The impact of the A319 on loyalty

Old Mar 9, 18, 1:37 pm
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The impact of the A319 on loyalty

I am a CK with AA, so I fly quite frequently. One of the most coveted benefits of CK and most higher level statuses are complementary domestic upgrades. I have already accepted that complementary upgrades have been on the decline (yes, even for CK's). I was an EXP for years and had already witnessed the decline. More recently, I am on a project in Pittsburgh. My company, like many, does not allow for the purchase of FC fares on such short itineraries. I have been working to avoid the A319 as much as possible due to difficulty in upgrading. Unfortunately, it looks like AA is only increasing the use of the A319s on east cost flights (connecting in CLT/PHL in particular). I know what most of you will say, "If you want an FC seat pay for it". I am willing to do just that as long as the price is competitive.

Looking at a flight next week, anything Wed/Thurs afternoon on AA includes at least 1 leg on an A319. As a result, the FC fares are all in the $1,350 range one-way. Switching over to Delta.com, they have numerous flights, at least as convenient, with FC fares between $402-$454. The difference is absurd, and it appears to be because of the fact that the 319 is used on the route with such a small FC cabin leaving only 1 or 2 seats left.

While I understand that AA wants to squeeze additional revenue out of the premium cabin, I haven't met a wealthy (high-yield) individual yet who would make that kind of deal. This will be the second week in a row I have flown Delta. At this rate, I may just switch all of my business to Delta. I cannot believe that was AA's intent when switching their A319's from 12 seats to 8.

The only sign of hope that I have seen is the switch of many routes in CLT/PHL to 737's -- but I can find very few connecting routes that allow you to completely avoid the A319.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 1:47 pm
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Just fly Delta and you'll be much happier......a lot of us are.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 1:57 pm
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To each his/her own, but for me domestic upgrades are way down on the list of benefits that drive my choice to fly AA. As such the A319's small FC cabin has no impact on my "loyalty" to AA.

If DL works better for you...fly DL.


Originally Posted by brianz24 View Post
Looking at a flight next week, anything Wed/Thurs afternoon on AA includes at least 1 leg on an A319. As a result, the FC fares are all in the $1,350 range one-way.
It's a big leap to assume that the prices you are seeing are due solely to the cabin size...
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Old Mar 9, 18, 2:10 pm
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Want first, buy first-but no reason to buy AA. Even if the fates were normal, 50% of the seats don’t have legroom on the A319 in first.

domestic upgrades are the only reason I stay with AA- even though it now means using cash plus copay. Given the reduction in premium capacity on my monthly route of lax-Mia, I see those days ending soon.

just wait until the 737Max comes out and you only get 30” pitch.

Last edited by beachfan; Mar 9, 18 at 5:42 pm
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Old Mar 9, 18, 3:01 pm
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Loyalty is a joke. First year without status and I am free to fly whatever airline fits my price/schedule requirements. Freedom feels great!

The 737-8Max is a horrible Y ride. A319 is horrible. Why would I even choose AA?
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Last edited by bchandler02; Mar 9, 18 at 3:10 pm
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Old Mar 9, 18, 3:13 pm
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And, as stated in another thread, AA is in the market for used A319s.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 3:15 pm
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The LUS 319 had 12F/112Y. The new AA 319 has 8F/18Y+/102Y. Effectively, AA traded off 18 MCE seats for 4 F and 10 Y. It's not hard to imagine that the money they get from being able to sell 18 MCE seats is worth it especially when you consider that the last 4 F seats would almost always be given as free upgrades.

