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Things I Miss That AAdvantage Used to Do

Things I Miss That AAdvantage Used to Do

Old Nov 21, 22, 5:49 pm
  #1  
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Things I Miss That AAdvantage Used to Do

1. Being able to "pay the difference" to upgrade an award ticket. Flying to LAX to JFK in the 747, overnight flight. Award was always counted as a "Y" fare. The "Fn" fare was only $25 more. So I paid the $25 and flew in First Class.
2. "Last seat" availability for award travel. Order my certificate for a domestic round trip to anywhere (I think it was 20,000 miles?). Walk into LAX 2 hours before the flight to JFK and say "I want to fly to JFK in 2 hours and return on Thursday" and hand them the certificate and they handed me back the ticket.
3. Block the seat next to me, in coach (the block went away at the gate, but it almost always held up).
4. Lifetime miles that were guaranteed to work off the same award chart for life. (It was in a letter from Mike Gunn that I kept in my file.) They broke that promise about 15 years later, and it is one of the few times that I felt that AA cheated me.
5. Channel 11 for air to ground communication throughout the flight.
6. Anna Jefferson (LAX) greeting me a few times a week and giving me a first class seat without any upgrade instruments, before I was a Platinum, because she (and others) had the authority to make decisions.
7. Going to the Aadmiral's Club whenever I was at the airport, not limited to flying AA (after having paid for 38 years of membership I probably should have bought lifetime).
8. I thought I would miss "hard" tickets. I was wrong.
9. Talking to my seat mate (it was common to talk for an hour or two going trans-con - now I make trans-con flights without saying "hi" to the person next to me).
10 Taking 2 carryons (garment bag and LARGE briefcase) plus a personal item (computer case) and hanging my garment bag in the front closet. (Well, as I get older and less interested in carrying 70 pounds I may not miss it too much.)
11. Full meals served in coach. I agree it was almost never amazing food. But why has it become accepted that people want to sit in a seat, for 3-6 hours, without a meal.
12. Hot meals served in First Class. I won't eat a "wrap" even if I am hungry.

I am probably forgetting some others.
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Last edited by sbrower; Nov 21, 22 at 6:32 pm
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Old Nov 21, 22, 6:26 pm
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by sbrower View Post
1. Being able to "pay the difference" to upgrade an award ticket. Flying to LAX to JFK in the 747, overnight flight. Award was always counted as a "Y" fare. The "Fn" fare was only $25 more. So I paid the $25 and flew in First Class.
2. "Last seat" availability for award travel. Order my certificate for a domestic round trip to anywhere (I think it was 20,000 miles?). Walk into LAX 2 hours before the flight to JFK and say "I want to fly to JFK in 2 hours and return on Thursday" and hand them the certificate and they handed me back the ticket.
3. Block the seat next to me, in coach (the block went away at the gate, but it almost always held up).
4. Lifetime miles that were guaranteed to work off the same award chart for life. (It was in a letter from Mike Gunn that I kept in my file.) They broke that promise about 15 years later, and it is one of the few times that I felt that AA cheated me.
5. Channel 11 for air to ground communication throughout the flight.
6. Anna Jefferson (LAX) greeting me a few times a week and giving me a first class seat without any upgrade instruments, before I was a Platinum, because she (and others) had the authority to make decisions.
7. Going to the Aadmiral's Club whenever I was at the airport, not limited to flying AA (after having paid for 38 years of membership I probably should have bought lifetime).
8. I thought I would miss "hard" tickets. I was wrong.
9. Talking to my seat mate (it was common to talk for an hour or two going trans-con - now I make trans-con flights without saying "hi" to the person next to me).
10 Taking 2 carryons (garment bag and LARGE briefcase) plus a personal item (computer case) and hanging my garment bag in the front closet. (Well, as I get older and less interested in carrying 70 pounds I may not miss it too much.)

I am probably forgetting some others.

Great post. Gets at, I think, the core of the two competing loyalty ideologies in the industry today:
  1. Loyalty programs should be designed on the premise that consumers on balance skew irrational and can be kept loyal through a combination of hub dominance ("the network is the product") + some discounts at starbucks;
    vs.
  2. Loyalty programs should be designed on the premise that consumers on balance skew rational and should be designed to offer aspirational experiences which would otherwise be unattainable to incentivize loyalty.

Aadvantage has moved away from 2 and toward 1, although I suppose the Loyalty Points revamp can arguably be cast as a small step back toward 2. Skymiles is 1 epitomized. MileagePlus leans 1, but preserves a few aspects of 2. Industry trend generally seems to be (sadly) toward 1 at the expense of 2, but notably Aeroplan has bucked that trend and is pretty clearly banking on theory 2. Interesting times.
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Old Nov 21, 22, 6:26 pm
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I miss having better food/snack options as an EXP flying in coach. That cheese and fruit plate was really helpful at times. Multiple transcon flights now have had only a pretzel or cookie.
And multiple system wide upgrades that came with EXP.
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Old Nov 21, 22, 6:32 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by sbrower View Post
5. Channel 11 for air to ground communication throughout the flight.
How long ago was this a thing?

I certainly remember channel 9 (and on certain older equipment channel 4) on UA but I never remember ATC on AA.
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Old Nov 21, 22, 6:32 pm
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What years are the original list from?

I only started working a decade ago, so AA hasn't changed that much in my time.
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Old Nov 21, 22, 6:36 pm
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The past few years are the only time I've been elite on the same airline more than two years in a row. But regarding item #4, while I have no idea how AA did it, in the late 1990's UA created an old mile/new mile dichotomy, where "old" miles could be redeemed on the old award chart for a period of a few years.
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Old Nov 21, 22, 6:41 pm
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Originally Posted by redtop43 View Post
But regarding item #4, while I have no idea how AA did it, in the late 1990's UA created an old mile/new mile dichotomy, where "old" miles could be redeemed on the old award chart for a period of a few years.
AA did the same. And maybe around the same time as UA?
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Old Nov 21, 22, 7:15 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by Herb687 View Post
How long ago was this a thing?

