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AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:33 am

Dear All,

in order to consolidate the AA/US merger threads (and after input from users, which we highly appreciate) the moderators decided to start separate threads each discussing one aspect of the AA/US merger and its impact to both the industry and the two airlines involved.

Please continue discussing this hot news in their individual official threads:

AA/US Merger Impact: Fleet
AA/US Merger Impact: Hubs
AA/US Merger Impact: Employees
AA/US Merger Impact: HQ
A/US Merger Impact: Livery
AA/US Merger Impact: Unions
AA/US Merger Impact: Routes
AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service (THIS THREAD ONLY)

Enjoy & have a nice weekend!

The Airliners.net Moderator crew
Please use moderators@airliners.net to contact us.
 
Bobloblaw
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:53 pm

I think AA will have to upgrade the A320 family to some IFE.as such I don't think you'll see the A320 replace any 738s routes.
 
seatback
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:05 pm

I wonder if part of the merger announcement will address concerns regarding pax service at the new American.
 
brilondon
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:35 pm

I just hope that US doesn't bring down AA to their level. I don' t really care. If they can improve like UA has in the last couple of years, then I would not mind them.
Rush for ever; Yankees all the way!!
 
eaglepower83
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:45 pm

This is the topic that worries me the most.
Especially after seeing service, support and attitudes completely crumble at UA.

AA's service is from Acceptable - Amazing.
While US's service is from Crap - Good.

I've flown on US several times and the flights are "fine."
They're just not great or have that feeling of classiness like AA or Delta have.
It's like that Eddie Murphy movie Trading Places.

All I'm saying is, the AA class of service better survive.
If I buy or upgrade to 1st, and I get a snack basket waved in my face on a 3hr trip instead of a meal or warm nuts/cookies, I'm gonna be MAD.
 
vtmaa
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:45 pm

They both can only go one way - Up!
 
jfk777
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:20 pm

The USair A330 Business Class is very similar to AA new 777 J class. Much more in common then United Business and Comtinental Biz First .
 
LuisKMIA
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:34 pm

I've had a chance to fly their premium class domestically and internationally, and I think US would have some serious catching up to do, especially with the unveiling of the 77W.
 
tommy767
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:10 pm

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 1):

Is there a way to install AVOD in Y with the current US Y seats?
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
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1337Delta764
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:40 pm

Quoting tommy767 (Reply 9):
Is there a way to install AVOD in Y with the current US Y seats?

If the system features the Eco 9i Integrated Smart Monitors, then no. The Eco 9i needs a seat (Weber 5751 or B/E Aerospace Pinnacle) specially customized for the monitors. The Eco 9i cannot simply be installed onto any seat that can fit a PTV.
The Pink Delta 767-400ER - The most beautiful aircraft in the sky
 
panampaul
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:47 pm

Quoting tommy767 (Reply 9):
Is there a way to install AVOD in Y with the current US Y seats?

I would assume it would depend on the seat - but perhaps others are more knowledgeable. From the little I know, the cost of retrofitting unless a seat was designed for IFE would be more expensive than replacing the seats.
 
crAAzy
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:47 pm

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 1):
I think AA will have to upgrade the A320 family to some IFE.as such I don't think you'll see the A320 replace any 738s routes.

Do you mean US?

From the first delivery, all AA's A320s family of aircraft will be delivered with the new livery, AVOD, and MCE and the first AA 738 to be delivered with AVOD is rumored to arrive in Q4 of this year.
 
toobz
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:34 pm

No. I think he means AA. They will be their aircraft shortly. I don't see US doing any mods on them before the merger  
 
klkla
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:42 pm

If US's management takes over (which is considered likely) I would expect them to review AA's grand plan for adding IFE to all new domestic aircraft. IMO they will stop this process.

I think they will also review whether an international first class product is necessary on just 20 planes and will probably decide to be consistant and go with just business class at some point in the future. I hope they keep the Envoy brand name. I've always liked the sound of it.
 
USAirALB
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:11 pm

One important thing to remember is that Parker isn't stupid. He and his team quickly realized that what worked for HP on the West Coast wasn't going to work for the new US on the East Coast. They've made some mistakes regarding inflight service, and they've regretted it. IIRC, I think a member of the US management came out maybe a year or so ago and said they regretted removing IFE from domestic aircraft.

