ADrum23
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What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:44 am

In recent years, it seems AA has been making big blunders (strategic-wise) and is falling behind. This has been discussed in various threads over the last few months, but I wanted a consolidated thread. Some of AA's strategic blunders I've seen people discuss on this forum/in the news (as well as some of my own observations) have been

1. Continued degradation of hard and soft product on its flights as well as having perhaps the worst legroom, seat pitch of the US3.

2. Having the most geographically unbalanced hub network of the US3. ORD is their only hub not located on the east coast or a state bordering Mexico.

3. Continued drawdown of ORD TATL (and TPAC) flying.

4. Continued drawdown of their NYC hubs. AA should be the biggest in NYC, not DL, but they shrank, made bad slot swap deals (yes, that was pre-merger US Airways, but Mr. Parker the current CEO made the deal) and allowed both DL (and B6) to eat their lunch at JFK and LGA.

5. Not forming a jv with WS. Seriously, AA should have been the one to form a jv with WS, not DL. Now AA won't have a North American airline partner.

6. Not utilizing DFW more like DL does with ATL (i.e, upgauging more flights to mainline and expanding closer to 1,000 overall flights).

7. Lack of a true TPAC hub and the weakest TPAC presence of the US3.

8. Ranking up a lot of long-term debt compared to UA/DL

And I could go on, but I won't. Please note this is not me trying to bash AA (I could make one of these for UA and DL as well), but AA it just seems like they have the weakest outlook due to retreating from key markets and some bad strategic blunders. Also note that I do not necessarily believe all of the above blunders to be actual blunders because I do not know the facts behind them (particularly #8), I just added them because I've seen people talk about it.

I want to know why AA seems to be retreating all around and what can be done to reverse the trend.
 
4engines4lnghll
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:51 am

They have their reasons and for starters DFW has beefed up in the past 5 years. Tremendously. I don’t think we need another airline bashing topic being discussed.
4engines4lnghll
 
lavalampluva
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:59 am

It seems as though U.S. carriers as a whole aren’t doing as well on TPAC flights as in the past.
Remind me to send a thank you note to Mr. Boeing.
 
jagraham
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:42 am

With regards to hubs, AA has hubs in 7 of the top ten metro areas (JFK/LGA, LAX, ORD, DCA, PHL, DFW, MIA), and focus cities in 2 (SFO, BOS). HOU is the only one of the top ten metro areas where AA is not represented. They also have hubs at PHX #14 (the rest of 11 thru 15 are SEA and 3 DL fortress hubs) and CLT in the southeast. The best hub / focus structure among the US3 I think.

With regards to international travel, AA chose to depend heavily on BA and JL in bankruptcy. It will take a long time to recover from that.

As far as drawdowns at ORD and DFW, I don't think so. The numbers don't support that. Have they built up as much as they could? No, and that is a legacy of previous management and the bankruptcy. Also, HP management is not best for international networks, but they will eventually figure that out.

The MD-80 issues don't help, but AA is getting past that.

There are also integration issues - AA has been scheduling crews in an integrated fashion for less than a year - and regional jet restructuring.

Previous management was willing to concede some major metro areas, but current management is fighting on more fronts. The stinger gates at ORD and their impact on terminal expansion is just one example. Competitive hubs can be difficult and time consuming to reconfigure.

Finally, while DL has a bit over 1000 departures at ATL daily, AA has about 670 at CLT, about 260 at DCA, and about 800 at DFW. Over 1600 departures to do what DL is doing with around 1000. Plus MIA and PHL. AA has the Southeast covered.
 
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NWAROOSTER
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:52 am

The merger between US Airways and American was a merger of desperation. US Airways was going to disappear as no other major carrier wanted to combine with them.
This blog should really be LOCKED. :old:
Procrastination Is The Theft Of Time.......
 
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SumChristianus
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:06 am

Interesting reversal I will say. AA was on top of the world in 2015, at least apparently.
In NYC they seem in retreat.
In ORD they are....? (Adding and Dropping)
I feel that UA taking Kirby has hurt AA a lot (usual disclaimer that I have a UA bias) BUT financial results now have UA ahead of AA in pre-tax, operating, and net margins.
https://hub.united.com/united-airlines- ... 51625.html
https://americanairlines.gcs-web.com/ne ... 018-profit

Could just be a quarter to quarter fluke... but I think Kirby is the best thing UA has had in a long time , and AA/UA are converging.

AA's fleet numbers (mainline+regional) are down YOY (1583 down to 1559) while UA is up (1223 to 1308)

Can't wait to see what the scene is like by 2020!
UA DL LH NW AA --- Next IND-ATL-DEN: WN 73G/738
"Born in Wonder, Brought to Wisdom"
 
TYSflyer
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:15 am

AA has quietly been increasing mainline out of DFW to small stations over the last few years. CHS, CAE, GSP, SAV and XNA next month just to name a few. May not be as dramatic as DL at ATL but they are doing it.
 
9w748capt
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:37 am

Funny how DL continues to invest in its product even in steerage (PTVs, improved meals), yet dougie just cuts cuts cuts. No wonder DL's market cap is double that of AA, and with a worthless FFP too.
 
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neomax
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:37 am

Doug Parker.

There are tons of reasons why AA has fallen behind but a legacy airline being run by former US management HAS got to be one of the top, if not the top reason for the disaster they are currently in.

What does give me hope is that UA was in an essentially identical mess for several years post merger with CO under the reign of Smisek. For a long time, many including myself believed that nothing could save them after how far they had fallen, but under Munoz, they have not only recovered but surpassed both AA and DL in many aspects.

