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American Airlines

American Airlines’ Beef With Upper Management Goes Viral

American Airlines’ Beef With Upper Management Goes Viral
Jeff Edwards

The results of the latest “American Voice” employee survey has finally reached social media and the outcome is very much in line so far with previous polls in which American Airlines workers expressed enthusiasm for coworkers and even their immediate supervisors, but offered something of a vote of no confidence when it comes to the airline’s senior leadership.

American Airlines’ “American Voice” initiative is a laudable program in that it gives the workers who best understand the carrier’s day-to-day operations a chance to offer potentially valuable feedback to management – in theory without fear of repercussions. Each year, however, when the survey results inevitably become public, the program becomes an exercise in public shaming for the senior leadership at the world’s largest airline.

Responses to last year’s poll, sent to more than 100,000 mainline employees, were downright brutal. For the most part, those responding saved their harshest criticism for upper management. Early indications are that this year’s survey is following a familiar pattern.

According to an internal memo obtained by The Forward Cabinthe more than 40,000 American Airlines employees who responded to the survey were overwhelming positive about their coworkers, immediate supervisors and overall career prospects. Those same workers had mostly unfavorable opinions of their treatment at the hands of upper management and the decisions made by the airline’s executives.

Although less than seven percent of respondents indicated that they expected to leave the company in the foreseeable future and only eight percent of the employees voiced an unfavorable view of coworkers and expressed a similar view of their immediate supervisors, a full 51 percent of those surveyed questioned the decisions made by upper management. Approximately half of respondents indicated that executives did not make the right decisions to support workers and were unlikely to listen or attempt to understand frontline employees and crew members.

These early results aren’t especially surprising given previous surveys and current labor disputes. A series of informational pickets by flight attendants, this summer, and more recently over the holiday weekend travel period, cited work rules, health concerns over recalled uniforms and a harsh new sick time policy as serious grievances – all concerns that fall under the direct purview of senior executives.

[Photo: Reuters/Mike Stone]

View Comments (3)


  1. John Aldeborgh

    November 27, 2018 at 4:33 am

    It’s human nature to understand and appreciate the people immediately around you. As people get organizationally farther away the understanding and appreciate dissipates. So it’s no wonder that the employees blame every gripe on their senior management, after all who else would you blame. We’re all at will employees, change jobs if you’re not satisfied. I’m responsible for my own happiness, it’s all in your attitude.

  2. travelingchumley

    November 27, 2018 at 10:42 am

    This is nothing new. Being a ex VX teammate, I believe the CEO of VX came from AA and he walked away with quite a bit of $$$ when it was the teammates who made the airline. He didn’t care about the teammates, he just saw the $$ if/ when VX was sold.

  3. TheRealBabushka

    November 28, 2018 at 2:01 am

    When US Airways was stalking the legacy AA as it was leaving Chapter 11, wasn’t the courting of the AA union by US Airways execs the thing that sealed the deal?

    Now the workers are unhappy? Make up your mind workers!

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