One thing to remember that on North American flights, AA and US currently already provide the same bare bones product (with AA having IFE). Customer Service in Y IMO on both airlines is practically the same.

Regarding current US aircraft, their A330s are lovely...both in Y and J. AA's new J product is more or less the same than US's product on their A330s.

I personally think long-haul F will go away. I just don't see the point of having it on a few aircraft. I think PMAA aircraft will likely keep their IFE for the time-being, with PMUS aircraft staying the same.

Quoting klkla (Reply 14):
I hope they keep the Envoy brand name.

  
E135/E140/E145/E70/E75/E90/CR2/CR7/CR9/717/732/733/734/735/73G/738/739/752/753/762/772/77W/319/320/321/333/343
 
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1337Delta764
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:20 pm

Quoting USAirALB (Reply 15):
One important thing to remember is that Parker isn't stupid. He and his team quickly realized that what worked for HP on the West Coast wasn't going to work for the new US on the East Coast. They've made some mistakes regarding inflight service, and they've regretted it. IIRC, I think a member of the US management came out maybe a year or so ago and said they regretted removing IFE from domestic aircraft.

One thing to remember that on North American flights, AA and US currently already provide the same bare bones product (with AA having IFE). Customer Service in Y IMO on both airlines is practically the same.

Regarding current US aircraft, their A330s are lovely...both in Y and J. AA's new J product is more or less the same than US's product on their A330s.

I personally think long-haul F will go away. I just don't see the point of having it on a few aircraft. I think PMAA aircraft will likely keep their IFE for the time-being, with PMUS aircraft staying the same.

He isn't stupid, but it is a well-known fact that he doesn't care at all for his customers; he only cares about making money. I'd be very surprised if IFE is kept on domestic flights for this very reason.

If Doug Parker does get rid of IFE on AA domestic flights, perhaps this could convince DL to add AVOD onto more domestic aircraft to win loyal AA FFs to DL.

[Edited 2013-02-08 13:23:47]
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AeroWesty
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:49 pm

Quoting klkla (Reply 14):
I hope they keep the Envoy brand name. I've always liked the sound of it.

I do as well. I like the convention of naming Business Class with a brand/moniker unique to the carrier, like UA used to have Connoisseur Class, TWA had Ambassador Class, etc.
International Homo of Mystery
 
einsteinboricua
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Sat Feb 09, 2013 4:50 am

I don't think the A32Xs are going to be upgraded in the near term. I think that we may see some leave the fleet as more 737NGs and MAX, and A32X NEOs come in to fill the void left by the MD80s and older A32Xs.

I'd be happy with at least a TV with a movie. When the shortest flight with US it at least 3:30hrs from/to SJU, you know you will get bored.

Also, I always wondered why both AA and US don't have personal snacks like DL. Some free peanuts/pretzels/cookies would really hit the spot.

Quoting klkla (Reply 14):
I hope they keep the Envoy brand name. I've always liked the sound of it.

The American Envoy Class...a bit of both and it sounds snazzy!
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
ckfred
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:47 am

Take this for what it's worth. AA employees tell me that Parker admits the US product, particularly in the front cabin, isn't on a par with American. US can't get the same yields that AA does, so the product isn't as good.

Combining AA and US would mean that the US product would come up to AA standards.

Now, this is where I get cynical. A lot of AA employees think that AA executives can't be taken at their word, but they are buying into what Parker & Co. are saying.

Yet, I've read comments from road warriors loyal to AA and US, and they seem to think that AA's product will get downgraded.
 
ckfred
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:54 am

I'll bring this up, because this seems to be the most appropriate thread. What will happen with the F/F programs?

Here's my concern. I have lifetime gold status with AAdvantage. Will Parker keep lifetime status? I can't seem to find anything about that on the US website.

Also, which credit card will survive? AA uses Citi for its AAdvantage card. US uses Barclays for is Dividend Miles card. Considering that Citi is the much larger bank with far more branches, it seems that Citi would be the no brainer. But, who knows.
 
AA94
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Sat Feb 09, 2013 3:21 pm

Quoting LuisKMIA (Reply 7):
I've had a chance to fly their premium class domestically and internationally, and I think US would have some serious catching up to do, especially with the unveiling of the 77W.

  

Recently flew US to LAX. Flights were fine, but extremely bare bones.