At the end of the day, I think Doug Parker (and by extension LUS management) probably has a significant role in this, but at the same time I can't completely blame them because almost all mergers that put the secondary management in primary control have suffered a similar fate so I can't say I'm surprised. It may be shocking to some people, but a legacy airline needs to be run by legacy people; running AA with US management was destined to end badly. Legacy airlines are a completely different beast for people that have not worked there for many years. Things like the sheer scale of operations, international reach, and importance of premium pax are things that US management will never be able to comprehend as well as that of legacy AA. You need people with a clean and unified outlook of the new joined company, not somebody coming from one side and trying to understand the other. Both DL and UA have moved on with fresh blood under Bastian and Munoz; AA needs to do the same if it wants to regain lost ground.
Last edited by neomax on Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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ElroyJetson
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:38 am

I do think DL and UA have made better strategic decisions over the last five or so years than AA.

However, AA has an excellent JV with BA and three outstanding hubs in CLT, DFW, and MIA. They'll be fine.
707 717 727 72S 737 733 737-700 747 757 753 767-300 764 A319 A320 DC-9-10 DC-9-30 DC-9-50, MD-82 MD-88 MD-90 DC-10-10 DC-10-40 F-100
 
MAH4546
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:00 am

Doug Parker and the incredibly toxic culture of US Airways that PMUS employees spread brought down AA. It will take a lot to fix this failing airline.
a.
 
Buffalomatt1027
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:04 am

Easy ..... the philly airport as a hub does not work. Delays .... delays .... delays ....and rude staff.
 
grbauc
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:06 am

SumChristianus wrote:
Interesting reversal I will say. AA was on top of the world in 2015, at least apparently.
In NYC they seem in retreat.
In ORD they are....? (Adding and Dropping)
I feel that UA taking Kirby has hurt AA a lot (usual disclaimer that I have a UA bias) BUT financial results now have UA ahead of AA in pre-tax, operating, and net margins.
https://hub.united.com/united-airlines- ... 51625.html
https://americanairlines.gcs-web.com/ne ... 018-profit

Could just be a quarter to quarter fluke... but I think Kirby is the best thing UA has had in a long time , and AA/UA are converging.

AA's fleet numbers (mainline+regional) are down YOY (1583 down to 1559) while UA is up (1223 to 1308)

Can't wait to see what the scene is like by 2020!



It sure appears that Kirby Was the Yin to Doug's Yang. He balanced DP. AA is ready for a new fresh vision. They have gone through some amazing changes and have a bright Future. DP has done the impossible and books will be written. AA needs some Fresh Vision and blood. DP leave WHILE on top Like MJ In basketball.
 
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compensateme
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:10 am

Oh boy, lots of a.bet fan fiction coming into play...

ADrum23 wrote:
1. Continued degradation of hard and soft product on its flights as well as having perhaps the worst legroom, seat pitch of the US3.


I could comment on this, but I’ll give it to you - your only point that’s remotely close to your overall assertion.

2. Having the most geographically unbalanced hub network of the US3. ORD is their only hub not located on the east coast or a state bordering Mexico.


Each of the US3’s hub structure has its strengths and weaknesses; saying AA’s is “most geographically unbalanced” is ridiculous.

3. Continued drawdown of ORD TATL (and TPAC) flying.


You’re being dramatic here. AA has historically played musical chairs with its Atlantic services, and its Pacific services were heavy loss makers. You can often get Businesa Class seats on the Chinaese carriers for RT$1800 — kinda hard to compete with that, nor does it help that UA was allowed a nearly 20 year headstart in the market.

4. Continued drawdown of their NYC hubs. AA should be the biggest in NYC, not DL, but they shrank, made bad slot swap deals (yes, that was pre-merger US Airways, but Mr. Parker the current CEO made the deal) and allowed both DL (and B6) to eat their lunch at JFK and LGA.


Bad swap deal? Huh? Most analysts agree AA has solid margins on its (shrinking) NYC services, meanwhile DL is projected - at best - to break even : low single digit margin (both UA and AA have pointed this out to their investors). Those slots didn’t make money for US, and don’t appear to be doing so for DL. The DCA slots they acquired, OTOH...

Remember: AA is a for-profit corporation, it does not exisit to satisfy the egos of a.netters who’ve decided it’s their favorite airline.

5. Not forming a jv with WS. Seriously, AA should have been the one to form a jv with WS, not DL. Now AA won't have a North American airline partner.


Unless you know what WS’s demands were, this is kinda a silly statement.

6. Not utilizing DFW more like DL does with ATL (i.e, upgauging more flights to mainline and expanding closer to 1,000 overall flights).


Uh, please explain how AA fails to utilize DFW like DL does ATL. You do realize ATL has an inherent geographic challenge over DFW in terms of moving massive amounts of traffic along the East Coast to Florida and points West?

7. Lack of a true TPAC hub and the weakest TPAC presence of the US3.


Only UA, due to its long term dominance of SFO, has a true TPAC hub. But AA’s is sufficient, and flying to secondary cities in Asia means more to a.netters than the prime business travelers the US3 compete for.

8. Ranking up a lot of long-term debt compared to UA/DL


Buying new planes will do that. AA will be retiring it’s oldest 738; aircraft delivered during a similar time period at DL are considered young (for it)...
We don’t care what your next flight is.
 
