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tsbooker
Topic Author
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:49 pm

American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:04 am

Just wondering how others feel on the subject. Was standing in the jetway about to board a notoriously cramped and uncomfortable AA 738 last week when I noticed a sticker next to the boarding door stating American was a 5 Star airline. My memories of AA from my youth were that the Silver Bird was truly something special in the air. Now it feels as though one may as well be flying Spirit or Frontier. In fact, I would argue that either of those carriers are "better" than AA because at least expectations are set very low. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel for AA to return to the preeminent US carrier that it was in the past? Sadly, for those who think the answer is getting rid of Doug, most likely the chain of command will replace him with an understudy who has similar ideas on how to run the carrier to a new low. How is it possible in this day and age of relatively inexpensive fuel and stable labor contracts that AA is unable to earn a profit from their core business which is flying people from point A to B? Look forward to reading what others have to say.
 
cledaybuck
Posts: 1726
Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:07 pm

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:09 am

The trend at American and for the most part across the industry is nicer F and cramming in Y. I don’t see that changing.
As we celebrate mediocrity, all the boys upstairs want to see, how much you'll pay for what you used to get for free.
 
WPvsMW
Posts: 2252
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:18 am

More Y+ (fka Y) on domestic Long haul.
 
1836Sam
Posts: 471
Joined: Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:35 am

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:29 am

IMO organization that pursues these meaningless “stars” awards is light on substance and not focusing on the right things. Flying through IAH now it says “4 star airport” as rated by Skytrax (ICN and SIN being 5 stars). What an absolute joke. Both probably “bought” the rating.
 
FlyHappy
Posts: 1118
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 1:06 pm

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:33 am

tsbooker wrote:
My memories of AA from my youth were that the Silver Bird was truly something special in the air.


bingo. your memories are that of a youth. AA was never particularly great, but nostalgia is powerful.

tsbooker wrote:
Now it feels as though one may as well be flying Spirit or Frontier. In fact, I would argue that either of those carriers are "better" than AA because at least expectations are set very low.


also true. you know what you get from the no-frills carriers.

tsbooker wrote:
How is it possible in this day and age of relatively inexpensive fuel and stable labor contracts that AA is unable to earn a profit from their core business which is flying people from point A to B? Look forward to reading what others have to say.


here, you've missed. AA makes plenty of bank. What makes you think they don't? That's the beauty of today's consolidated US domestic market... you wanna fly non-stop to/from one of AA's hubs, their Latin America routes, their TATL JV ? Pay up, and contribute to a fat bottom line.
check out the earnings: http://news.aa.com/news/news-details/20 ... fault.aspx
that ain't chump change.

But flying Y in their sardine tins? Yeah, its sucks, and more so than it was 20, 30, 40 years ago (as is true of virtually every other legacy world-wide, too).
 
1836Sam
Posts: 471
Joined: Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:35 am

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:38 am

FlyHappy wrote:
tsbooker wrote:
How is it possible in this day and age of relatively inexpensive fuel and stable labor contracts that AA is unable to earn a profit from their core business which is flying people from point A to B? Look forward to reading what others have to say.


here, you've missed. AA makes plenty of bank. What makes you think they don't? That's the beauty of today's consolidated US domestic market... you wanna fly non-stop to/from one of AA's hubs, their Latin America routes, their TATL JV ? Pay up, and contribute to a fat bottom line.
check out the earnings: http://news.aa.com/news/news-details/20 ... fault.aspx
that ain't chump change.


I think it's been parroted about recently that they don't make money from flying but only from AAdvantage.

Which is nonsense. You can't have AAdvantage without an airline.

It's just accounting treatment. And if that's what the accounting says, well, I'd say they need to review their accounting practices.
 