Quoting klkla (Reply 14):
If US's management takes over (which is considered likely) I would expect them to review AA's grand plan for adding IFE to all new domestic aircraft. IMO they will stop this process.

  

This is what I'm afraid of.

Quoting USAirALB (Reply 15):
One thing to remember that on North American flights, AA and US currently already provide the same bare bones product (with AA having IFE). Customer Service in Y IMO on both airlines is practically the same.

As an AA FF, I would strongly disagree. I recently flew US for the first time in ~5 years. Six legs, hitting all the domestic hubs (save for DCA). While the hard service was generally the same, it's the soft service that really differs.

On all flights but one, the US crews had attitudes, gossiped about other crew members, and seemed generally put off by the fact that they were at work today. That's not to say that all US crews are like this, or that AA doesn't have its share of bad apples, but the general disdain that the US staff treated passengers with, on the ground and in the air, was mind-boggling.

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 16):
He isn't stupid, but it is a well-known fact that he doesn't care at all for his customers; he only cares about making money. I'd be very surprised if IFE is kept on domestic flights for this very reason.

  

If he cared, US aircraft would have IFE. But he doesn't, and they don't.

Quoting ckfred (Reply 19):
Combining AA and US would mean that the US product would come up to AA standards.

Let's hope so.
If you can't take the heat, you best get out of the kitchen
 
coachclass
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:55 pm

Long gone are the days of "Something Special in the Air." Does the new merged AA want to become a low cost international carrier with low service levels or does it take this opportunity to re-brand itself into becoming the premier U.S. carrier?

I agree that the in-flight service for Y is about the same between AA and US except for variations in video and Wifi.. Don't know about business class. I'm curious to see how they adjust their menus for international flights. Right now they both have extensive special meals. Will that be severely cut like at UA/CO? Free drinks in Y or free beer and wine like AA now serves? And, seat pitch and seat comfort, will they favor the customers or the penny pinchers?
.
 
QANTASvJet
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:43 pm

The way in which the AA re-branding was done (undeniably very slick launch, regardless of what you think of the livery they chose) and the launch of the new 777W service, appear to suggest that the existing AA management want to move the AA brand upmarket. Seems to me you can read that various ways:
1) They are not actually serious - they know that all is lost and it all amounted to a giant slap-up party and 2-fingers in the air to the incoming US management
2) They are serious, they think that the whole of AA/US can be instantly re-branded and simultaneously moved up-market, and they are right
3) They are serious, they think that the whole of AA/US can be instantly re-branded and simultaneously moved up-market, but they are wrong, given how long these things take and what the new airline would be inheriting in terms of out-dated product, poor labour (labor) relations, US management philosophy, their own poor management track record, etc
4) They are thinking in terms of product differentiation, at least for the foreseeable future, with a gradual but deliberate shift towards an up-market AA brand where premium business can justify it, and a value US brand for the rest. They could share frequent-flyer program(me), coordinate schedules etc, but customers would know in advance what level of service they would be getting, and would be charged a reasonable price for the product.
 
MAH4546
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:54 pm

AA's IFE plans and F (which will be on more than 20 planes) are t going anywhere. Parker isn't an idiot. He knows why AA outperforms UA and DL on revenue metrics - including being the highest average fare carrier at JFK, LGA and LAX. He isn't going to give away AA's biggest strength and hurt the product.

US has never had an incentive to provide good service because it's never the highest revenue generator outside of its fortress hubs.
a.
 
klkla
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:17 pm

Parker is definitely not an idiot... That is why he's likely to assume control of the company and not Horton. There has been a lot of skepticism from the creditors and Wall Street about AA's BK emergence plan... So much so that the board made it clear that they want new management to take over.

I think AA's ambitious fleet renewal which many say is too highly dependent on short term leases will be reviewed as well as all aspects of the inflight product. Expect big changes.
 
Flighty
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:25 pm

Quoting QANTASvJet (Reply 23):
appear to suggest that the existing AA management want to move the AA brand upmarket.

It is possible to move the _brand_ upmarket while cutting costs. Every business should dream of doing so. JetBlue has done it.

"New American" is a blank slate and can be whatever the prevailing management team (a combination of US and AA executives) decides is good.
 
ckfred
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:45 pm

Quoting AA94 (Reply 21):
Quoting ckfred (Reply 19):Combining AA and US would mean that the US product would come up to AA standards.