RvA
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:12 am

Can someone do a seat pitch comparison by aircraft type of the US carriers? (Not just US3)
As an outsider I keep reading about AA (though some threads say UA) have terrible seat pitch so a comparison would be great.
 
strfyr51
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:21 am

Just like many Mergers? American is Run by S-USAir management. And as much as it pains me to say it?
They might not be up to the JOB of running a GLOBAL airline American always had guys in the bullpen when Bob Crandall was the CEO but I suspect the S-US management got rid of them the same way S-CO guys got rid of the S-UA management or the most part. Later? Most of them were shown the door as well which is why United is performing so well, Not EVERYBODY can run a Global Airline. There's certainly no School for it Obviously. I suspect the BOD of American might have to do some searching because there ARE some good airline managers out there.
 
mrbonfire
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:28 am

ADrum23 wrote:
or a state bordering Mexico.

I never knew Florida or Alabama bordered Mexico.
 
CV880
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:35 am

Unbalanced hub structure it isn't. Amusing the reference of hubs in states next to Mexico when DL has 4 of its hubs (SEA, MSP, DTW & NYC) in states next to Canada.
 
QXAS
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:41 am

RvA wrote:
Can someone do a seat pitch comparison by aircraft type of the US carriers? (Not just US3)
As an outsider I keep reading about AA (though some threads say UA) have terrible seat pitch so a comparison would be great.

These measurements are for 738 on AA, AS, DL, SY, UA and WN. A320 on F9, NK and B6. A321 for HA.
AA 30”
AS 31”-32”
DL 31”-32”
SY 31”-33”
UA 31”
WN 32”-33”
F9 28”-29”
NK 28”
B6 34”
HA 31”-32”
Disclaimer: Some airlines use slimline seats. Others do not, as a result 31” on one airline will feel different than 31” on another. Measurements from seatguru.
I am NOT an employee of any airline or manufacturer. I speak for myself, not on the behalf of any company.
 
cheapgreek
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:52 am

US wasted the LGA slots by flooding small routes with Dash's, there were many larger markets that could have been more profitable especially in the countries largest market. US went through as some called it chapter 22, chapter 11 twice within a few years and they were the only major to charge for water. Morale was at an all time low and somehow DP and his pals have stayed on to denigrate the level of service AA had before the merger. They hung on to the Dash's too long, people did not like them and when RJ's were added, customers had glowing comments on the more pleasant ride. When they were adding seats to the 737-800's, their response was, " Delta is adding seats and we need to keep up with them." I always thought you always wanted to be better, one up on your competition, not have a race to the bottom. There was always a difference in customer service between AA and US, US was take it or leave it, over the years they grew arrogant because of having a monopoly in the northeast. With Southwest and JetBlue dropping anchor in the northeast, US was in trouble because fares were dropping and the other carriers product was better. AA has great hubs and with better management, they could do better.
 
RvA
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:16 am

QXAS wrote:
RvA wrote:
Can someone do a seat pitch comparison by aircraft type of the US carriers? (Not just US3)
As an outsider I keep reading about AA (though some threads say UA) have terrible seat pitch so a comparison would be great.

These measurements are for 738 on AA, AS, DL, SY, UA and WN. A320 on F9, NK and B6. A321 for HA.
AA 30”
AS 31”-32”
DL 31”-32”
SY 31”-33”
UA 31”
WN 32”-33”
F9 28”-29”
NK 28”
B6 34”
HA 31”-32”
Disclaimer: Some airlines use slimline seats. Others do not, as a result 31” on one airline will feel different than 31” on another. Measurements from seatguru.


Interesting. I heard the 738s AA have are 31" with the exception of the MAX and the retrofitted 172 seater versions (instead of 160) of the 738 - of which not many were done? Is that not correct?

Great info anyway thanks for sharing. I wonder what the A319-321 comparison looks like.
 
KLDC10
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:33 am

strfyr51 wrote:
There's certainly no School for it Obviously. I suspect the BOD of American might have to do some searching because there ARE some good airline managers out there.


For many years, American Airlines was the school for airline managers. The so-called "Brat Pack" was where Thomas Horton (former AA CEO) Ben Baldanza (former Spirit CEO) and Doug Parker himself got their start in the airline industry. The CEO at the time was Bob Crandall, and the company was heavily focused on innovation and raising a new generation of leaders.
DC9/MD90/MD11/F70/BAE146
737/738/739/744/748/752/763/772/789
A319/A320/A321/A332/A333/A346/A359
Q400/E170/E175/E190/CS300
 
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jfklganyc
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:50 am

This is Doug Parker’s airline. And Doug Parker’s playbook.

I knew NY was in trouble when the merger occurred. He is just repeating his NY mistake like he did with US.

He will draw down JFK and be stuck with an empty terminal and slots...a sale, swap or lease will occur...and then he will have a bunch of wortheless regional routes out of LGA and little international to pair it with out of JFK.

Im not going to bash other cities. The reality is, there are no medium sized legacies anymore. Dougie is making decisions like he is running a medium sized airline.

Medium sized airlines have flagship hubs in secondary cities like Philly. And yes, in the great cities in the US, Philly is secondary.

When you have 3 big legacies, and only 3 big legacies...you need to be big in NY and LA. And if you’re smart, you compete to be the largest in both.

Everything else beyond that is gravy...even if the mid continent fortress hubs print money.

By leaving NY because it is a 3 way slugfest, the short term revenue effects look great. The long term consequences of degrading NY (and lookout here comes Delta in LAX) will be detrimental to AAs standing within the US3
 
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intotheair
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:59 am

jagraham wrote:
With regards to hubs, AA has hubs in 7 of the top ten metro areas (JFK/LGA, LAX, ORD, DCA, PHL, DFW, MIA), and focus cities in 2 (SFO, BOS). HOU is the only one of the top ten metro areas where AA is not represented. They also have hubs at PHX #14 (the rest of 11 thru 15 are SEA and 3 DL fortress hubs) and CLT in the southeast. The best hub / focus structure among the US3 I think.