Jerseyguy
Posts: 2183
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2005 12:05 pm

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:41 am

Back in the 90s, I used to fly to visit my grandmother who lived about halfway between SRQ and RSW. I went out of my way to fly American via Miami because they flew the A300 between EWR-MIA, they served a hot meal showed TV on the overhead monitor and if I got into row 6 on the right hand side, I would have so much legroom. I even flew the Saab 340s (SF3) from MIA-SRQ just to do it. Forget about that today, they would never serve a meal. Today your lucky to not have to pay money for a decent seat assignment on AA. The amount of "premium/preferred" seats is becoming ridiculous.
 
FlyHappy
Posts: 1118
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 1:06 pm

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:02 am

Jerseyguy wrote:
Back in the 90s, I used to fly to visit my grandmother who lived about halfway between SRQ and RSW. I went out of my way to fly American via Miami because they flew the A300 between EWR-MIA, they served a hot meal showed TV on the overhead monitor and if I got into row 6 on the right hand side, I would have so much legroom. I even flew the Saab 340s (SF3) from MIA-SRQ just to do it. Forget about that today, they would never serve a meal. Today your lucky to not have to pay money for a decent seat assignment on AA. The amount of "premium/preferred" seats is becoming ridiculous.


all true, but what carrier in the US will you have that experience with today? none.... unless you pony up for a premium cabin seat, and you're not getting a widebody.
I'm hardly defending AA here - I'm just saying they really don't suck any more than the others.
BTW - just to play devils advocate - do you recall what your fares were?
 
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millionsofmiles
Posts: 374
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Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:04 am

Jerseyguy wrote:
Back in the 90s, I used to fly to visit my grandmother who lived about halfway between SRQ and RSW. I went out of my way to fly American via Miami because they flew the A300 between EWR-MIA, they served a hot meal showed TV on the overhead monitor and if I got into row 6 on the right hand side, I would have so much legroom. I even flew the Saab 340s (SF3) from MIA-SRQ just to do it. Forget about that today, they would never serve a meal. Today your lucky to not have to pay money for a decent seat assignment on AA. The amount of "premium/preferred" seats is becoming ridiculous.


First off...unbundling is rampant at ALL carriers, including all legacies...not just American.

Second...the public votes with their wallet. When AA promoted their “More Room Throughout Coach” campaign, nobody was interested in paying extra for it. So now, you HAVE to pay extra for it if you want a comfortable seat in Main Cabin Extra.

AA didn’t start the race to the bottom. The traveling public did.
 
FlyHappy
Posts: 1118
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 1:06 pm

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:05 am

1836Sam wrote:

I think it's been parroted about recently that they don't make money from flying but only from AAdvantage.

Which is nonsense. You can't have AAdvantage without an airline.

It's just accounting treatment. And if that's what the accounting says, well, I'd say they need to review their accounting practices.


anyone who thinks an airline with nearly 1000 aircraft and 120k+ employees only makes money on credit card/loyalty point income is seriously delusional and not really worth debate.
sheesh.
 
910A
Posts: 1888
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2015 2:11 am

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:12 am

FlyHappy wrote:
tsbooker wrote:

AA was never particularly great,


I been flying AA has my primary carrier since 1974, except for 7 years that lived in UA country. Started with AA only because they were next door to North Central our only carrier from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan at ORD. They were solid, they got me to where I needed to go, domestic and internationally, but they were never great in coach.
Even today I only fly F on domestic flights over two hours, due to my height and long legs, domestic F is really nothing to write home about, but it's still far better than coach.
 
S0Y
Posts: 132
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:25 pm

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:15 am

FlyHappy wrote:
1836Sam wrote:

I think it's been parroted about recently that they don't make money from flying but only from AAdvantage.

Which is nonsense. You can't have AAdvantage without an airline.

It's just accounting treatment. And if that's what the accounting says, well, I'd say they need to review their accounting practices.


anyone who thinks an airline with nearly 1000 aircraft and 120k+ employees only makes money on credit card/loyalty point income is seriously delusional and not really worth debate.
sheesh.