Let's hope so.

My point was that AA employees are so disenchanted with management that they would believe anyone outside of AA, regardless of his or her track record.

I would believe Tom Horton's plan about improving AA, before I would accept at face value what Parker says he will do. I think Parker's ego is bigger than the State of Texas, and he'll sell snake oil to both the unions and the creditors, in order to get his hands on AA.
 
jcavinato
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:32 pm

One thing that I hope migrates over to the combined airline is how a gate is managed (counter, lining up, and loading). AA is predictable and nicely done. Very professional. US seems to be something that high school kids have just learned how to do. It always seems chaotic. But, even with that this type of behavior doesn't seem to hold up the actual departure most of the time. This just gives the company an image that it doesn't have its act together, and it is an area that strongly creates part of the overall image and reputation of any airline. I hope that cleans up across the entire new company.
 
questions
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:29 am

Will Doug Parker elevate AA to a premium airline, especially in the premium cabins or will the service take the lwest common denominator approach?
 
toobz
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:49 am

I think it's too soon to tell. Nobody knows, regardless of how they will try to tell us. Time will tell. Parker is known for his no frills approach but he may try something different with the new AA.
 
panampaul
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:25 pm

Quoting questions (Reply 29):
Will Doug Parker elevate AA to a premium airline, especially in the premium cabins or will the service take the lwest common denominator approach?

I've seen many examples of where a CEO from one company turns out to be completely different when he takes the helm of another.

I suspect we'll see a different DP at AA - and that American will continue to move upscale versus adopting the lowest common denominator.
 
Bobloblaw
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:43 pm

Quoting klkla (Reply 14):
If US's management takes over (which is considered likely) I would expect them to review AA's grand plan for adding IFE to all new domestic aircraft. IMO they will stop this process.

Wont happen. They know they are operating a different airline. Parker et al act they way they do because of where they are, they arent inherently about stripping costs that will impact revenues. You change your strategy depending on what youre managing. People here seem to think there is Doug Parker and he'll manage the same way regardless of what it is he is managing.

Quoting klkla (Reply 14):
I think they will also review whether an international first class product is necessary on just 20 planes and will probably decide to be consistant and go with just business class at some point in the future. I hope they keep the Envoy brand name. I've always liked the sound of it.

Wont happen. Where AA offers F class there is actually F class demand.

Quoting mah4546 (Reply 24):
US has never had an incentive to provide good service because it's never the highest revenue generator outside of its fortress hubs.

Correct, ditto for NW. I am amazed youre the only one who correctly sees this.
 
frontierflyer
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:00 am

The only reason I fly AA exclusively is for the decent service in F. I'd rather fly WN than pay for the mediocre F that US, UA and DL offer.
 
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cageyjames
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:32 am

Do people really still want the IFE? Give me WiFi but streaming videos using GoGo. That's the future, not some wacky panasonic IFE. Let me use my devices and GoGo/AA makes a buck either way.

Hell, it's got to be cheaper all around for AA. Rent iPads and then you've got better revenue.

I should have been an airline exec... *cough*
 
MAH4546
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:36 am

Quoting cageyjames (Reply 34):
Hell, it's got to be cheaper all around for AA. Rent iPads and then you've got better revenue.

In no way, shape or form is that cheaper. From inventory to handing them out to theft prevention, renting iPads cost a fortune.

New IFE systems are lightweight, reliable and can stream from a central server locally on board the plane. And you can still charge money for renting content.
a.
 
jayunited
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:49 am

Quoting questions (Reply 29):
Will Doug Parker elevate AA to a premium airline, especially in the premium cabins or will the service take the lwest common denominator approach?

I think it all depends on the entire management team that will take over when the new AA merger legally closes. If there is a mix of people from both airlines then the new AA should continue on the approach that AA is currently on right now. But if Doug Parker brings his own team and that team thinks they have all the answers like Jeff Smisek did when he took over UA then you might have a problem because it is too completely different cultures and I'm not talking about the people I'm talking about the way both airlines are ran and the products that they offer their passengers.

Hopefully Doug Parker once this merger really gets off the ground will use Jeff Smisek and United as an example of WHAT NOT TO DO when merging to completely different companies.
 