I will give you BOS. But calling SFO an AA focus city is a huge stretch. Sure, it gets occasional widebodies and the transcon service, but AA only goes to its other hubs from there. I suppose there's the AS codeshare, but that is much less powerful than it used to be and is almost a non-factor by this point.

ADrum23 wrote:
2. Having the most geographically unbalanced hub network of the US3. ORD is their only hub not located on the east coast or a state bordering Mexico.


I agree that it is an odd collection of hubs, but this also seems like an arbitrary line to draw. LAX and PHX are fairly close, but all the other good hubs out west are taken. I think AA should feel confident in its situation at LAX. PHX is the least desirable hub to have of any of the mountain west hubs (DEN and SLC being the best), but AA makes the most of it by taking some of that connecting pressure of LAX and putting it onto PHX.
300 319 320 321 332 333 345 346 717 733 734 735 73G 738 739 744 752 753 762 763 772 77W 788 789 CR2 CR7 CR9 Q400 E175 DC10 MD82 MD90
AA AF AS AY AZ B6 BA BR DL F9 FI GA HA KF LH MI QX SK SN SQ UA US VY WN
 
BUFJACK10
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:35 pm

mrbonfire wrote:
ADrum23 wrote:
or a state bordering Mexico.

I never knew Florida or Alabama bordered Mexico.

Alabama??????? I'm assuming you mean Arizona.
AA AK AL AQ AS B6 CO DL EA FL F9 HP KN NY MO NW PA PE PI RC QX TW UA UR US WN AF AN AO CS IB OA TR VS
A300 A319 A320 BAE146 BAC111 DC8 DC9 DC10 MD80 707 717 727 737 747 757 767 777 787 L10 F27 F28 F100 ERJ CRJ SE-210 SSC B1900 ATR42 ATR72 DH8 E120 SWM
 
RvA
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:50 pm

jfklganyc wrote:
This is Doug Parker’s airline. And Doug Parker’s playbook.

I knew NY was in trouble when the merger occurred. He is just repeating his NY mistake like he did with US.

He will draw down JFK and be stuck with an empty terminal and slots...a sale, swap or lease will occur...and then he will have a bunch of wortheless regional routes out of LGA and little international to pair it with out of JFK.

Im not going to bash other cities. The reality is, there are no medium sized legacies anymore. Dougie is making decisions like he is running a medium sized airline.

Medium sized airlines have flagship hubs in secondary cities like Philly. And yes, in the great cities in the US, Philly is secondary.

When you have 3 big legacies, and only 3 big legacies...you need to be big in NY and LA. And if you’re smart, you compete to be the largest in both.

Everything else beyond that is gravy...even if the mid continent fortress hubs print money.

By leaving NY because it is a 3 way slugfest, the short term revenue effects look great. The long term consequences of degrading NY (and lookout here comes Delta in LAX) will be detrimental to AAs standing within the US3


Interesting statements. Is being the top airline in NYC something that is a must have based on the internal company financials you've seen and that's why you believe the current strategy is incorrect? I'm curious because as an outside with no insight into strategy or any other internal stuff I find comments like this interesting. Is being big in NYC a measurement of success? I'm genuinely asking.
Does AA not have a hub in 3 out of the 5 largest metropolitan areas in North America? (1. Mexico City, 2. New York City, 3. Los Angeles, 4. Chicago, 5. Dallas-Fort Worth - list comes from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_N ... population)
 
Bobloblaw
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:44 pm

AA does not have the most geographically unbalanced network. Where is UA is the southeast?? As for growing DFW, clearly you're unaware that AA has been replacing RJs with mainline to lots of airports.

The airline with problems is UA. They are growing their express unit using obsolete 50 seat RJs which are high cost aircraft. Meanwhile DL
has the C series and AA has more 76 seaters coming. In mid sized markets like BNA and STL, UA is a distant 4th. Before anyone bashes 2nd tier markets, that is how WN makes so much money. Not by being in NYC or LA, but by being #1 in second tier cities.

In ORD the gal between AA and UA 20 yeas ago was 35-50. Today it is much closer, even if the gap is larger today than it was 1-2 years ago

ORD international never made money and AA is no longer going to fly
money losers from ORD when they now have a PHL hub.
 
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jfklganyc
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:46 pm

“being big in NYC a measurement of success?”

Yes, IMO. With 3 large legacies left, you need to be big in NY and LA. You need to be a player there.

If you are not a player there, you are not a leader.

Again, just my opinion.

The days of US Air/TWA sized airlines are over.

Lots of talk on a AA focusing on point of sale to NY rather than from NY. That is loser talk. If hasn’t worked for them in the past (they tried this at LGA a few years ago) and it won’t work in the future.

They will be a bit player in NY or they will make a play at being a real player in NY. With 3 big airlines, there is no in between.
 
Bobloblaw
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:46 pm

Also DFW can't be like ATL because delta runs a lot of Florida traffic through ATL while DFW is more of a E-W hub.
 
Bobloblaw
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:49 pm

9w748capt wrote:
Funny how DL continues to invest in its product even in steerage (PTVs, improved meals), yet dougie just cuts cuts cuts. No wonder DL's market cap is double that of AA, and with a worthless FFP too.
DL
Market cap is not 2x AAs because of PTVs. What is the obsession with IFE on this site. AA has a lot of debt is why their market cap is hurting.
 
