AA Named Airline of the Year, 120K Employees Given Two First Class Tickets
On Monday, American Airlines was named the 2017 airline of the year by Air Transport World. In announcing the decision, ATW editor-in-chief said, “The creation of the ‘New American’ has been a remarkable journey for employees, customers and investors. American Airlines has never been in better shape to deliver more to all of its stakeholders and that is because of the leadership skills of American’s executive team and the dedication and hard work of its employees around the world.”
The award is the first time that American Airlines has received the honor since 1988, the last time they were awarded the Airline of the Year title. Only one other time in the award’s history did it go to American, which was in 1981.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker congratulated the airline’s 120,000 employees by giving them two free tickets. The tickets will be good for upgrades to first class and will be redeemable from the summer through December 2018.
In a statement to ATW, Parker said, “Our 120,000 team members completed several crucial integration milestones, launched 67 new routes, took delivery of 115 new aircraft, and much more – all while running a solid operation and taking great care of our customers. While we still have much to accomplish, we’re incredibly proud of the work these men and women are doing every day to restore American as the greatest airline in the world.”
It’s hard to see how American Airlines took the title, because while they have been profitable more than the past years, it’s hard to argue their service has improved. Recently, it didn’t even make it into the top 20 for world’s safest airlines. In 2016, American had the worst on-time records of the three major carriers. Additionally, my experience on the airline has been very negative lately. There’s been less friendly staff and the food options on flights have dwindled significantly. The changes to their elite program are definitely worse than Delta’s. Lastly, confirmed upgrade space is dwindling.
So, congrats to American Airlines on successfully merging, but I think the customer experience doesn’t match the world title of “Airline of the Year.”