Why do you bother with AA?

Old Feb 5, 20, 4:48 pm
  #1  
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Why do you bother with AA?

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.)

Thanks
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Last edited by JDiver; Feb 5, 20 at 6:21 pm Reason: Redacted unnecessary characterization
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Old Feb 5, 20, 4:49 pm
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Mainly price or routing but having the credit card for free bags help too.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 4:50 pm
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Because I have Lifetime Gold status in the AAdvantage program.

And previously, because they served Pepsi.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 5:00 pm
  #4  
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I choose AA because I travel frequently for work out of DFW and am hub captive to AA despite my despise for them.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 5:09 pm
  #5  
 
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I live in DFW and AA rules the world. I wish maybe delta can come back....
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Old Feb 5, 20, 5:11 pm
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For a long time I flew AA long-haul to/from Japan because they offer the cheapest path to business class (cheap economy tix can be upgraded to biz for 25K miles + $350 each way).
However, given the scaling back of ORD service to Japan and the smaller J cabins across the board compared to UA, I now fly them less.
I will still happily fly AA TPAC if the Y ticket is cheap and upgrades immediately confirmable.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 5:20 pm
  #7  
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Iím no AA apologist, but Iíve said this before.... in over 30 years in and out of PHL (never connecting there), Iíve had a tiny number of issues with delays within the airlineís control, bags or customer service even though I tend to avoid much interaction with staff because I prefer to just handle what I can by myself.

Yes, until around 7 years ago this was US Air/Airways so it was a different company and culture pre merger. But Iím betting most of my exPHL crews I get today are legacy US crews and theyíre mostly good. These past 2 months Iíve given out more A&B certs then I did the entire previous year!

You're right that itís a huge airline (biggest in the world) so you seem to have run into a few bad apples who missed that day of customer empathy training. Only you can decide if itís worth giving another shot and encountering employees who are a little more warm.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 5:29 pm
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I fly mostly through MIA and CLT--both AA-dominated hubs without many other practical choices, and the AC AAngels have fixed too many messed up situations for me to count.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 5:30 pm
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Originally Posted by rrz518 View Post
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.
To answer this part of the question, they answer is No. Front line employees are empowered to do some things during IRROPS, but for the most part, they aren't empowered to do things to make a customer happy. Without knowing what happened, it's hard to say whether they should've helped you more or not. But, simply put, AA's front-line employees can't help with many things that customers are un-happy about unfortunately.

And to answer, why do I bother? Well, I live in a hub area (PHL), so if I want non-stop flights, AA it is. When it was US Airways, things were much better. In general, things were on time (outside of weather issues) and the crews/ground staff were always pleasant. Since the merger, things have certainly gone very downhill.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 5:32 pm
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I am a lifetime platinum and have been flying AA for almost 40 yeas. In the "good old days" flying was a completely different experience and AA was one of the best airlines in the world. With a combination of factors, i.e. deregulation, low cost carriers, bankruptcies etc. The whole airline industry has changed dramatically.

All that said, I am retired and usually fly ow airlines internationally all over the world in j & sometimes f using aa miles. Domestically i stick with aa and usually buy business. I believe all the american carriers, including delta, are a mere shadow of what they use to be.
In some respects it goes back to the old saying "you get what you pay for".

YMMV
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Old Feb 5, 20, 5:34 pm
  #11  
 
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Though my little local airport now has one United connection, AA offers the best schedule and connections. Sigh.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 5:36 pm
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by rrz518 View Post
I want to ask this question in the hopes that no one is offended or overly protective of AA by my perceived "attack", and in the spirit of simply asking the 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.)

Thanks
I rarely fly Delta or United, and while I haven't experienced misery with them, they have never been any better than my average AA experience. So I stick with AA, who I've flown with all my life.

