22,000 miles -- 10 Observations about AA

 
Old Sep 7, 15, 6:40 am
  #1  
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22,000 miles -- 10 Observations about AA

The past month, I've flown 22,000 miles . . . all on American. I'm exec plat, and wanted to share some overall observations based on these trips:

1. The inflight experience varies wildly. There is a shocking lack of consistency in the experience of flying on American. Some FA's (about 10 percent) offer a pre-departure drink and provide great service. Others, do the bare minimum, and a few are downright hostile. If AA could clone the best of its crew, I believe it could compete with any airline, anywhere.

2. You can fly in coach, and survive
. I flew in coach a couple of times, and actually enjoyed it. The seats aren't that bad, and getting a free adult beverage and choice from the snack cart isn't half bad. The sandwich with beef and coleslaw is actually better tasting that some of the food in first. Also, FA's seem to know who is Exec Plat and offer, or at least provide, this service willingly.

3. The Inflight Entertainment on the newer planes is great
, with a wide variety of programming. However, on the old system, the choice is extremely limited. Again, a huge lack of consistency.

4. The new Airbus planes are amazing to fly. Clean, New and Comfortable.

5. For me, the most tasty meal choice on international flights if often the pasta.
I've tried nearly all of the choices, and for my taste, the pasta is often the best meal.

6. AA's Frequent Flyer program works amazingly well.
In nearly all the flights, my partner and I were upgraded. We used system-wide upgrades, and on most domestic flights we were in first. Having been top tier with both Delta and UAL in the past, I can say that AA's program is by far the best. I pray that it continues.

7. Admirals Clubs are Worth it! With all the domestic flying, I bought a 1-month membership to the Admirals Club. What a great investment! A great place to hang out, very helpful staff, and the added food options including the tasty soups, make it a haven.

8. We're all in this together. It finally dawned on me that when we fly, we're all in the experience together . . . the Flight crew and passengers, and we all have a role in making it a good experience. Being helpful to other passengers, help squeezing in an extra suitcase, being appreciative of the FA's all contribute to an overall good experience. When I started to take responsibility for making the flight good . . . rather than only expecting others to make it good for me, traveling got better.

9. The Executive Platinum line is worth its weight in gold. It's hard to count the number of times these staff members have been patient, helped change flights, hunted for an upgrade, answered questions, gone the second mile. (As a contrast, I booked a flight on Emirates and could barely understand the person in the off-shore call center.)

10. Be the very first, or the very last to enter the plane. Boarding the plane can be chaotic. Being among the first, makes the experience better. Likewise, when we didn't need much luggage in the overhead bin, coming in when everyone else was in and seated, also worked well. Avoid the crush.
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Old Sep 7, 15, 9:45 am
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I agree 100%. I've made two MIA trips and one to SAN the past few days and have experienced a lot. A new 767 business class, an old 767 business class, two new 737 cabins and two old ones. My best crew by far was the one in the old 767 business class. I even chatted with them for a while in the front of the cabin for a while, it was also the only flight (5 of the 6 were in F) that I was offered a PDB. I also got a 30 day AC pass (good through the beginning of October as I'll be doing a fair amount of flying this month) and used it for the first time yesterday... The club at D14 in MIA was outstanding. When I was in it it was largely empty and extremely quiet and I was able to actually get 3 solid hours of work done! I would also agree that AA needs to work to better provide some consistency, doing so would take an airline that I enjoy flying and make it that much better.
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Old Sep 7, 15, 4:02 pm
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Yes to the observations.

August was a busy flying month for me as well.

The one thing I'd like to add is that some folks are still carrying on too much baggage. And general stuff.

A bit of humor. On one flight a middle aged man seated next to me asked if I'd mind sewing on a button that came off his suit coat.

He said that judging by my age he believed I would know how to do so.

Well yes.

He'd bought a sewing kit in the airport but wasn't sure how to operate it.

At least now he should be able to sew on a button.
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Old Sep 7, 15, 5:54 pm
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Originally Posted by oldpenny16 View Post
August was a busy flying month for me as well.

