In a recent edition of American Airlines' Tell Me Why series, Kurt Stache, the airline's Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Loyalty, mused about customers' feelings said "It's a long time since we had a brand purpose and a brand campaign"
Inc may have taken this quote out of context because on the desciption of the linked podcast said
In the latest episode of Tell Me Why, we met with Kurt Stache, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Loyalty and Sales, to discuss...the importance of the “likelihood to recommend” score, and what’s to come with American’s brand project.
I have never listened to the podcast before, is it any good?
The more interesting thing about the whole situation is Robert Mann, a prominent industry consultant commented "Sad. But, nothing a comprehensive and proactive Operational Reliability Initiative couldn’t solve." on the article on LinkedIn. He continues to state
Customer service perception is down-rated with unreliable operations, as the article points out, as the airline executive admits, and as every passenger survey result I have ever seen reiterates. There is no winning brand or value proposition without operational reliability.
What I grasp from this article is that mergers are hard. United and Continental appear to only recently have ironed all the internal kinks out. The new livery and Polaris appears to be their first big innovation post merger. Like a recognition, of yes, the merger was rocky, but we have moved past that. Delta and Northwest have been together longer so they were the first to reap benefit from the mergers and the first to be able to innovate using the strength of both companies. I got to say though, it appeared that the DL/NW merger was a lot smoother than the UA/CO or AA/US one.
I know Doug Parker is big into cost cutting, but I think in general it is for the better unlike Jeff Smisek who thought he could shrink the combined UA/CO to make it more profitable. AA remarkably has not closed any hubs post merger, and has even grown them such as the PHX-LHR flight, and the strengthening of LAX. DFW opened a bunch of new gates last week, and I think AA is trying to make CLT a stronger connecting hub mimicking, to a lesser extent, what Delta has in ATL. Yes, JFK continues to shrink, but most of those routes have been moved to PHL. I don't see AA ever completely dehubbing JFK, their transcon and LHR service is too important, but I do see JFK continuing to shrink. One big example of that was the discontinuation of the JFK-MCO route. AA also applied to use a Haneda slot for LAS.
I don't know if AA's hub at ORD is becoming less significant because of UA's growth plan or because AA trying to shrink ORD. What do you guys think? I think it is more stagnant than anything.