Is American Airlines In A Death Spiral?


We are constantly analysing the fors and againsts for flying American Airlines. In this article, one well-known travel blogger explains why he will NEVER fly American Airlines again while another explains why he chooses to fly American Airlines.

Now American seems to be losing control of its dominance in New York. In the year 2000 American Airlines was the number one airline out of JFK. Not anymore.

The problem with American is that when they merged with US Airways, they had to give up many New York slots to get government approval for the deal. So they got bigger but lost some vital slots, not really a win-win.

Management then concentrated on smaller cities and bringing out-of-towners into New York during the business morning and take them home at the end of the day.

More recently they have been trying to deliver flights to New York’s business travellers, but they lack key routes which would connect their clients to important European business hubs. In fact, American Airlines does not have a foothold in many crucial moneymaking transatlantic routes like JFK-ZRH, JFK-FRA.

Now they are cutting their New York JFK to Orlando, surely a popular route for business travellers when they take a vacation? By cutting flights out of New York, wherever they fly to, they are making it more difficult for New York based frequent flyers to stay loyal.

One could say that American seems to be floundering, not really sure if it should focus on business or leisure, being a high-class legacy carrier or a budget carrier, not sure which airports should be their priority. I feel that British Airways is going the same way. It was once a legacy carrier to be proud of with one of the best Business Class products in the sky. Now their Business Class is one of the worst in the skies of legacy carriers (their seats don’t have direct aisle access) and they have even decided to give up cleaning their planes!

One could argue, for New Yorkers who used to fly American Airlines, that the reduction in useful routes means that many simply won’t book with the airline anymore. What’s the point in being an elite member if you can’t fly where you want to go on the airline.

Of course, we don’t know which way American will turn next, but for now and for New Yorkers, American is losing its loyal customers. Considering their position in the year 2000, you could argue that American is going into a New York death spiral, with Delta and United picking up the valuable business. Maybe the whole airline is in a death spiral. Maybe the same could be said for British Airways.

I fly British Airways for free using my Avios earned from my FREE Gold Amex, my SPG Amex and my BA Amex credit cards. Find our which is the best British Airways credit card with an Avios referral bonus. If I couldn’t fly for free on British Airways, I wouldn’t fly on British Airways.

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