Why?
There are any amount of airlines that cannot or could not make money on flying. Its not that long since AA itself was in bankruptcy. Flying planes has much much higher costs than a loyalty program.
That said FlyHappy is correct, without an airline AAdvantage is a very different value proposition
 
Airbuser
Posts: 31
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Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:28 am

I wouldn’t call it stable labor. AA mechanics don’t have a contract and have been negotiating for years. Pilots and flight attendants are in contract openers. Mr. Parker stopped the sinking ship. The ship is wallowing in the water with no rudder. Something needs to be done to get the ship floating again. Delta is firing on all cylinders. Their profit sharing plan, which is not negotiated (ex pilots) seems to really motivate their employees. AA employees are beaten down. Tired of being treated like they are not appreciated. No trust in management. No one in any position to make changes. Mr. Parker loathes profit sharing and it shows. How can a work group get excited and motivated when everyone knows they are paid so much less than Delta? Wall Street would hate it but a turn around may start with equal profit sharing to Delta, United, Southwest.

One thing Mr. Parker did very well was combine the airlines. United, Delta,and Southwest all had some major headaches when they were going through mergers. Name one hiccup AA had. Very smooth transition.
 
FlyHappy
Posts: 1118
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 1:06 pm

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:32 am

S0Y wrote:
FlyHappy wrote:
1836Sam wrote:

I think it's been parroted about recently that they don't make money from flying but only from AAdvantage.

Which is nonsense. You can't have AAdvantage without an airline.

It's just accounting treatment. And if that's what the accounting says, well, I'd say they need to review their accounting practices.


anyone who thinks an airline with nearly 1000 aircraft and 120k+ employees only makes money on credit card/loyalty point income is seriously delusional and not really worth debate.
sheesh.



Why?
There are any amount of airlines that cannot or could not make money on flying. Its not that long since AA itself was in bankruptcy. Flying planes has much much higher costs than a loyalty program.
That said FlyHappy is correct, without an airline AAdvantage is a very different value proposition


AA has been flying since the 1930's, was the launch operator (and had design input) of the DC-3, has been traded on the NYSE exchange since 1939.
AAdvantage was introduced in 1981, but has not been a major cash positive factor until rather recent times, when the consumer economy shifted heavily to credit.

With that history, one really wants to make the argument that the world largest airline is nothing more than a credit card company with some non-profitable routes? Really? Why bother with the 20 billion dollars of future liability for new aircraft purchases at all?
 
alo2yyz
Posts: 72
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:53 am

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:35 am

If you're sitting in Y, is the in-flight experience on AA really that much different from UA or DL? Unless one has markedly better on-time performance or seat pitch, well... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

(I will freely confess my ignorance about these metrics)

And as far as equating F9 or SK with AA - sure, if you're in a place with multiple flights a day, but at smaller stations (e.g., TYS) a 1x/day F9 service isn't same as AA/UA/DL because if there are issues with that *one* F9 flight to that *one* hub (DEN in this case), you're up the creek. Once you're on board, the difference might not be all that much but at least you can be more confident you'll actually be on an aircraft. No way I'd take F9 to/from a place like TYS unless I'm willing to accept the risk of a lengthy delay for lack of alternative flights/equipment when things go south.
 
1836Sam
Posts: 471
Joined: Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:35 am

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:02 am

S0Y wrote:
FlyHappy wrote:
1836Sam wrote:

I think it's been parroted about recently that they don't make money from flying but only from AAdvantage.

Which is nonsense. You can't have AAdvantage without an airline.

It's just accounting treatment. And if that's what the accounting says, well, I'd say they need to review their accounting practices.


anyone who thinks an airline with nearly 1000 aircraft and 120k+ employees only makes money on credit card/loyalty point income is seriously delusional and not really worth debate.
sheesh.



Why?
There are any amount of airlines that cannot or could not make money on flying. Its not that long since AA itself was in bankruptcy. Flying planes has much much higher costs than a loyalty program.
That said FlyHappy is correct, without an airline AAdvantage is a very different value proposition


C’mon the “product” of frequent flyer programs is flying! So how on earth can flying lose money?!
 