I can't stand Southwest's seating policy, and don't get me started on their schtick...
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Old Feb 5, 20, 5:37 pm
  #13  
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First, I have had issues with all the carriers I have ever flown, except for Cathay
My worst experience happened to be on DL
I fly AA mainly due to free checked bags, seating, and lounge access, as I am lifetime Platinum obtained at a time when all miles earned counted toward that 2 MM
Thanks to Flyertalk, a lot of that was done with triple and quadruple miles earning (triple miles, plus the standard 100 percent PLT and EXP bonuses back then)
When it makes sense to not fly AA, I don't fly AA.
I will NEVER fly Spirit
I like WN for the free baggage, and ability to cancel and get full credit toward new flights. I am iffy on their seating, because I like the ability to pick MCE on AA, and I do not want to pay for a better boarding number on Southwest
I flew one roundtrip on Allegiant from PIE (Clearwater/St Pete) to PIA (Peoria), because even after paying the better seat fee and overhead bin fee it was still cheaper than AA, AND because it saved a connection. Additionally, I lived closer to PIE.
Unfortunately it was not on 3/14 because that is when PIE gives away pie to everyone (or did back then)
Luckily I had no IRROPS because they only had 3 or 4 flights per week.
We flew Lufthansa in June DFW-FRA-GOA (Genoa, not that city in India) and MXP-FRA-DFW, because at the time I purchased the tickets AA offered economy about the same price as I was able to get Premium Economy on Lufthansa
As it was TATL, baggage fees were not an issue, and because it was PE, I didn't need status for an MCE seat. The only thing I really missed was lounge access, but I survived.
With ticket prices being equal domestically or internationally, I would choose AA over any US based carrier, unless I could avoid a connection (but not if that nonstop was on Spirit)
I am also happy with the 8K miles for award travel from MCO to DFW as I have for travel in late Feb.
What I would like AA to do is to enforce it's policies when I am traveling, whether it be for Persons of Size, Smelly People, or Requiring people to use earphones or headsets on their devices with audio (tablet, computers, phones, etc)
I do not want to hear the constant noise from a child playing a video game or watching a video, or from an adult who thinks we need to hear his video or music.......... I also hate people who driving around thinking their car sound system needs to be heard by everyone.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 5:43 pm
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Pre-2012, I was 1K on United for a number of years. But, things devolved to a pretty desperate place with the Continental merger at that time. AA offered a great enticement to come over and it was fantastic. Things have certainly deteriorated, but not yet to the extent where I want to go back to UA or start all over with Delta.

That said, a few things keep me at AA versus UA or DL:

1. Network and Partners - I like where I can get via a nonstop on AA, both domestically and internationally. I also like where I can get with OW partners. Skyteam is a bust in my opinion and while Star Alliance is great, I prefer BA and hubbing through London on trips to Europe because I try to work in a stopover. The UA days always involved connecting via Frankfurt, where I had no interest in spending any time. I like the OW partners (BA, IB, AY, JL, CX) because they go where I want to go. Mileage redemptions follow the same network/partners. The loss of LATAM is gonna hurt b/c I do go to South America annually, but AA still has great service down there and the only LAX-EZE nonstop.
2. Admirals Clubs - I know that UA has improved their clubs, but ca. 2012, there was nary a shower to be had in a United Club. Also, I like my AC membership via the Citi MC as does my spouse.
3. Hubs - When I connect, it's at DFW 90% of the time and that works for me. I also like Flagship route between LAX-JFK. I find all this preferable to the old days of connecting via IAH, EWR, IAD on UA

As someone based out of LAX, it's probably a toss-up as we're quite fortunate with choices and no dominant carrier. I don't think it's nirvana anywhere else and for my own purposes, AA works well. Qualifying for PLAT each year is fairly simple, but it leaves me as a free agent when I want to be opportunistic to hop on a good fare with another airline. When I was striving for ExPlat or 1K, I really felt captive to the airline/alliance and I'm glad that pressure's gone.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 5:45 pm
  #15  
 
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Originally Posted by mvoight View Post
First, I have had issues with all the carriers I have ever flown, except for Cathay
My worst experience happened to be on DL
Ditto, on both counts. DL has stranded me multiple times in ATL, each time due to a mechanical delay.

I've flown AA probably 200 times in the past few years. Except for a few random delays, mostly due to weather with a few mechanical (that happen on every airline), I've never experienced much of the stuff people on FT talk about. And, for that those things that I do, it's usually not a big deal where I'd choose someone else to fly over it.
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