American Airlines is in the final stages of its merger with US Airways, which makes it the world's largest airline by passenger traffic.
What better time to unveil a new advertising campaign!
But in a unique twist, the airline's decided to focus on your attitude, instead of talking about how great it is.
The new campaign, which will be
unveiled next week, and will run about two months.
Centered on the phrase; "The world's greatest flyers fly American," it makes no commitment to be a better airline.
Instead, it cheekily says that you should sit down and shut up.
One ad reads, "Always upbeat, great flyers make the best of their situation no matter where they're sitting."
It shows merry passengers asking before reclining their seat or lowering the shade -indifferent to most passengers' reality of being stuffed into middle seats or battling for the armrest.
American claims they want you to be happy, but rather than increasing legroom or decreasing junk fees - what passengers really want - they'd rather focus on it being your problem that you're unhappy.
Aloof and Obtuse
According to an American spokesperson, the carrier's new, more "sophisticated" campaign is designed to "humanize" its message.
In this current gilded age for US aviation, of near-monopolistic power, it's doubtful any ad campaign can make much of a difference in people's choice - or lack thereof. It's not as if 10 or 12 airlines are vying for travelers' business.
A spokesperson for the carrier said t he new ads are designed to "raise the level of decorum on aircraft and create a great environment where people are nice to each other."
So the airline advises you turn your frown upside down and smile on that cramped, unpleasant plane - rather than just closing your eyes and pretending to be dead.
Blinded by Hubris
Except American Airlines has created many of the customer service issues they complain about. You wouldn't have to ask the passenger behind you if it was ok to recline your seat, if you weren't so crammed together.
The spin out of American's PR department seems oblivious to the fact that it's ranked one of the lowest carriers in the world in passenger satisfaction - behind Ethiopian Airlines
The airline should spend less on ads and more on customer service; from its employees, to the gate agents, the flight attendants and baggage claim personnel.
Okay American, and all other airlines, want to make us smile? Here's a good start:
Make seats wider and leg room longer.
Stop canceling flights for phony reasons.
Stop treating musicians with carryon instruments like pariahs. Stop breaking instruments.
Get rid of long check-in lines.
Stop losing and damaging luggage.
Bring back meals and snacks onboard flights.
Get rid of outrageous fees for checked luggage.
Make flights more affordable.
Make changing or rescheduling flights easier and less expensive.
Yes, modern air travel is a dehumanizing experience, and it's laudable to make an effort to humanize it, but airlines have more than their fair share of work to do as well.
Until next week - know your rights. Do not go gentle into that good night.
Followup - Crisis Averted!
Remember those huge, long TSA security lines that plagued airports across the country back in April and May? Well, they're gone!
Upcoming elections do wonders for government efficiency!
We are commited to solutions for promoting airline passenger policies that forward first and foremost the safety of all passengers while not imposing unrealistic economic burdens that adversely affect airline profitability or create exhorbitant ticket price increases.
All American air carriers shall abide by the following standards to ensure the safety, security and comfort of their passengers:
Establish procedures to respond to all passenger complaints within 24 hours and with appropriate resolution within 2 weeks.
Notify passengers within ten minutes of a delay of known diversions, delays and cancellations via airport overhead announcement, on aircraft announcement, and posting on airport television monitors.
Establish procedures for returning passengers to terminal gate when delays occur so that no plane sits on the tarmac for longer than three hours without connecting to a gate.
Provide for the essential needs of passengers during air- or ground-based delays of longer than 3 hours, including food, water, sanitary facilities, and access to medical attention.
Provide for the needs of disabled, elderly and special needs passengers by establishing procedures for assisting with the moving and retrieving of baggage, and the moving of passengers from one area of airport to another at all times by airline personnel.
Publish and update monthly on the company’s public web site a list of chronically delayed flights, meaning those flight delayed thirty minutes or more, at least forty percent of the time, during a single month.
Compensate “bumped” passengers or passengers delayed due to flight cancellations or postponements of over 12 hours by refund of 150% of ticket price.
The formal implementation of a Passenger Review Committee, made up of non-airline executives and employees but rather passengers and consumers – that would have the formal ability to review and investigate complaints.
Make lowest fare information, schedules and itineraries, cancellation policies and frequent flyer program requirements available in an easily accessed location and updated in real-time.
Ensure that baggage is handled without delay or injury; if baggage is lost or misplaced, the airline shall notify customer of baggage status within 12 hours and provide compensation equal to current market value of baggage and its contents.
Require that these rights apply equally to all airline code-share partners including international partners.