The one thing I'd like to add is that some folks are still carrying on too much baggage. And general stuff.

A bit of humor. On one flight a middle aged man seated next to me asked if I'd mind sewing on a button that came off his suit coat.

He said that judging by my age he believed I would know how to do so.

Well yes.

He'd bought a sewing kit in the airport but wasn't sure how to operate it.

At least now he should be able to sew on a button.
But, where does one plug the sewing kit in?
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Old Sep 8, 15, 9:09 am
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I'm in agreement with most of this.

The EP line is excellent, no doubt about it.

The AA inconsistency is vast, much greater than anyone might think looking at it from outside. Vast difference in service quality between crew, vast difference in aircraft equipment and comfort. Which is bad if you travel a lot, because if you travel infrequently only a small part of your life is affected, but if you travel a lot, then much of your life is affected by the travel, so if the travel is inconsistent, your life is inconsistent, and that's bad (stressful).
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Old Sep 8, 15, 9:50 am
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22,000 miles -- 10 Observations about AA

There are months were I am doing around 30,000 a month for a few months
Granted that is because it's all international
I have appreciated all the good that AA had to offer and yes like with life there are some great crews and some not so great bordering on really awful
But as with life you take the good with the bad
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Old Sep 8, 15, 12:47 pm
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ATTENTION PLEASE...THE PROPER TERM IS FAs...NOT FA's. THERE IS NO APOSTROPHE WHEN REFERRING TO THE PLURAL OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS!!! THE APOSTROPHE IS USED AS A POSSESSIVE OF THE SINGULAR IN SUCH CASES.

Otherwise I tend to concur with the OP's assessment based on my own experiences with AA over the past two years as an ExecPlat.
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Old Sep 8, 15, 7:14 pm
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Originally Posted by tarmac View Post

2. You can fly in coach, and survive[/B]. I flew in coach a couple of times, and actually enjoyed it. The seats aren't that bad, and getting a free adult beverage and choice from the snack cart isn't half bad. The sandwich with beef and coleslaw is actually better tasting that some of the food in first. Also, FA's seem to know who is Exec Plat and offer, or at least provide, this service willingly.
My bolding in your text above. I'm assuming that the flights were AA and not US flights as on US flights the sandwiches are charged for EXP and only the snacks are free. I was surprised last week on my LAX-IAD flight on US when I was told that I'd be charged for the sandwich but would get a small discount as an EXP and only the snack items were free. I did verify this on the EXP benefits where any item on AA flights are free but only snacks are free on US flights.
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Old Sep 9, 15, 12:46 am
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Thumbs up

8. We're all in this together. It finally dawned on me that when we fly, we're all in the experience together . . . the Flight crew and passengers, and we all have a role in making it a good experience. Being helpful to other passengers, help squeezing in an extra suitcase, being appreciative of the FA's all contribute to an overall good experience. When I started to take responsibility for making the flight good . . . rather than only expecting others to make it good for me, traveling got better.
So true. Now, you don't have to do the job of the cabin crew or ground staff, but helping fellow passengers can make such a difference, both for your and their comfort. Helping stow and retrieve carry-on is a good example.

A big thumbs up to all those passengers that graciously handed someone their carry-on, that was stowed a couple rows "upstream". It means everybody gets off that much faster.
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Old Sep 9, 15, 3:08 pm
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Originally Posted by tarmac View Post

2. You can fly in coach, and survive
. I flew in coach a couple of times, and actually enjoyed it. The seats aren't that bad, and getting a free adult beverage and choice from the snack cart isn't half bad. The sandwich with beef and coleslaw is actually better tasting that some of the food in first. Also, FA's seem to know who is Exec Plat and offer, or at least provide, this service willingly.
Of course you can.

Be sure and bring your own IFE, hunker down and get lost in a book, movie, Angry Birds game, etc.
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Old Sep 9, 15, 3:14 pm
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Originally Posted by AtlanticX View Post
So true. Now, you don't have to do the job of the cabin crew or ground staff, but helping fellow passengers can make such a difference, both for your and their comfort. Helping stow and retrieve carry-on is a good example.