9w748capt
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:54 pm

mrbonfire wrote:
ADrum23 wrote:
or a state bordering Mexico.

I never knew Florida or Alabama bordered Mexico.


I never knew AA had a hub in Alabama. They must not teach geography anymore.
 
ADrum23
Topic Author
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:55 pm

jfklganyc wrote:
“being big in NYC a measurement of success?”

Yes, IMO. With 3 large legacies left, you need to be big in NY and LA. You need to be a player there.

If you are not a player there, you are not a leader.


Agreed, and I would also argue that Texas should be on that list, considering it is the 11th largest economy in the world and it's prime south central location for E/W flows. NY, LA and Texas are key areas where the US3 should be.
 
9w748capt
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:56 pm

Bobloblaw wrote:
9w748capt wrote:
Funny how DL continues to invest in its product even in steerage (PTVs, improved meals), yet dougie just cuts cuts cuts. No wonder DL's market cap is double that of AA, and with a worthless FFP too.
DL
Market cap is not 2x AAs because of PTVs. What is the obsession with IFE on this site. AA has a lot of debt is why their market cap is hurting.


Apparently DL agrees with our "obsession". Most passengers will have an objectively better experience when there's built in IFE as opposed to the stream to your 3 inch phone screen BS, and clearly DL sees the value in keeping their customers happy, and LCC doesn't. That's just how it is. You don't have to like it.
 
ADrum23
Topic Author
Posts: 1789
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:11 pm

Bobloblaw wrote:
AA does not have the most geographically unbalanced network. Where is UA is the southeast??


Yes they do, other than ORD, all of their hubs are concentrated on the east coast and in the southwestern states. Meanwhile, UA and DL (generally) have a good balance between east and west coast and interior (midwest, mountain states, south central) hubs. UA isn't in the southeast because there is nowhere for them to go realistically. The only markets that could work for them (BNA and RDU) are already occupied by WN and DL focus cities respectively and even so, they don't have the infrastructure required for a large hub.

Bobloblaw wrote:
As for growing DFW, clearly you're unaware that AA has been replacing RJs with mainline to lots of airports.


Yes I know, but it is still only around 60% overall, compared to 80% at ATL for DL. They have a long way to go.

Bobloblaw wrote:
The airline with problems is UA. They are growing their express unit using obsolete 50 seat RJs which are high cost aircraft. Meanwhile DL
has the C series and AA has more 76 seaters coming. In mid sized markets like BNA and STL, UA is a distant 4th. Before anyone bashes 2nd tier markets, that is how WN makes so much money. Not by being in NYC or LA, but by being #1 in second tier cities.


This I agree with. I said above I could make a thread like this for UA as well. They have a lot of issues themselves, and while they are trying to address some of them, they have a lot of work to do.

Also, once again, please note that my above list is a complication of complaints I've seen about AA from this forum and in the news, I do not necessarily share all of the sediments.
 
RvA
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:32 pm

jfklganyc wrote:
“being big in NYC a measurement of success?”

Yes, IMO. With 3 large legacies left, you need to be big in NY and LA. You need to be a player there.

If you are not a player there, you are not a leader.

Again, just my opinion.

The days of US Air/TWA sized airlines are over.

Lots of talk on a AA focusing on point of sale to NY rather than from NY. That is loser talk. If hasn’t worked for them in the past (they tried this at LGA a few years ago) and it won’t work in the future.

They will be a bit player in NY or they will make a play at being a real player in NY. With 3 big airlines, there is no in between.


Ok interesting to read your view. I disagree that having to be a player in NYC is a measurement of success but fair enough. With them being the largest airline at LAX (seat count if I'm not mistaken) does that not help them on their path to success by your measurement?
 
ckfred
Posts: 5136
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:32 pm

Let's remember that back in the days of regulation, the two U.S. carriers with large Pacific networks were PA and NW. UA bought the PA Pacific network. DL got its Pacific network by merging with NW. AA's strategy in the late 1990s was to codeshare with CP and funnel traffic into CP's Pacific gateway at YVR. Then, CP was taken over by AC, and AA had to rely on Cathay an eventually JAL while adding routes of its own.

It's easy to bash Parker as running a US airline with the AA brand. But, let's remember that Parker's first airline job was at AA, when Bob Crandall was CEO. AA was then truly the best-run, most innovative carrier in the U.S. You would like to think that Parker hasn't forgotten what he learned back then.

I will tell you that my wife flew ORD-LHR last year on BA, and returned on AA. The food, service, and hard product in Y was much better on AA than BA, and BA's reputation has been better than AA's for decades.

By the same token, the TATL drawdown (as well as domestic downgauging) at ORD started under Gerard Arpey. Employees were complaining long before Parker that AA seemed afraid to compete against UA and WN in Chicago.

And why is it surprising that DL has overtaken AA at JFK. Think of all the international flying that DL started at JFK, when it bought what was left of PA at the bankruptcy sale. A woman I know flew for PA for years. The last five years of her F/A career were in a DL uniform, flying on a lot of DL 767s out of JFK.

As for the hubs, AA learned back in the 1990s that a hub has to generate O&D traffic, in order to be profitable. BNA and RDU didn't generate enough traffic to work. SJC became a dud, after the tech and dot.com bubbles burst. STL made sense, in that it didn't have the operational problems of ORD, but the amount of O&D traffic was small, compared to DFW and ORD. TWA went to STL for a hub, because it got squeezed out of ORD in the 1980s by UA and AA. Just as DL went to CVG for the same reason.