Airstud
Posts: 4890
Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2000 11:57 am

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:17 am

I've not flown on them since 1977. :boggled:
Pancakes are delicious.
 
S0Y
Posts: 132
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:25 pm

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:55 am

1836Sam wrote:

C’mon the “product” of frequent flyer programs is flying! So how on earth can flying lose money?!



....and that would be where you would be wrong. There is a famous quote about the fastest way to be a millionaire is to start as a billionaire and invest in an airline. It is a notoriously risky business.
For sure having a flying operation is a massive asset for a frequent flyer program, but they have diversified so much in recent years that the loyalty program could arguably (though not as profitably), survive as a standalone business
 
1836Sam
Posts: 471
Joined: Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:35 am

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:04 am

S0Y wrote:
1836Sam wrote:

C’mon the “product” of frequent flyer programs is flying! So how on earth can flying lose money?!



....and that would be where you would be wrong. There is a famous quote about the fastest way to be a millionaire is to start as a billionaire and invest in an airline. It is a notoriously risky business.
For sure having a flying operation is a massive asset for a frequent flyer program, but they have diversified so much in recent years that the loyalty program could arguably (though not as profitably), survive as a standalone business


:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

Alright now is a good time to go and short the market!
 
PSAatSAN4Ever
Posts: 1119
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:38 pm

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:45 am

My experiences once on board an AA airplane have been no better and no worse than any of my domestic flights in coach. Some flight attendants are nicer and chattier than others; no different than anyone else.

My experiences at DFW - and specifically IRROPS of the most minor scale compounded with rats fleeing a sinking ship...err, excuse me - "employees seem anxious to close the airport at 8:30" - have led to me take a vow that I will ONLY fly through DFW if it is absolutely the ONLY way to get somewhere.

I have never seen a delayed arriving aircraft sent to detention for punishment before, but it has happened there multiple times. Anywhere else you taxi out of the way and wait until something comes available. At DFW you drive nearly to the old airport and "sit and think about what you've done!".

CLT, on the other hand, is a rather lovely place (minus the construction). My SAN-CLT-EWR red-eye to morning bank was perfectly lovely on both accounts, and I would have no problem with AA there. I haven't flown through Chicago in more than a decade, so no comment there.
 
Jerseyguy
Posts: 2183
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2005 12:05 pm

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:17 am

FlyHappy wrote:
Jerseyguy wrote:
Back in the 90s, I used to fly to visit my grandmother who lived about halfway between SRQ and RSW. I went out of my way to fly American via Miami because they flew the A300 between EWR-MIA, they served a hot meal showed TV on the overhead monitor and if I got into row 6 on the right hand side, I would have so much legroom. I even flew the Saab 340s (SF3) from MIA-SRQ just to do it. Forget about that today, they would never serve a meal. Today your lucky to not have to pay money for a decent seat assignment on AA. The amount of "premium/preferred" seats is becoming ridiculous.


all true, but what carrier in the US will you have that experience with today? none.... unless you pony up for a premium cabin seat, and you're not getting a widebody.
I'm hardly defending AA here - I'm just saying they really don't suck any more than the others.
BTW - just to play devils advocate - do you recall what your fares were?

Ok, the meal thing was just a general gripe. What I was saying was that atleast 3 times I flew AA from 12/17-12/18, The first 50-55% of the plane was all either MCE or preferred seating the next 10 percent of the aisles were preferred. So for almost 3/4 of the plane aisles were not available for free. Seems like most people who flew needed to pay extra The times I've booked friends and family on UA there were definately E+ and preferred seats but not as many. Perhaps its a YMMV situation. IDK.

millionsofmiles wrote:
First off...unbundling is rampant at ALL carriers, including all legacies...not just American.

Second...the public votes with their wallet. When AA promoted their “More Room Throughout Coach” campaign, nobody was interested in paying extra for it. So now, you HAVE to pay extra for it if you want a comfortable seat in Main Cabin Extra.

AA didn’t start the race to the bottom. The traveling public did.