AAplat4life
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:20 pm

Quoting jayunited (Reply 36):
Hopefully Doug Parker once this merger really gets off the ground will use Jeff Smisek and United as an example of WHAT NOT TO DO when merging to completely different companies.

I normally fly AA but flew UA a few times recently and have to say that I was impressed overall. The crew/employees were very professional, the planes were clean and the in-flight service was good (much as it is today with any airline). Yes, there have been integration problems at UA, but I suspect that they were due to technology problems UA had before the merger.

AA does not have the same level of technology problems. In fact, its technology appears to be pretty good, although its website (even after the updates) is somewhat rudimentary. US also has pretty good technology. This is one of the biggest hurdles to a successful integration, but I think there is a good chance they'll pull this aspect off.

The AA in-flight service on most domestic routes remains pretty basic. In coach, one can get a full can of soda, but the coffee is bad and the food for purchase choices are adequate (UA is much better here). The seats are uncomfortable even in the newer aircraft. In First, there were some recent updates to meal service which were an improvement, but the food was so bad for so long that this hardly seems to be the standard Parker and Co. should strive for. And the AA boarding process has become a mess with so many different boarding "premium" tiers that undermines control of the situation and appears to increase the time it takes to board the aircraft.

I think that one of the biggest problems at AA in the last decade or so has been implementation. Management simply does not have a track record of successes. Parker does have a good track record (and Kirby), and so the odds are better of a successful integration with them running the show.
 
brilondon
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:51 pm

Quoting jfk777 (Reply 6):
The USair A330 Business Class is very similar to AA new 777 J class. Much more in common then United Business and Comtinental Biz First

Yeah, no it's not.

Quoting klkla (Reply 14):

If US's management takes over (which is considered likely) I would expect them to review AA's grand plan for adding IFE to all new domestic aircraft. IMO they will stop this process.

I think they will also review whether an international first class product is necessary on just 20 planes and will probably decide to be consistant and go with just business class at some point in the future. I hope they keep the Envoy brand name. I've always liked the sound of it.
Quoting ckfred (Reply 19):
Yet, I've read comments from road warriors loyal to AA and US, and they seem to think that AA's product will get downgraded.

I have a bad feeling about this topic that I hope doesn't come to fruition, but that the AA product will rapidly if not automatically become the crap they have on US. Snarly F/A's who could not do less if they tried method of customer service reflects on the management at US. It is sad that the possibility of US crap service will become what the AA service will be. Funny how if I have to fly to London on short notice that the only option for business is US. I think that speaks volumes on how they are perceived.
Rush for ever; Yankees all the way!!
 
eaglepower83
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:33 pm

IDK, I still enjoy IFE on a flight.
Just a few weeks ago my friends and I were playing Trivia against eachother on whatever IFE system Delta has on their 757s.
AND!!!!!
Delta still gives out spretzels and cookies...........and blankets in coach! How on earth do they do that?
 
jayunited
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RE: AA/US Merger Impact: Inflight Service

Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:37 pm

Quoting AAplat4life (Reply 37):
Quoting jayunited (Reply 36):
Hopefully Doug Parker once this merger really gets off the ground will use Jeff Smisek and United as an example of WHAT NOT TO DO when merging to completely different companies.

I normally fly AA but flew UA a few times recently and have to say that I was impressed overall. The crew/employees were very professional, the planes were clean and the in-flight service was good (much as it is today with any airline). Yes, there have been integration problems at UA, but I suspect that they were due to technology problems UA had before the merger.

While what you are saying is truthful and as an employee of UA I appreciate your statement.
What I was getting at was I hope that the AA/US merger is really a merger of 2 the 2 management teams which is not what happened at with UA/CO. PMCO management team walked in and thought they had all the answers to what they perceived to be PMUA problems. Although legally on paper United merged with Continental however in reality during the year and a half maybe more it was more like a take over of United by Continental management. Now things have gotten much better and there is a mutual respect more working together between UA and CO upper management teams because they now realize both companies have their strengths and weakness and in order to make this merger work no one company has all the answers neither company had any similarities going in.

All I am saying is American has made a lot of progress while in bankruptcy and I hope that Doug Parker and his team respects what AA has done so far and what they plan to do in the future, and will have an open minded approach from day one and really approach this as a true merger and don't do what Jeff Smisek and his team did over here at UA. Because if they don't the new AA will experience the same results the now combined UA is experiencing really pissed off customers and pissed off employees.