Think of all of the mid-continent hubs that have disappeared over the last 20 years, including STL, CVG, BNA, MEM, CMH, PIT, and MCI. The population growth in the U.S. has been to the Sun Belt. It makes sense that carriers have hubs in the Southeast and Southwest.
 
Bobloblaw
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:22 pm

Another AA hub in the middle of the country (lord knows what city that could be ) would only divert traffic from ORD and DFW.
 
bimjim
Posts: 12
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:46 pm

AA is run by accountants - some say by Mafia accounatnts.

Any company can only worship the almighty dollar, make all decisions based solely on profit and loss, and screw over its employees and customers for just so long before something in the machine breaks.

The CEO recently made a public statement that AA's customers will continue to be uncomfortable until they (the customers) do something about it, and it does appear they (the customers) may be doing just that. Even if your fare is lower than anyone else's, if your passengers have to sit on hard benches with their knees up around their ears, at some point they will choose to pay a bit more for a more civilised and humane mode of transportation.

Ask any AA CSR privately whether they feel comfortable in their job, and they will tell you they feel no guarantee whatsoever that they will still be there the next day, based almost purely on the whim and fancy of AA managers. With that kind of employee "loyalty" (or lack thereof), little wonder that AA itself is also a disposable entity that won't be missed WHEN it is gone.
 
QXAS
Posts: 346
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:52 pm

RvA wrote:
QXAS wrote:
RvA wrote:
Can someone do a seat pitch comparison by aircraft type of the US carriers? (Not just US3)
As an outsider I keep reading about AA (though some threads say UA) have terrible seat pitch so a comparison would be great.

These measurements are for 738 on AA, AS, DL, SY, UA and WN. A320 on F9, NK and B6. A321 for HA.
AA 30”
AS 31”-32”
DL 31”-32”
SY 31”-33”
UA 31”
WN 32”-33”
F9 28”-29”
NK 28”
B6 34”
HA 31”-32”
Disclaimer: Some airlines use slimline seats. Others do not, as a result 31” on one airline will feel different than 31” on another. Measurements from seatguru.


Interesting. I heard the 738s AA have are 31" with the exception of the MAX and the retrofitted 172 seater versions (instead of 160) of the 738 - of which not many were done? Is that not correct?

Great info anyway thanks for sharing. I wonder what the A319-321 comparison looks like.

It does seem that would be correct. Mistakenly selected the MAX for AA.
I am NOT an employee of any airline or manufacturer. I speak for myself, not on the behalf of any company.
 
Sancho99504
Posts: 621
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:54 pm

American really fails when it comes to the customer service side of the operation. Pre-merger AA was customer satisfaction focused. Up until it expired in January of this year, I was either Platinum or Executive Platinum all the way back to 2011, gold or platinum back to 06. In August of 2016, I had a situation where I was downgraded to Y off of a F fare because the gate agent working the flight I was on mistakenly dropped me and two others while trying to change some seats around so a family of 4 with 3 children under 5 years could be seated together. I was very unhappy about it because I pay for F, not buy Y and hope for an upgrade. Their solution was to refund the difference and put me in 27E for a 6 hour flight to MIA or I could standby thru ORD. That's unacceptable any way you look at it. I had a manager tell me that I was welcome to take my business elsewhere, which I have. Up to that point, I had a little over 91,000 miles flown and $18,000 in EQD's.

PMAA would have done the right thing and try to make it right. Post merger AA is all about trying to make Wall Street happy regardless of what it does to the customer and it's really starting to show in their financials.

People say that embedded IFE doesn't make a difference, but it does to an extent. If it didn't make any difference whatsoever, AA and UA wouldn't be installing the latest and greatest embedded IFE in their widebodies. Even ULCC Norwegian has embedded IFE on flights to the US.
kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out-USMC
 
Jonathanxxxx
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:01 pm

Why do AA’s hubs have to be “geographically balanced”? The majority of people live on the coasts and travel coast to coast. AA’s hubs are in prime positions to serve this traffic.

You’re telling me an airline has to have a hub in flyover country like MSP, DEN, or SLC to be dominant? AA already has their own hubs in cities with higher demand/population (ORD, DFW, and PHX) to serve these exact same traffic flows. MIA gives them the largest access to South America, their presence at LAX is still relatively strong, PHL, DCA, and CLT are all strong east coast hubs, and their focus city at JFK rounds out their northeast presence.

You could pick on AA for a lot of things but their hub structure works and is relatively profitable, and it would probably work even better if it were managed right.
 
ozark1
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:18 pm

9w748capt wrote:
Funny how DL continues to invest in its product even in steerage (PTVs, improved meals), yet dougie just cuts cuts cuts. No wonder DL's market cap is double that of AA, and with a worthless FFP too.

I agree completely.
 
Cointrin330
Posts: 1067
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:21 pm

Sancho99504 wrote:
American really fails when it comes to the customer service side of the operation. Pre-merger AA was customer satisfaction focused. Up until it expired in January of this year, I was either Platinum or Executive Platinum all the way back to 2011, gold or platinum back to 06. In August of 2016, I had a situation where I was downgraded to Y off of a F fare because the gate agent working the flight I was on mistakenly dropped me and two others while trying to change some seats around so a family of 4 with 3 children under 5 years could be seated together. I was very unhappy about it because I pay for F, not buy Y and hope for an upgrade. Their solution was to refund the difference and put me in 27E for a 6 hour flight to MIA or I could standby thru ORD. That's unacceptable any way you look at it. I had a manager tell me that I was welcome to take my business elsewhere, which I have. Up to that point, I had a little over 91,000 miles flown and $18,000 in EQD's.

