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AA Lauds Greatest Fliers in New Ad Campaign

The carrier’s message hasn’t gone down well with some, who interpreted AA’s campaign as a rebuke.

American Airlines unveiled its new advertising campaign earlier this week, but its debut has resulted in a backlash from travelers, some of whom have interpreted the carrier’s message as an odd lesson in etiquette.

Aimed right at those it calls the “world’s greatest fliers”, the carrier is evidently looking for conscientious, considerate travelers, those passengers who are prepared for and deal with any and every situation with manners and good grace.

American’s ideal traveler is the kind of person who brings along their own noise-cancelling headphones and is, according to the carrier’s one-minute video advertisement, the type of passenger who packs their luggage as if, “they’re solving a jigsaw puzzle”.

In addition to walking faster at airports, perfect passengers are “always upbeat.” According to the carrier, “…great fliers make the best of their situation no matter where they’re sitting.”

The new campaign didn’t go down particularly well with some travelers who felt that the suggestions came across as a behavioral rebuke in the face of an industry where customer satisfaction is not always a given.

Amy Schoenberger, a contributor to the Huffington Post, tweeted late last month that, “Everybody’s least favorite airline…tells travelers to ef off in new ad campaign…”

While American’s new campaign has annoyed some, Robert Mann, an industry consultant, offered an alternative explanation for the carrier’s choice of words.

“It’s all a function of the environment they’re faced with. If you’re faced with ever-fuller airplanes, with ever-greater seating density, people’s reactions are going to be moderate to poor anyway,” he explained to the New York Times.

John Thomas, head of global aviation for L.E.K. Consulting, added that, “It sounds like they’re also trying to touch on civility in travel again. I think the industry as a whole is trying to subtly do that.”

Despite the flak it has received, on Monday, Fernand Fernandez, American’s vice president of global marketing, defended the campaign, saying, “Customers really have a huge impact on the flying experience.”

[Photo: American Airlines]

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