Billionaires & Bikini Girls: What American Airlines Got Wrong

News : Travel

Passengers are quick to criticize American Airline’s densification strategy and their lack of inflight entertainment in Economy, both of which detracts from the passenger experience on AA. Yet there are some airlines that seem to breeze into profit with ever-increasing routes and seemingly happy passengers. Many don’t seem to offer a whole lot more onboard.

Generally, the reputation of Delta is better than American Airlines. This appears to be due to the in-flight entertainment and the kindness and enthusiasm of the staff. The hard product is not always a great deal different, but being entertained does matter.

Vietjet goes a step further with their controversial entertainment (bikini girls), which, along with their ever-increasing route network, seems to keep passengers happy. Owner Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao is one of Asia’s richest women and the fact that she is reportedly a billionaire and still under 50 suggests that her idea of holding occasional onboard pageants is a moneymaker.

American seems to be spending their money on a new marketing campaign rather than amending their hard or soft product, according to their customer’s wishes.

So What Went Wrong For American?

American Airlines says they are “caring for what matters most”:

But this cutesy advertising campaign does not tell us what American will be investing in, in 2020, or how they will strive for excellence and beat back bad decisions.

My suggestion would be to slash these marketing campaigns completely. Do they really convince anybody to fly American? Instead, they should add in-flight entertainment systems back into Economy seats like Delta and increase seat pitch to 31″ pitch as standard in Economy.

No marketing concept will overcome AA’s current product and experience. Would it not be more sensible for them to spend their money on what customers ask for? Without customers, there is no airline.

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