What effect will the A319 have on loyalty? Very little because loyalty has really been lost already. Most people buy based on price and schedule. I have been AA elite for almost a decade. Nonetheless, I just bought a ticket on DL that will involve 20,000 butt-in-seat miles, but only earn 4000 RDM (the 20,000 MQM are useless because I don't have enough MQD to qualify for any status). I bought it because DL's partners could get me halfway around the world for about a thousand bucks and in the most reasonable amount of time. AA wanted 2x the price with some crazy connections. At this point I am more loyal to my travel credit card (CSR) than to any airline.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 3:25 pm
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I've seen a number of flights on A319s recently where FC is sold out months in advance (with economy still 80% empty). To me, that seems like they're missing out on extra FC revenue, and that the decision to downsize FC (from the LUS config) was a poor one. I've noticed similar issues on the LUS 757s, with their terrible FC/economy ratio.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 3:26 pm
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Originally Posted by bse118 View Post
To each his/her own, but for me domestic upgrades are way down on the list of benefits that drive my choice to fly AA. As such the A319's small FC cabin has no impact on my "loyalty" to AA.

If DL works better for you...fly DL.




It's a big leap to assume that the prices you are seeing are due solely to the cabin size...
I don't think that's such a leap at all. The prices between DL and AA are very consistent on the route. Economy/FC are almost identical until a particular cabin fills up, then the price skyrockets. Difference is that DL has quite a bit more FC seats on the route.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 3:32 pm
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I wouldn't pay more than $100 more than Y to fly confirmed F on an A319 on a 2h or less flight. Just take an MCE aisle.

You'll get better food with the complementary snack and drink than you would in F on those flights, anyway, ha!
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Old Mar 9, 18, 3:33 pm
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Originally Posted by msr0013 View Post
I've seen a number of flights on A319s recently where FC is sold out months in advance (with economy still 80% empty). To me, that seems like they're missing out on extra FC revenue, and that the decision to downsize FC (from the LUS config) was a poor one. I've noticed similar issues on the LUS 757s, with their terrible FC/economy ratio.
I think we are on the same page. I'm in the market to buy an FC seat. The problem is that when AA's price is 3X the DL and United price, it makes zero sense to purchase AA.

The pricing on this route is consistent. AA's FC cost pretty much matches DL until there is only 1 or 2 seats left. The problem is their competition isn't raising their FC prices just because AA has little inventory left. While I agree with many that loyalty is far less beneficial than it once was and most likely the airlines don't particularly value it anymore. That said, why would anyone pay $1,362 for something they can get from a competitor for 1/3 the price? Loyalty would be the only reason I can think of. Certainly not superiority of product.

This also leaves me wondering why airlines don't price match like retailers do.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 3:35 pm
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Originally Posted by econometrics View Post
I wouldn't pay more than $100 more than Y to fly confirmed F on an A319 on a 2h or less flight. Just take an MCE aisle.

You'll get better food with the complementary snack and drink than you would in F on those flights, anyway, ha!
I don't disagree with you on the value proposition.

What this is ultimately doing is nudging me in a different direction. Stop traveling altogether. It's becoming unpleasant enough that I'd rather spend my client's money in other, more effective ways.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 3:36 pm
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Originally Posted by brianz24 View Post
I don't think that's such a leap at all. The prices between DL and AA are very consistent on the route. Economy/FC are almost identical until a particular cabin fills up, then the price skyrockets. Difference is that DL has quite a bit more FC seats on the route.
Just a note here that DL has obviously been experimenting with its F fares over the past 18 months or so -- probably from a revenue management standpoint. I have seen some unusually low F fares at times (of course they are nonrefundable and have a change fee). For the first time in my life, I actually bought a couple of round-trips in F. in the past year. On my routes, AA did not match these low F fares .
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Old Mar 9, 18, 3:44 pm
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Originally Posted by brianz24 View Post
I don't disagree with you on the value proposition.

What this is ultimately doing is nudging me in a different direction. Stop traveling altogether. It's becoming unpleasant enough that I'd rather spend my client's money in other, more effective ways.
Personally, I think you're making the right choice. I'm sure it's not easy, but this is the world we live in with airline loyalty today.
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Old Mar 9, 18, 5:16 pm
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Originally Posted by brianz24 View Post
While I understand that AA wants to squeeze additional revenue out of the premium cabin, I haven't met a wealthy (high-yield) individual yet who would make that kind of deal.
There are many companies that would allow their employees (i.e. bankers, corporate execs) to purchase this ticket without batting an eye at the price if their corporate policy allows them to purchase FC and this is a convenient route that fits their schedule
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