PMAA would have done the right thing and try to make it right. Post merger AA is all about trying to make Wall Street happy regardless of what it does to the customer and it's really starting to show in their financials.

People say that embedded IFE doesn't make a difference, but it does to an extent. If it didn't make any difference whatsoever, AA and UA wouldn't be installing the latest and greatest embedded IFE in their widebodies. Even ULCC Norwegian has embedded IFE on flights to the US.


Pre-merger, AA was certainly not about customer service. American lagged its peers in investing in cabin products and services. The merger itself was as others have pointed out, a necessity. Neither standalone AA or standalone US could survive without combining. American has made strategic mistakes for decades and the problem still seems to continue.
 
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FlightLevel360
Posts: 406
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:28 pm

My two cents:

- No embedded IFE makes the airline seem cheap and like a ULCC.
- The reason why American has such bad seat pitch is because Doug Parker is too cheap. He didn't even want the winglets of his 737s painted because "adds too much weight."
To me, it will always be:
- Bombardier CSeries
- Airbus A321neoLR and A321neoXLR
- EMBRACER ERJ-170, ERJ-175, ERJ-190, and ERJ-195
- MITSUBUSHI MRJ

Anti narrowbody-long range-twinjet gang. Long live the A380 and 747!
 
musman9853
Posts: 710
Joined: Mon May 14, 2018 12:30 pm

Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:32 pm

9w748capt wrote:
Bobloblaw wrote:
9w748capt wrote:
Funny how DL continues to invest in its product even in steerage (PTVs, improved meals), yet dougie just cuts cuts cuts. No wonder DL's market cap is double that of AA, and with a worthless FFP too.
DL
Market cap is not 2x AAs because of PTVs. What is the obsession with IFE on this site. AA has a lot of debt is why their market cap is hurting.


Apparently DL agrees with our "obsession". Most passengers will have an objectively better experience when there's built in IFE as opposed to the stream to your 3 inch phone screen BS, and clearly DL sees the value in keeping their customers happy, and LCC doesn't. That's just how it is. You don't have to like it.


who still has a 3inch phone screen lmao? the avg phone screen size is like 5.5 inches now, that's pretty good.
Welcome to the City Beautiful.
 
User avatar
Midwestindy
Posts: 3936
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Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:36 pm

jfklganyc wrote:
This is Doug Parker’s airline. And Doug Parker’s playbook.

I knew NY was in trouble when the merger occurred. He is just repeating his NY mistake like he did with US.

He will draw down JFK and be stuck with an empty terminal and slots...a sale, swap or lease will occur...and then he will have a bunch of wortheless regional routes out of LGA and little international to pair it with out of JFK.

Im not going to bash other cities. The reality is, there are no medium sized legacies anymore. Dougie is making decisions like he is running a medium sized airline.

Medium sized airlines have flagship hubs in secondary cities like Philly. And yes, in the great cities in the US, Philly is secondary.

When you have 3 big legacies, and only 3 big legacies...you need to be big in NY and LA. And if you’re smart, you compete to be the largest in both.

Everything else beyond that is gravy...even if the mid continent fortress hubs print money.

By leaving NY because it is a 3 way slugfest, the short term revenue effects look great. The long term consequences of degrading NY (and lookout here comes Delta in LAX) will be detrimental to AAs standing within the US3


jfklganyc wrote:
“being big in NYC a measurement of success?”

Yes, IMO. With 3 large legacies left, you need to be big in NY and LA. You need to be a player there.

If you are not a player there, you are not a leader.

Again, just my opinion.

The days of US Air/TWA sized airlines are over.

Lots of talk on a AA focusing on point of sale to NY rather than from NY. That is loser talk. If hasn’t worked for them in the past (they tried this at LGA a few years ago) and it won’t work in the future.

They will be a bit player in NY or they will make a play at being a real player in NY. With 3 big airlines, there is no in between.


Your obsession with AA and NYC is quite odd, AA knows its position in NYC and there is nothing they can do to change it. They offer token service to every major business market in the US, and lots in Europe through their metal or codeshares. Would it be nice to be as big as DL, sure, but they won't be.

Jonathanxxxx wrote:
Why do AA’s hubs have to be “geographically balanced”? The majority of people live on the coasts and travel coast to coast. AA’s hubs are in prime positions to serve this traffic.

You’re telling me an airline has to have a hub in flyover country like MSP, DEN, or SLC to be dominant? AA already has their own hubs in cities with higher demand/population (ORD, DFW, and PHX) to serve these exact same traffic flows. MIA gives them the largest access to South America, their presence at LAX is still relatively strong, PHL, DCA, and CLT are all strong east coast hubs, and their focus city at JFK rounds out their northeast presence.

You could pick on AA for a lot of things but their hub structure works and is relatively profitable, and it would probably work even better if it were managed right.


^This is why I stick with AA instead of switching completely over to DL. AA has lots of network advantages over DL, despite what many want you to believe. From my home airports (ORD/IND) AA's options to Major east coast metros(PHL, DCA, MIA, BOS, NYC, and CLT) is a lot of my flying and can not be matched by DL (unless I am flying IND-BOS/NYC).

