Why do you bother with AA?

Old Feb 6, 2020, 9:27 pm
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 134
Originally Posted by rrz518
I want to simply ask this question.....Why do you bother with AA?

The background is this: I rarely fly AA, so I don't have much exposure to them. I had a soul-crushing trip on AA this weekend (at a price too good to be true). Aside from various mechanical issues and pretty awful delays, three staff members I encountered in one day (in 3 separate locations) were brusque, officious, unhelpful, and seemingly purposely antagonistic. No answers or assistance to the issues (that AA caused...) were provided. One guy actually told me to sue AA, and the same person also told me that I knew what I was getting into when I bought the ticket. And yet he claimed to "love his job". Sigh.

I just don't see that attitude (consistently at least) on Delta, Southwest or even United. I looked up "best and worst airlines list" and voila, AA was second from the bottom, wedged in between Spirit and Frontier. Not surprisingly, Delta is on top.

The staff issue bothers me. Are they not allowed to solve issues? Are there any empowerment guidelines to do "the right thing" for the passengers when something goes horribly wrong? Are they encouraged or required to use them if they do exist? Honestly - and I don't want to sound Delta-sycophantic - every time I have an issue with them, they really appear to be concerned and try to resolve on-the-spot.

I would imagine in such a large company, they MUST have tons of great employees. But....they also must have tons of bad ones too, and the (consistently petulant and bad) attitudes I encountered really suggest an awful corporate culture.

I suppose there are plenty of reasons to put up with this , but I really would like some background and feedback from those of you that know more about this company than I do.

Not looking to pick a fight....I'm just curious how or why anyone would willingly choose AA (obviously except for better routing, etc.)

Because I live near DFW and havenít had a bad experience with them.
carlosnunez.dfw is offline  
Old Feb 6, 2020, 11:19 pm
Join Date: Nov 2010
Programs: AA CK, UA Silver, Marriott Titanium, Hyatt Globalist, Hilton Diamond, Radisson Platinum
Posts: 82
They treated me well for the years that I was a DFW captive, barely scraping out Gold status. They now treat me extremely well as a multiyear CK.
I did a roundtrip on Delta in F with my wife a couple of years ago (had a voucher to spend from when AA rebooked me on a Delta flight, and the Delta flight had issues). Our experience in Delta F MCO-LAX was the worst I had ever had on a domestic flight, mainly because of the terrible family seated in the row ahead of us, and the FA's complete lack of care or control of her cabin. That said, I wouldn't judge all of Delta off of that one flight.
I go out of my way to fly AA... I'd rather do 1-stop in F than non-stop in Y most of the time. Miles are still worth something, and I've paid for so many vacations for my family... no reason to orphan points off to another airline.
giants_fan is offline  
Old Feb 7, 2020, 5:39 am
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: ORD, sadly...
Programs: AA Exec Plat
Posts: 599
Originally Posted by sassysan
and most AA employees are actually friendly if you are too.
Funny how that works, isn't it?
andrewstahl and Spanish like this.
GrumpyYoungMan is offline  
Old Feb 7, 2020, 7:16 am
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: DFW
Programs: AA, 3MM
Posts: 37
I'm another that is hub-captive with DFW. After 30+ years, 3.5MM, Lifetime Plat and all that which means very little, it's just easier to stick with AA at this point. My EXP/Airpass, 150K miles/year travel days are behind me now (fortunately) so it's mostly convenience at this point. When things go bad, as they will, I at least know who to call to get myself out of the situation. I know that I am no longer the target audience for AA's services, so therefore I know what to expect and seldom disappointed because my expectations are so low. Expect little, get little, arrive safe and walk away.

For our int'l leisure travel I am more of a free agent, for sure. We still use AA a lot being we do the Caribbean frequently. Otherwise, Air France gets us to Paris/Europe and Cathay handles the orient. I'll take AA as miles allow, pricing or schedule dictates, but I'm not a fan of DFW Customs & Immigration compared to some other airports, which makes my free agent decisions easier at times, but that is not an indictment against AA whatsoever.
Mynoles1 is offline  
Old Feb 7, 2020, 8:32 am
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: St. Louis, MO, USA
Programs: AA PPro, Mariott Gold Elite, Lowly kettle across every other loyalty program.
Posts: 781
In general, AA has the best domestic F connections from my outstation (STL). Would have done this year's international J trip on AA, but by the time we were ready to book (>9 months out!), the premium to avoid LHR was $1700pp, so booked a single connection on UA via EWR (which I may yet regret.) A little sorry to lose the potential miles.
iplaybass is offline  
Old Feb 7, 2020, 11:45 am
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Los Angeles& Telluride
Programs: UA1K, 1MM,AA Exec. Platinum, Global Entry, Nexus
Posts: 731
Great thread with potential for a myriad of answers. Many will wank and complain. But for me AA offers me:
1. Best routing for where my life takes me
2. Opportunity to use my SWU's at the time of reservation for places and hard products I don't mind flying TPAC or TATL.
3. Lifetime Gold, so at 6'3" i can choose any exit row or bulkhead seat.
4. Domestically, I fly coach W->E and F on the return. Fares are not that outrageous unless flying to JFK.
5. I've had a few IRROPS and based on my experiences, Admiral's club staff bent over backwards to get me home, no matter how stupid the routing was. In these instances, I was raised to be kind, caring and compassionate to people, so when I'm frustrated and pissed due to the "situation", I remember the agents are there to help me and not to blame. Got lots of war stories of DYKWIA people not getting what they want and I'm on the flight in their seat.
6. One world is ok. It works for me. JAL and BA are ok. See #5 . Being nice gets you places and seats.
7. MOST important, yet also the saddest thing. LOWERING my expectations.

