Doug Parker Hearts Richard Anderson – Why I Stay Away from AA

The American Airlines-US Airways bloodbath has started. Over the past day, US Airways raised the price of its business class awards from US to North Asia, widely considered their best-value award, American Airlines has gutted their AAnytime Awards and removed free domestic gateway stopovers on awards.

Over the past year I have gone back and forth about moving some or all of my Delta business to United. Each time people have suggested American Airlines. Their network and partners don’t work well for me, but beyond that it seemed that, like with Delta and United before, the merger will be terrible for loyal flyers. Each time an arguably inferior airline gobbled up their target and threw out the best of both. From what I see from the outside, US is bush league and has the most power-hungry CEO. I know some things about executives, and I assume Doug Parker has been gnashing his teeth to catch up, especially with high flying Delta’s turning of the screws on its customers. I expect AA/US to outdo both Delta and United in the carnage. Delta’s recent financial hit parade must be especially galling.

So everything people have told me is so wonderful about AA, I have been extremely cynical would be around for me to take AAdvantage. In contrast I feel like United has done about as much as its ineptitude currently allows. I hope I am wrong, but never underestimate a CEO pissing contest.

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Comments

  1. I hate seeing that N Asia award go, darn. Now Stefan, a CEO pissing contest? That’s funny, unfortunately it’s so true!

  2. …because devaluing one’s frequent flyer program somehow makes your flight operations suddenly more profitable?

    DL already had a profitable and well-run operation going into their devaluation.

  3. A little over-hyped, perhaps? American award chart “Gutted”??

    Yes, they changed things – but mostly the award chart changes reflect the Anytime class or rewards – saver awards remain unchanged.

    Yes, the USAir 90k Saver Business is gone. Stopovers, to.

    But seriously, I can still FIND low-level award availability, can fly at SAVER FIRST awards on partner airlines, and can book ONE-WAY awards in all classes of services.

    And, my elite status isn’t tied to spend, at least for now.

    So, still, overall, a better program than Delta. At least for now.

  4. @Chris – for Delta I don’t focus on their awards, that is clearly of low importance to them. They played nice for the year following the merger then steadily squeezed travelers on changes to SDC, partners, lounge access, upgrades, etc and are now Wall St darlings and the envy of their competitors.

  5. The Parker Effect. Anyone who didn’t see the train wreck coming hasn’t paid attention to Mr. Parker’s track record.

  6. @Erndog – yes, should not use the reflexive turn to ‘gutted.’ Doesn’t seen a good sign so soon after the deal closing to start making these changes Delta-style with no advance notice. I would not bail on AA if in deep but would not jump to them.

  7. Wow, I can’t believe the free stopovers are gone. I had this elaborate plan for booking some Europe award tickets in July. Oh well, I knew it would end someday. But I missed it by a few months!

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