Their heavy eastern US presence is definitely a strength in their network.
Delta Diamond Medallion and AAdvantage Gold for 2019
 
KLDC10
Posts: 1402
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:15 pm

Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:53 pm

Sancho99504 wrote:
American really fails when it comes to the customer service side of the operation. Pre-merger AA was customer satisfaction focused. Up until it expired in January of this year, I was either Platinum or Executive Platinum all the way back to 2011, gold or platinum back to 06. In August of 2016, I had a situation where I was downgraded to Y off of a F fare because the gate agent working the flight I was on mistakenly dropped me and two others while trying to change some seats around so a family of 4 with 3 children under 5 years could be seated together. I was very unhappy about it because I pay for F, not buy Y and hope for an upgrade. Their solution was to refund the difference and put me in 27E for a 6 hour flight to MIA or I could standby thru ORD. That's unacceptable any way you look at it. I had a manager tell me that I was welcome to take my business elsewhere, which I have. Up to that point, I had a little over 91,000 miles flown and $18,000 in EQD's


The situation you described is bad enough, but the fact that a manager brazenly told you to take your business elsewhere is just plain unacceptable. Better to take your business to an airline that gives a damn about keeping it.

It's interesting that you talk about your experiences on pre-merger AA, of which I also have fond memories. For various reasons, I haven't flown AA since the merger, but I do like to keep track of what's going on at my one-time favorite airline. I also have fond memories of flying with AA prior to the merger, and as late as 2012 I recall receiving a full complimentary meal in Economy Class aboard a Boeing 757 from DFW to SJO. Alright, everything looks better with a bit of nostalgic hindsight, but I was impressed by the way Thomas Horton was reorientating the airline to focus on providing a better product, and I think a lot of the results of his work are still evident today - particularly with regard to the excellent hard product aboard the 777-300.

One theme which keeps returning in threads about AA is short-termism. There are plenty of examples of that, but the most egregious has to be the way that the 763s and TATL 757s were refurbished without IFE in economy. I can't recall if that was a Horton or Parker decision, but either way it underlines an unwillingness to invest in long-term gain. Fine, the 763s are going to be retired in the next few years, but until then they're flying long haul routes with a hard product far inferior to those of AA's competitors and it implies that the airline doesn't care about providing a decent product to their passengers. Until the last 763 or TATL 757 is retired, AA can advertise all the 787 flights they like, but the inconsistency will remain.
DC9/MD90/MD11/F70/BAE146
737/738/739/744/748/752/763/772/789
A319/A320/A321/A332/A333/A346/A359
Q400/E170/E175/E190/CS300
 
User avatar
BroadwayLimited
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:34 pm

Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 5:43 pm

The bottom line on all of this is the AA stock price. AA has to get their stock price up, or the investor community will not be happy. Getting the stock price up is Doug Parker's challenge, or the board will not be happy.
 
OB1504
Posts: 3605
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2004 5:10 am

Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:14 pm

compensateme wrote:
Buying new planes will do that. AA will be retiring it’s oldest 738; aircraft delivered during a similar time period at DL are considered young (for it)...


Yet DL actually took the time to refurbish the interiors of their older aircraft. You board a 20-year-old AA plane and you can immediately tell its age. That doesn’t happen on Delta.

RvA wrote:
Interesting. I heard the 738s AA have are 31" with the exception of the MAX and the retrofitted 172 seater versions (instead of 160) of the 738 - of which not many were done? Is that not correct?


Only a handful of 737-800s have been converted so far, but it will become the standard in the coming years. The 30” pitch isn’t the end of the world, but the slimline lavs are horrific. First class has become a joke when there are rows in economy with the same seat pitch.

Bobloblaw wrote:
Market cap is not 2x AAs because of PTVs. What is the obsession with IFE on this site. AA has a lot of debt is why their market cap is hurting.


It’s not the PTVs but what it represents. Delta is putting much more effort into their hard product than AA is. When AA redid their 767s a few years ago, they only redid the business class cabins and left the coach cabins looking like something from the 1990s. They clearly don’t care about the onboard product unless you’re sitting in the front and customers in the back will notice.

bimjim wrote:
Ask any AA CSR privately whether they feel comfortable in their job, and they will tell you they feel no guarantee whatsoever that they will still be there the next day, based almost purely on the whim and fancy of AA managers. With that kind of employee "loyalty" (or lack thereof), little wonder that AA itself is also a disposable entity that won't be missed WHEN it is gone.


AA CSAs are union and can’t randomly be fired from one day to the next (as opposed to premerger when they were outsourced by the thousands). The frontline managers they report to share the same frustrations as the agents and don’t care about what the accountants say.
 
washingtonflyer
Posts: 1447
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:45 pm

Re: What the heck is going on with American Airlines?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:20 pm

People have this gross misconception about hub placement. Where on earth is it said that hubs need to be geographically centered or balanced?

Airline hubs move people, and as long as you have proper passenger flows and infrastructure and not too much redundancy, you hub is going to work. CLT is a prime example of this.

If geography was the be all to end all, then STL should have been the cat's meow of hubs - as its the AA hub (former hub) that is closest to the geographic center of the United States. But, as we all know, STL died.

Plus, I have to chuckle at the OPs criteria on the lack of a western tier hub: " ORD is their only hub not located on the east coast or a state bordering Mexico." I mean, really? Look at a map of the western United States and tell me where you would put a hub in a state that "is not located on the east coast or a state bordering Mexico". Saint George, UT? Boise, ID? All the other major cites have a hub or are too close to an existing hub: SEA is AS and, arguably, DL, PDX is AS, SFO is UA, LAX is a hub, SAN is not hub capable, LAS (too close to PHX), SLC is DL, RNO is too small, DEN is UA, ABQ is too close to PHX, OKC or MCI are overlapped by ORD and DFW.

IMHO, the only two airports (maybe 3) that could possibly serve as a AA hub in the future are COS (unlikely given its history and size), or one of the two San Francisco airports (SJC or OAK). AA failed at SJC once. That being said, there is so, so, so much money in the SF area (especially in the south part of the bay), that someone has to be looking at it again...

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