12:34 PM

Missing the
Point of

American Airlines is the world's largest airline, serving 250 cities in over 40 countries with more than 4,000 daily flights. So you would think they would care about all those souls who are crammed into the incredible shrinking seat back in coach.

When you look at who buys their tickets, only a tiny sliver of super elite are privileged enough to sit up front in First Class luxury...the rest of the public must endure the increasingly uncomfortable nature of riding in coach.

This week, AA proved that they only want to "improve the customer experience" for these gilded few up front, offering them something that you'll never see back behind the curtain:

Starting today American Airlines will say hello or, as they say in Hawaii, "aloha," to new menus featuring a distinct island flair. First Class passengers on flights to and from Hawaii can enjoy the flavor of the Hawaiian Islands with new menu offerings created by renowned Hawaiian chef, restaurateur, author and TV host Sam Choy.
Those Gods of the front will enjoy Macadamia Nut Pancakes and Macadamia French Toast, Wasabi Salmon, Hibachi Chicken, Teriyaki-glazed grilled chicken breast and Island Braised Short Ribs for lunch and dinner, and for dessert, vanilla ice cream with a variety of toppings such as mango or crushed pineapple, or 'Baked On Board' white chocolate Macadamia nut cookies. For those suckers stuck riding in coach, you'll be served the usual tiny plastic cup of pop accompanied by a bag of processed snacks.

AA is offering the Hawaiian cuisine on their regularly-scheduled routes to the following Hawaiian cities:
Honolulu from ORD, LAX, SFO, and DFW
Kahului, Maui from LAX and DFW
Lihue, Kauai from LAX
Kona from LAX
There is a very good reason why AA has chosen to beef up their First Class service from the mainland to Hawaii. It's because these long, over-water routes are some of the few routes left in their domestic system that are not being impacted by start-up air taxi operations, fast-growing fractional operators and "busy as ever" charter carriers who are drawing disgruntled high-end commercial passengers away from their bottom line.

If the big carriers really want to "improve the customer experience", why not (a) remove a couple of rows of seats so the majority of their passengers can feel less cramped back in coach, (b) make free Wi-fi available on every flight, (c) work really hard to improve their on-time performance record, and (d) come up with a fixed price per seat/mile for coach tickets which will be the same price for anyone, regardless of the day you buy your ticket.

If they do those four things, make the ride feel better, give you free high-speed Internet throughout the cabin, get you there on time, and level the playing field for fares, everyone in the pressurized tube will be smiling.

But in today's airline world, only the fatcats up front and the airline's CEOs are smiling...everyone else behind the curtain in coach is hating every second of every trip. Is that any way to run an airline?

Didn't think so.

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