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Crandall Urges Airline Bosses to Pay More Attention to Their Passengers

Crandall Urges Airline Bosses to Pay More Attention to Their Passengers
Jackie Reddy

Robert “Bob” Crandall, the man responsible for reviving American and a legendary critic of the Carter-era deregulation of the industry, is asking airline bosses to pay more attention to their dissatisfied customers, Forbes reports. Crandall offered insight on the industry at a recent ARC conference.

Robert “Bob” Crandall, the man responsible for reviving American Airlines (AA) and a legendary critic of the Carter-era deregulation of the aviation industry, is asking airline bosses to pay more attention their customers – especially the unhappy ones, Forbes reports.

Offering his insight at a recent conference sponsored by the Airline Reporting Corporation, an organization that offers a wide array of services to the airline and travel industry, Crandall alluded to the fact that the airline industry as it currently operates – as well as the experience that it offers its passengers – is down to the deregulation that occurred within the late 1970s.

Crandall, the outlet says, was vehemently opposed to the 1978 Airline Deregulation Act. “In addition to today’s tight seating, Crandall blamed deregulation for high fare prices in small markets, the lack of any service at all in some small communities, and long lines (of people and planes) at inadequate airports jammed by huge growth in passenger demand over the last 40 years,” it reports.

Notably, this piece of legislation was responsible for the disestablishment of America’s Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), the federal agency that was tasked with regulating the nation’s aviation industry.

During the conference, Crandall apparently criticized this lack of regulatory oversight and was quoted as saying that, “I think we’d be better off with some modicum of regulations that moderate the behavior of the industry.”

Deregulation of the airline industry may certainly have benefited consumers in terms of sheer cost, the outlet writes, but Crandall’s view is that, “…airlines today simply are doing the economically wise thing to do in order to maximize profits … In short, we travel consumers are getting what we most want, cheap transportation. And we are paying for it with those reduced levels of service we complain about so much.”

Crandall, however, was quoted by Forbes as beseeching airline bosses to “pay some more attention to the reaction of your customers,” in order to strike the right balance between offering a decent travel experience and maintaining or even maximizing profit margins.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (6)


  1. strickerj

    October 22, 2018 at 5:19 am

    I agree with his sentiment regarding customer satisfaction, though not his opposition to deregulation. In theory, adequate competition should ensure the markets are well served in terms of price and amenities, depending on what the customers want. The issue is that, as is typically the case in industries with very high startup costs, a few companies become de facto monopolies (telecoms are the same way, with half the country being stuck with Comcast or nothing). This is what I’d like to see regulated – things like punitive fees and tight seating are merely symptoms of this underlying issue.

  2. javabytes

    October 22, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Please come back, Bob. Discount Dougie is busy trashing your airline.

  3. POatParker

    October 25, 2018 at 7:20 am

    THANK YOU BOB!!!! I couldn’t agree more! This is especially true of Douglas Parker. He has long ago crossed the line of human dignity, to hostage on a plane! He is the MOST UN-CUSTOMER-CENTRIC CEO in the industry! A title he has earned and deserves!

  4. jpohl

    October 25, 2018 at 8:53 am

    I am still waiting for a valid lawsuit against the airlines due to the rediculously small pitch between seats. I endured a recent flight on AA in coach with my knees buried in the back of the seat in front of me the whole time and I am only 6′ 2″. My son is 6′ 8″ (and still growing) and if we cannot got additional legroom seating, he literaly does not fit so his legs are either floating into the passenger next to him or in the aisle. There are enough tall people that at some point, something will happen and one or more lawsuits are going to force the airlines to expand the pitch.

  5. KansasMike

    October 25, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    The #1 issue is that airline customers, no matter how intentional or outrageous the airline behavior, have no effective redress. The position of judges and others seems to be, complain to the FAA/DoT — as if that was going to accomplish anything.

    I had a major issue on an overnight American flight where the FA’s tried to stop me from using my C-PAP breathing machine even though it is approved for use by both the FAA and American. I complained after the flight and American (more or less) said “though.” Then spoke to a disability attorney (who had encountered this issue previously) and he said I could complain to DoT and the DoT could fine the airline. I had no personal redress.

    As long as the airlines can get away with this behavior they will keep doing it.

  6. florin

    October 25, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    While I really dislike the crammed seating, I don’t quite get all the law suit talk – airlines offer a product that you can either purchase or not. If you want more legroom, that option is there for more money. Didn’t AA have an initiative where they removed 2 rows of seats to offer more leg room, and ultimately people voted with their wallets and opted for cheaper?

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