on transcons out of markets that can support it. Heck, I was ecstatic that they were testing the 321T on LAX-BOS. Anyways, let’s complain about a lav door and a sink because that defines what this amazing site with fellow airline geeks (who are mostly 6’4 and 6’5 apparently) has turned in to
 
9w748capt
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:12 am

Blerg wrote:
Every time there is a similar topic an army of posters appears informing us that all passengers care for are low fares even if it means they are forced to stand or sit in seats with virtually no legroom.

I tend to disagree. There is only so much you can cut before you go full ghetto. Delta seems to have understood this which is why they have started offering free meals on numerous domestic flights. If Parker and his team were so confident that passengers only care about cheap flights then why did they follow DL's example in stead of just undercutting them? I mean why would anyone fly Delta when American Airlines is $25 cheaper, am I right? Maybe passengers do care about that free sandwich after all.

The same principle applies to the transatlantic race to the bottom. What will happen when all airlines remove all free services? In order to be better than their competition they will start reversing the process by offering more and more free stuff to their customers. People might be ok with flying in abysmal conditions on flights shorter than three hours. However, the longer the flight, the more they start caring about their comfort.


I think the airlines realize that too - and I also find it interesting that the premium economy is pretty much a mainstream product now. Airlines clearly realize that the price-conscious customer isn't going to care whether or not the 777 is 9-abreast or 10-abreast in Y. But they also seem to get that there's a subset of passengers that will pay slightly more for a PEY seat (but likely don't want to pay significantly more for J). I think we'll continue to see ghettoization of Y but at the same time more options for passengers willing to pay for more.
 
Blerg
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Re: American's Problem: Management is Out of Touch With Customers

Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:07 am

'Just because you might care about the free sandwich, doesn’t mean everyone else does'

Just because you might not care about the free sandwich doesn't mean everyone else doesn't too. We are talking about highly competitive routes meaning that even after free meals were introduced it is likely fares will remain unchanged. Delta probably understood that they can't destroy their product while offering Spirit-like fares. Their cost structure would never allow them to. It's better to work on their brand so as to justify higher fares in certain markets. This especially applies to cases such as JFK-LAX which is home to a large number of wealthy people who could pay 15% to 30% more just to fly on Delta.

Take a look at Europe. Ryanair and Wizz Air are trying to change their image among travelers. The other day I was pleasantly surprised to find out Wizz Air plays classical music during deplaning. It's definitely a nice touch that brings them closer to legacies.

' I think we'll continue to see ghettoization of Y but at the same time more options for passengers willing to pay for more.'

Which is why it will be interesting to follow what happens with this class of passengers and how different airlines try to attract them, especially legacies vs. lowcost ones.

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