Perhaps it is rampant but as I said above its a little less rampant in my experience at UA. Yes AA did the MRTC experiement and it unfortunately failed. I was not one of the ones who refused to pay but I get it. I'm not talking about paying more for MCE, but the preferred seats combined with MCE which means that its very easy for the free seats to be sold out. When I can fly a ULCC pay for my seat selection my carry on and snacks and still save a decent amount of money over even the BE fare that's when I realize how expensive the legacies have become. Then at the BE fare, I still have to pay $30 each way to upgrade to a regular economy fare even be able to choose a seat if a free seat is still available.. Though I will say, sometimes the BE fare matches the ULCC fare and sometimes it does not. Sometimes there is NO ULCC .
 
IPFreely
Posts: 2623
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 8:26 am

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:16 am

tsbooker wrote:
How is it possible in this day and age of relatively inexpensive fuel and stable labor contracts that AA is unable to earn a profit from their core business which is flying people from point A to B?


What kind of nonsensical statement is this? I am sorry but when you post such a blatantly false statement, the rest of your rant loses all credibility. Not that another rant from someone buying the cheapest ticket they can find then complaining that their seat is uncomfortable has any credibility to begin with, but please at least get your facts straight.

tsbooker wrote:
Now it feels as though one may as well be flying Spirit or Frontier. In fact, I would argue that either of those carriers are "better" than AA because at least expectations are set very low.


Who are you arguing with here, yourself? If you believe Spirit and Frontier are better than American then what in the world were you doing flying American? Please stop flying American and start flying Spirit and Frontier.
 
upperdeckfan
Posts: 1079
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 1:59 am

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:59 pm

FlyHappy wrote:
BTW - just to play devils advocate - do you recall what your fares were?


Key point, flying is cheaper than it has ever been (deregulation, LCC/ULCC competition, etc) and people want to get the same they were getting 40 years ago.....
748,744,742,741,772,773,762,763,
764, 789, 732,733,735,737,738,739,
752, 722, 717,74M,DC10,DC9,M82,
M83, M87, M88,310,319,320,321,332,
333, 343, 346,359,388,L1011,CR2,
CR7, CR9,CRK, E175,E190,ATR42,
DSH8, CS1,CS3
 
IPFreely
Posts: 2623
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 8:26 am

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:33 pm

upperdeckfan wrote:
Key point, flying is cheaper than it has ever been (deregulation, LCC/ULCC competition, etc) and people want to get the same they were getting 40 years ago.....


You are correct. And if people want the same they got 40 years ago they can get it with first class seats. Which generally cost the same or less than coach seats from 40 years ago when factoring for inflation. But as we see here, and in countless other threads, some people feel entitled to get everything for free.
 
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Seabear
Posts: 322
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 3:05 pm

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:38 pm

Another way to look at this would be to consider the degradation of the coach experience as a reversion to the mean. Consistent mediocrity across all carriers.
 
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Super80Fan
Posts: 1622
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:14 am

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:50 pm

You aren't going to stop AA from winning the race to the bottom until you get rid of the #1 problem; DUI Dougie.

Also, never asked for cheaper prices in return for less amenities, so not sure why everyone on this thread is speaking for me.
RIP McDonnell Douglas
RIP US Airways
 
upperdeckfan
Posts: 1079
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 1:59 am

Re: American Winning Race to the Bottom

Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:16 pm

Super80Fan wrote:
Also, never asked for cheaper prices in return for less amenities, so not sure why everyone on this thread is speaking for me.


You can always choose to fly J/F if don't like cheap fares.

BTW, with air traffic going up year after year in every continent seems to me that a good piece of global population is taking advantage of low fares.
748,744,742,741,772,773,762,763,
764, 789, 732,733,735,737,738,739,
752, 722, 717,74M,DC10,DC9,M82,
M83, M87, M88,310,319,320,321,332,
333, 343, 346,359,388,L1011,CR2,
CR7, CR9,CRK, E175,E190,ATR42,
DSH8, CS1,CS3

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