I certainly remember channel 9 (and on certain older equipment channel 4) on UA but I never remember ATC on AA.
Good question. I would say that some parts of the list go back 20+ year, maybe 25+ years on the oldest (they were in effect 35 years ago, but I don't remember when they stopped).

Specifically regarding AA, I think I was told that they stopped it around the time of one of their major crashes.
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Old Nov 21, 22, 8:06 pm
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I mostly miss the award rules.
  1. OW90C oneworld explorer award
  2. Guaranteed space around 365 days out
  3. Fun promotions at 20th/25th anniversary
  4. Award stopovers even on canada-us tickets
  5. Free car rental with first awards (only did once)
  6. AAnytime price put a floor on the value of my miles
  7. TATL business was not nearly as good but at least I could get it
  8. I remember it was easy to cheaply change my flight the day before even without status
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Old Nov 21, 22, 8:21 pm
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Originally Posted by Herb687 View Post
How long ago was this a thing?
I certainly remember channel 9 (and on certain older equipment channel 4) on UA but I never remember ATC on AA.
While live ATC was never as prevalent on AA as UA, there was a brief period (I want to say late 1970's) when we had both ATC and a camera in the cockpit that was turned on for TO and landings. It went away when a crew member croked on camera.
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Old Nov 21, 22, 9:11 pm
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I have you all beat.
I miss being able to go into the cockpit as a kid. Not before or after the flight but DURING the flight. I miss showing an interest in aviation as a young kid and being able to sit in the cockpit jumpseat for the whole flight. I have one more that could be added to this list, but FARs...

edit: I know this is an aadvantage thing, but I always flew USair back in the day, so close enough...
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Old Nov 21, 22, 9:48 pm
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Originally Posted by stant View Post
I have you all beat.
I miss being able to go into the cockpit as a kid. Not before or after the flight but DURING the flight. I miss showing an interest in aviation as a young kid and being able to sit in the cockpit jumpseat for the whole flight. I have one more that could be added to this list, but FARs...

edit: I know this is an aadvantage thing, but I always flew USair back in the day, so close enough...
I only got to fly jumpseat once, on a company plane flying from Massachusetts to Wisconsin. It was pretty cool though.
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Old Nov 21, 22, 10:56 pm
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Originally Posted by stant View Post
I have you all beat.
I miss being able to go into the cockpit as a kid. Not before or after the flight but DURING the flight. I miss showing an interest in aviation as a young kid and being able to sit in the cockpit jumpseat for the whole flight. I have one more that could be added to this list, but FARs...

edit: I know this is an aadvantage thing, but I always flew USair back in the day, so close enough...
One of my regrets is about 20 years ago(?) when an AA captain offered me the jump seat for a transcon in the DC-10 (still had flight engineer). I passed, thinking that I wanted to enjoy my first class seat. Big mistake since you can't do it any more.
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Old Nov 21, 22, 11:49 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by sbrower View Post
1. Being able to "pay the difference" to upgrade an award ticket. Flying to LAX to JFK in the 747, overnight flight. Award was always counted as a "Y" fare. The "Fn" fare was only $25 more. So I paid the $25 and flew in First Class.
2. "Last seat" availability for award travel. Order my certificate for a domestic round trip to anywhere (I think it was 20,000 miles?). Walk into LAX 2 hours before the flight to JFK and say "I want to fly to JFK in 2 hours and return on Thursday" and hand them the certificate and they handed me back the ticket.
3. Block the seat next to me, in coach (the block went away at the gate, but it almost always held up).
4. Lifetime miles that were guaranteed to work off the same award chart for life. (It was in a letter from Mike Gunn that I kept in my file.) They broke that promise about 15 years later, and it is one of the few times that I felt that AA cheated me.
5. Channel 11 for air to ground communication throughout the flight.
6. Anna Jefferson (LAX) greeting me a few times a week and giving me a first class seat without any upgrade instruments, before I was a Platinum, because she (and others) had the authority to make decisions.
7. Going to the Aadmiral's Club whenever I was at the airport, not limited to flying AA (after having paid for 38 years of membership I probably should have bought lifetime).
8. I thought I would miss "hard" tickets. I was wrong.
9. Talking to my seat mate (it was common to talk for an hour or two going trans-con - now I make trans-con flights without saying "hi" to the person next to me).
10 Taking 2 carryons (garment bag and LARGE briefcase) plus a personal item (computer case) and hanging my garment bag in the front closet. (Well, as I get older and less interested in carrying 70 pounds I may not miss it too much.)
11. Full meals served in coach. I agree it was almost never amazing food. But why has it become accepted that people want to sit in a seat, for 3-6 hours, without a meal.
12. Hot meals served in First Class. I won't eat a "wrap" even if I am hungry.

I am probably forgetting some others.
Wow the good ol days, I guess that's the natural order of things; old biz degrades, new ones (im not taking about new company, just new THING) take its place.

Just curious for a younger person what good thing do we have now that we will regret later (anything)?
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Old Nov 22, 22, 8:55 am
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8 SWUs issued when you reach EXP with decent availability to use them. I spent a few years late 00s/early 10s flying to Asia a lot. AA didn't have the coverage in Asia that UA/CO and DL/NW had (AA served NRT only for a while), but the easiest upgrade instruments made up for that.

Then there was the brief MRTC experiment, which is probably what roped me into AA in the first place. And Bistro flights.
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