It won't change so this is the new reality and norm. Expecting anything less than this is the epitome of stupidity.
tomj888 is offline  
Old Feb 7, 2020, 12:08 pm
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: SJC (AA PLT 2MM - Marriott LTT - Avis Preferred)
Posts: 2,073
(posted some of this on a similar thread in TravelBuzz)
  • I originally flew AA out of necessity for work eons ago, and ex-SJC I flew n/s to BOS, AUS, NRT, PHX. I got AC membership when SJC still had a club and they treated me well there.
  • When I started flying overseas more often, I had by that time earned PLT quite frequently and started going out of my way to connect to OW hubs, despite the convenience of *A to Europe and Asia ex-SFO.
  • As I ramped up travel to earn EXP and my family started benefiting from UG instruments, staying loyal to AA in the Bay Area became a no-brainer.
  • Meanwhile, the AC AAngels have worked miracles for me and my family during IRROPS over time.
  • My current work keeps me off the road, but I'm happy to have stuck through the flight reductions to enjoy the benefits of LTP, if nothing more than for the free bags, free MCE, priority boarding, and OW lounges.
ntamayo is offline  
Old Feb 7, 2020, 12:34 pm
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: SJC
Programs: AA 2MM PLT, HH Gold, Marriott Silver
Posts: 613
Back when I was peak-flying, AA had a hub in SJC so they were usually the best option, even had non-stops to Japan. AA also had decent intra-California routes through the Air Cal and Reno Air acquisitions (briefly, before they killed them off). Even afterwards, they had good flights to NYC when one of my children was going to college there, and status gave me free checked bags and the occasional transcon upgrade.

Now, I may look at AA as my first option strictly due to lifetime PLT status, but have become increasingly agnostic. Generally AS/DL/B6/UA/etc. have more flights and better schedules, and are also usually less expensive so often get my paid travel instead of AA.
JHunter is offline  
Old Feb 7, 2020, 2:29 pm
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: KSUX
Posts: 908
Interesting thread.

The main reason I fly AA is because they're the only airline to serve our airport though that may change after some major renovations are completed later this year. Since they currently only fly to ORD or DFW from here I'm pretty much hub captive by proxy. Sure I could connect to a different airline there but as a leisure traveler I usually check a bag which means having to collect it, recheck it and re-clear security. Even with pre-check that's a pain. The local AA staff here are amazing and have bent over backwards to help when irrops hit. Honestly I can't remember having a truly horrible experience with AA but I suppose as an occasional flyer the chances are lower that I will than the typical FTer.
LtKernelPanic is offline  
Old Feb 7, 2020, 3:54 pm
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Wesley Chapel, FL
Programs: American Airlines
Posts: 30,492
I fly them for their on time performance.

Take for instance my current flight I’m on waiting to take off on —2233 — to MEX. Inbound plane arrived 90 minutes ago. We are all fully boarded and door closed 15 before departure time. Captain gets on the horn (never a good sign) and says “hi welcome aboard. We are hungry and we need to eat so it will be another 30 minutes”. Really AA? Is it ever humanely possible to not be delayed? God forbid we leave early

enviroian is online now  
Old Feb 7, 2020, 4:26 pm
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Valley of the Sun, AZ, USA
Programs: AA Plat, HHonors (working back up)
Posts: 507
Because I live in PHX and my choices are pretty much Southwest and America West US Air American for domestic non-stops
FlyinMike is offline  
Old Feb 7, 2020, 7:25 pm
Join Date: Dec 2018
Programs: $9 Fare Club
Posts: 1,530
Because I don't value my time and neither do they. Perfect match.
ChurnieEls is offline  
Old Feb 7, 2020, 8:32 pm
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: OSL/IAH/ZRH (time, not preference)
Programs: UA1K, LH GM, AA EXP->GM
Posts: 38,318
I enjoy the Cathay lounge access and priority boarding. On rare occasions, Qantas privileges - I hardly ever fly AA.
Originally Posted by IntVic
(1) Prefer AA premium economy cabin & IFE over BA's sometimes old equipment...
I don't. Especially not after the massive downgrade in food quality.

BA has Victorian era seats, I agree but their catering and service is miles ahead ... or above.
weero is offline  
Old Feb 8, 2020, 8:05 pm
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: YVR
Programs: OZ Diamond, Jiffypark Manhattan Gold
Posts: 4,485
Originally Posted by GunsOfNavarone
EXP Desk. I fly on average eight plus segments per week, 40 weeks per year. Problems happen when one has eight plus flights per week- and 99 percent of the time one call to the EXP desk makes it all better. And on the one percent that one call does not fix.... I just hang up and call again....
TBH when I was super elite with Air Canada, I almost never used the concierge, but it was nice to have, and nice to know it was there. So I totally get this. Lots of the mid tier elites kinda don't get it, or the alliance elites don't see it, but having that team/person who has your back when .... hits the fan is nice.
GunsOfNavarone likes this.
drvannostren is offline  
Old Feb 9, 2020, 2:49 pm
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 124
I fly AA because:
  • They have the most flights in and out of my small national airport.
  • I can usually get a flight through DFW, which has nice clubs and is driving distance from my house (4.5 hours) if I get stuck.
  • Being able to book directly into MCE as a Platinum is better than the current system for Comfort Plus through Delta.
  • The ability to upgrade to FC for very little money as a Platinum by using stickers.
  • Direct flights from my airport to DCA, which I use often.
  • Gate-to-gate Wi-Fi on the bigger, satellite-equipped flights (WN has this on all flights - big advantage there.)

If I ever leave AA it will be because:
  • Maintenance issues plague AA. Itís outrageous and doesnít seem to be a problem for DL.
  • CLT and ORD are unavoidable for me sometimes, and unlike DFW they are VASTLY inferior to ATL.
argolfer is offline  

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