A big thumbs up to all those passengers that graciously handed someone their carry-on, that was stowed a couple rows "upstream". It means everybody gets off that much faster.
I agree.

The passengers far outnumber the flight and cabin crew. In the event of an emergency, well-informed passengers who are ready and willing to assist others could make a huge (perhaps life or death) difference.

On the vast majority of routine flights, the attitude of the passengers can be crucial. I am willing to swap seats, if asked politely. I don't mind assisting others with carry-on bags and have been pleasant and friendly to a kid seated next to me.

We're all in it together.
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Old Sep 10, 15, 12:44 am
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Originally Posted by tarmac View Post

2. You can fly in coach, and survive.
I flew in coach a couple of times, and actually enjoyed it. The seats aren't that bad, and getting a free adult beverage and choice from the snack cart isn't half bad. The sandwich with beef and coleslaw is actually better tasting that some of the food in first. Also, FA's seem to know who is Exec Plat and offer, or at least provide, this service willingly.
Very true, especially if you get MCE, and it's on an plane where there are only 2 seats on one side--- a.k.a. on the 763, some 777's, and the MD-80.

And despite many people complaining about the MD-80's, I'll take one any day over another plane that has a 3x3 configuration in coach--- 2x3 on the MD80 makes a big difference. The only major issue with many of the MD-80's is that due to their age they seem to suffer more mechanical delays than the other birds AA flies.

Originally Posted by tarmac View Post

7. Admirals Clubs are Worth it! With all the domestic flying, I bought a 1-month membership to the Admirals Club. What a great investment! A great place to hang out, very helpful staff, and the added food options including the tasty soups, make it a haven.
Having been to domestic SkyClubs, United Clubs, and of course Admirals Clubs all in the span of the last 90 days, I can say unequivocally, I will again renew my Admirals Club membership again this year, [for the 12th year in a row] despite shifting some of my travel over to DL.

The AC's have by far the friendliest and most helpful employees among the clubs, the legacy AA clubs are the most elegant domestic clubs of The Big 3 domestic carriers' clubs, and--- the cleanest! AA still makes sure that the bathrooms at the AC get cleaned frequently and that drink glasses and other items are removed in seating areas often.

The soups are a nice true enhancement from the merger, and IMHO, the best thing US has brought to the AA side thus far. [with of course, US having more regularity of PDB's in F, domestically]
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Old Sep 11, 15, 8:30 am
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Originally Posted by Shareholder View Post
ATTENTION PLEASE...THE PROPER TERM IS FAs...NOT FA's....THE APOSTROPHE IS USED AS A POSSESSIVE OF THE SINGULAR IN SUCH CASES.
Let's see, we've all noticed that English evolves, often in ways we can't predict. If enough people agree, pretty soon Websters and Oxfords would too.
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Old Sep 12, 15, 8:23 am
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My frustration with AA has been increasing of late.

Agree that the product is very inconsistent. There are good and bad everywhere but seeing AA now compared to where it was is so disappointing.

Flew TATL last week and there was an issue on all four of my flights. Domestic flight #1 had an issue with the electronics and we were subjected to the continuous chiming of the bell for the final 20 minutes of flight and the whole way to the gate. Flight #2 (TATL) had not power from the powerports up front. FA's response: "well, at lease the IFE is working." Flight #3 (TATL) same issue with the power. Flight #4 (domestic). Delayed departure due to incoming flight crew late. Flight crew all saunter up to the gate 20 min after scheduled departure with bags of Bojangles in tow. Before someone point out they need to eat I'd point out that in flight the FA distributed the airline provided meals to the crew as well. For this I paid several thousand dollars.

Two weeks ago they lost my partner's check bag on a non-stop flight from ORD-PIT and it took 36 hours for it to finally find its way to Pittsburgh.

There are a number of things that AA does well (EXP line, Flagship Check-In, Advantage program) but there are a number of things that are just heading in the wrong direction. If AA wants to compete with premium carriers, and even airlines like DL, they need to realize that the details matter. It's the difference between good and great.
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