Editor’s note: today’s guest post is by Doug Parker, the current Chairman and CEO of American Airlines Group, Inc., the parent company of American Airlines. Thanks Doug!
Hi everybody! I wanted to take a minute to reach out to the travel community to tell you all about our amazing new fare class called Basic Economy. Like many of you, I fly American Airlines frequently and I have the opportunity to speak with customers all around the world. And I hear the same complaints over and over again, which is why we at American have introduced Basic Economy. Air travel used to be a headache, but not anymore! Just take a look at all the amazing changes we’re making:
- Assigned seating. Who has time to pick seats ahead of time in today’s hectic, fast-paced world? Not this CEO, that’s for sure! And many American customers don’t either. That’s why the new Basic Economy fare does all the work for you! Window, aisle, middle–it’s all pretty much the same, just so long as you make it to your destination.
- Carry-on bags. Don’t you hate having to lug your carry-on all the way through the airport and onto the plane? I sure do! That’s why I’m pleased to announce that Basic Economy fares will get rid of those annoying carry-ons! Just check your bag at the gate and leave the rest to us!
- Boarding. We’ve all been there: the gate attendant starts boarding and the uncivilized masses rush the gate in an effort to be first. Well, I’m here to tell those of you in Basic Economy that you don’t need to worry about that anymore because from now on, you’re boarding last, my friends! Just sit back and relax while everybody else scrambles. You’ll have the last laugh since everybody lands at the same time.
- Upgrades. Every day at every airport untold numbers of loyal American customers have their hopes dashed when they don’t make the upgrade list. But shattered dreams are now a thing of the past thanks to Basic Economy! Customers aren’t eligible for any upgrades at all, no matter how many miles they’ve flown with us, so nobody will ever get their hopes up in the first place!
- Ticket changes. Ever schedule a vacation but then have your employer say that you need to cancel it and come in to work? Well, that’s not going to “fly” (a little aviation humor for you, ha ha!) anymore because American’s new Basic Economy fares are 100% non-refundable and non-changeable. Looks like your evil boss is out of luck!
But wait, I haven’t even told you about the best part yet: the price! These fares will cost about as much as standard economy fares do today! Wow!
In conclusion, I think that American customers are going to love all the enhancements we’re making to our product. Remember: the world’s greatest flyers fly American!
As others commented at Ben’s blog, this communication was an excellent ad for Southwest Airlines.
Southwest has gone nuts with fares. JetBlue is eating their lunch.
AA is simply responding to what the market wants – cheap flights. Average Joe doesn’t mind. AJ lives in a crap home in a crap neighborhood, drives a crap car to a crap job. Sitting in a crap seat isn’t any different. But hey, AJ votes for Drumpf but has no compunction about driving foreign econobox, shops at ChinaMart and lives in a top 10 Taker State. Making America Great!
@MSER i’d take this one step further. Average Joe doesn’t know the difference or even think about carry on restrictions, boarding groups, etc. AJ just shops price and he “knows” Southwest will ALWAYS be the cheapest. AJ needs to get his ankle biters to Disney from AJ Town USA so he jumps on AOL.Com and searches “Southwest ticket to Disney” only to find that not only is Disney in Orlando or is it Anaheim but that his favorite airline (that AJ knows is way cheaper than others since AJ fly them cheaply in 1993) is Southwest so he books that flight for his family of 8 but pays for one Early Bird so he can get on first and save seats for the rest of his family.
On the off chance that AJ’s cousin talks him into flying on a main line carrier “basic economy” ticket he won’t even know it’s not a regular ticket until he and his family of 8 are told to move away from the gate to allow groups 1 thru 8 to board first. Even that might not register because it’s all about the price.
I think that AJ is just as smart as I am, even if he (gasp!) doesn’t fly quite as much. If they have a crappy experience at the airport, they’re going to be more likely to drive for their next vacation, but the airlines and everyone involved in the associated experience have set the bar so low in the post 9/11 years I doubt they expect flying to be pleasant in any way.