When a CEO tells the media, “We are not asking our customers to be happy with anything,” you know there’s an issue.
American’s 4th quarter earnings call brought about the comment by Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines, the now combined merged company of American and US Airways.
After making the remarks, Parker tried to cover his tracks by reporting positive changes to their hard product, including additional wifi installation, flat-bed seats, and AAmiral’s Club renovations. According to Parker, American’s intentions are to “leap frog” their competitors, but it’s hard to leap frog when American itself is still catching up. For example, Delta no longer flies any angled-flat bed routes, while American still has plenty. American is still installing wifi aboard their regional aircraft, while Delta has already completed that task. While I’m hopeful for the changes American will bring, I’m not necessarily anticipating anything better than what the other airlines are offering, simply because it’s hard to pass another airline in terms of onboard experience, when your airline itself doesn’t have that experience to begin with. Further, American downgraded their meal service – while their competitors, including both United and Delta have upped the offering. Looks like American is “leap frogging” in the wrong direction. 🙂
A spokesman from American explained Parker’s remarks as, “It’s unfortunate if someone takes it out of context and doesn’t use it as it was intended — in support of our need to invest in the customer experience. We’re investing $2 billion dollars in new seats, improved lounges and airport enhancements.” Here’s where I’m confused. I’m not sure how the original statement could be interpreted as supporting the customer experience. Parker, in my interpretation, is stating his opinion, and as a whole, it’s on the negative. So, to try to cover the tracks and say it was in support of a better customer experience is simply baffling to me.
What do you think about the comment? Was it in support of customer experience as AA claims?
Hat Tip: Skift
Image Credit: Associated Press
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