Once upon a time American Airlines was a setter of standards. Once it was the premium airline – certainly the top rated of the US majors.
These days it takes a pilot to tell that to the face of unpopular CEO Doug Parker.
It took a cabin crew member to say to him directly that the airlines service ‘sucks’ compared to Delta and United – I mean United? An airline that beats up its customers and drags them bleeding from an aircraft as it did with David Dao? That manages to kill pets with no apology?
‘Sucks’ isn’t quite an insult, it’s not a horrible word, but it does tell you that it’s a mess. It’s derogatory without being vile.
American crews – apparently by many of their own admissions, don’t operate to the corporate standards – because they’re considered too low, they try to do better.
Existing crews claim that newly trained staff are not getting what they need to deliver even basic standards, and that Doug Parker who seems oblivious to all of this is more concerned with his bonus than running an airline.
American staff have a list of grievances so long – and I have emails to back this up from several of them – that they despair of where the airline is headed – not just on the cramped and generally tedious domestic market, but internationally as well.
Doug Parker has never been an innovator, his long history isn’t even one of success, in terms of positive achievements it’s actually fairly bereft – most of his success has been driven by profit and gain – not by caring about staff or service orientated customer requirements.
American Airlines is suffering a crisis of conscience but nobody at the top is listening. To save it is going to take new leadership, but that won’t happen if it keeps making money.
Even that is changing though. It’s profits we’re massively down compared to its competitors – and it’s going to take more than a few words from Doug Parker to put it right.
Crews are not always right, some issues are very localised, but with American it’s seems to be verging on endemic, why is nobody at the top listening?