Jim, I agree with you about Crandall. He definitely is one of the most influential airline CEO's in history, although I didn't always agree with his motivations and methods. I guess I should make a distinction here; I think that it IS possible to streamline operations without cutting wages and benefits thereby increasing productivity, but I doubt that few workers will work harder after having their pay cut and increase an airline's productivity in that manner.
Crandall was concerned with empire-building and profit making, both of which he did extremely successfully. He didn't care a whit for either passengers or employees; his concern was to destroy competition and make American the world's largest airline (which he did see briefly during his tenure; Carty had to regain the title for AA later).
The two-tier fare structure, the two-tier wage structure, the FF program, the DFW hub, protecting the Wrong Amendment and keeping fares high in Dallas and the south-central US....Crandall's list of industry-shaping accomplishments, for good and bad, is long. The two-tier fare structure only put off the day of reckoning when the network carriers had to cut their high cost structures. For two decades it worked, and corporate travel departments tolerated it.
But now corporations won't tolerate it, and pax know that they can get lower leisure fares on safe, high-quality low-fare carriers. Crandall's solution has come apart, and the day of economic reckoning is here. The network carriers must reduce their cost structures, and dependence upon $500-$3000 domestic coach unrestricted fares, in order to survive.
Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)