Doug Parker, the CEO of American Airlines, says some pretty incredible things. When American entered bankruptcy, Doug (then CEO of US Airways) stepped in and told the unions of American that year would pay them more money in the airlines merged.
He followed through on those promises but has also made some eye-catching comments since then. Recently, during American Airlines’ media day, he proclaimed the airline would never lose money again.
He also spent some time entertaining attendees with his assertion that AA’s stock would hit $60 before one of the analysts turned 60 years old. It was a funny bit from a very optimistic CEO.
Now, it seems Doug believes that delivering customers less is “Going For Great”. Specifically, he thinks that eliminating seat-back monitors is great.
Here’s My Issue
Families traveling with kids are definitely a target demographic for the programming usually found on those seatback monitors. It’s tough for a family of 4 to afford tablets for kids. But, that’s not really my issue.
Years ago, Continental Airlines chose to focus on television (DirecTV) instead of internet. In the early days of American Airlines others rolling out Gogo in-flight internet, it wasn’t 100% clear what the right choice was. It progressively became clear that customers wanted in-flight internet. During that time, I don’t ever recall Continental or United executives whistling past the graveyard and claiming customers wanted TV instead of internet. I specifically recall ex-United CEO Jeff Smisek acknowledging they were late to the WiFi game but they would make up for it by employing better technology than their competitors. That didn’t work, but I digress.
Fast forward to today. Airlines need to make long-term decisions. They have just as much of a crystal ball as the rest of us. But, they need to order equipment for planes they think will be relevant for years to come.
I have no problem with the decision to eliminate seatback monitors from new planes. I just don’t understand the need for spin. It’s perfectly reasonable to say that they have to make difficult choices on investments for the future.
Pointing out that customers can stream Netflix when the vast majority (better than 90%, I’m guessing) of American Airlines’ planes are incapable of that rings hollow.
So does saying that eliminating the screens is “Going For Great”.
The post Doug Parker Thinks American Airlines Offering Less To Customers Is A Good Thing was published first on Pizza in Motion.