Heavy Sledding For American Airlines

Bankruptcy has been tough for all the legacy airlines to navigate.  American has had it’s fair share of troubles to this point, but I didn’t think things would get even worse so quickly.  Again, it’s the pilots.

Scott McCartney of the Wall Street Journal, a very influential voice in the travel industry, is openly preaching that people should book elsewhere right now.  I don’t agree with everything he says here, but there’s pretty damning evidence out there that the pilots aren’t going to relent anytime soon.

View From The Wing has a great post detailing some of the very recent issues.  Some of the issues are all too familiar.  A spike in the number of pilots calling in sick for work.  An increase in the number of pilots refusing to fly planes due to maintenance issues.  Longer transit times.  All at the expense of the customer.

AA pilots did something similar last decade.  Management ran out of options and took the union to court, ultimately winning a decision worth over $40 million in damages from the union.  AA ended up settling with the pilots’ union for most of that money during later negotiations, but the relationship really hasn’t improved any.

It’s childish and unfortunate.  They’re wrecking the customer service reputation of AA, one I consider to be much better than it’s peers.  Sure, customers will forget at some point.  But, as Scott points out, every time the actions of a pilot chase customers away, it becomes that much harder for AA to give the pilots more money or benefits.

Someone should probably explain that to them.


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