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What I like least about Americans, participating and uniting

There is no denying that the "big three" American carriers are not always popular with consumers. Previously, I have written posts on what I think American, Delta and United actually do.

There is no perfect airline, and they have all their strengths and weaknesses. Well, in this post I wanted to look at the other side of the coin. I wanted to share what I like least about each of the "big three" American carriers. This is intended to be more big-picture and philosophical than anything else (especially the point about Delta).

I'll share with you and then I'm curious to hear what you think.

American Airlines ̵
1; No Strategy

American Airlines does many things well, such as high-speed wifi and the quality of their international business class locations.

What denies me most about American is pretty obvious – they totally lack a strategy. The management team cannot seem to decide on a strategy, so for the time being, they apparently intend to follow the most negative changes to Delta, without having most of the things that differentiate Delta.

America does not seem to decide whether they are a premium airline or an extremely low-cost airline, and in the process they have left everyone – including their employees – scratching their heads.

American Flagship Dining JFK [19659009] Delta Air Lines – A Little Of Hubris

I absolutely think Delta is better than American and United in terms of customer service and reliability. Most Delta employees seem to really like their jobs and they know how to take care of customers.

However, I cannot help but feel that the company lacks humility. Delta is better than the competition. Not only do the Delta management know that, but in my opinion they actually think they are better by a larger margin than they actually are.

There is an extension to this that bothers me. No one denies that management's job is to maximize shareholder value, though I think there is a way to do it without fully compensating.

To give an example, I think Delta's constant attacks on Gulf carriers are offset. As I have long said, there is a solid argument that can be made against Gulf carriers, but Delta does not make those arguments. Instead, Delta travels to say things like:

  • If the golf carriers grow, we will not be able to get our military where they need to be
  • American jobs in the aerospace industry are in danger

If these types of things Delta were actually worrying about Delta, you would think that they would act differently:

  • Delta has no problems working with Saudia, who is also a golf carrier.
  • The airline has had a transatlantic joint venture with Alitalia, which has been both state-owned and owned by Etihad, so they have had no problems taking advantage of both subsidies and serving directly on Gulf carriers
  • Ironically, Delta argues Delta's pilots to send US jobs abroad through their investments and joint ventures, where Delta pilots see a reduction in flight

Delta is very smart when it comes to doing business. But it is also ironic that they would then attack other airlines for things they are also guilty of.

Delta A350 business class

United Airlines – Delusions Of Grandeur

I think United are doing a spectacular job with their route network – they have by far the most global and robust route network for an American carrier, and their network is only getting better. They also do a good job of marketing Polaris and their lounges. I love how they introduce very premium heavy aircraft, which other airlines seem afraid to do.

But every time I see an interview with Oscar Munoz it's about how the culture in United has changed and how all of a sudden everyone is so friendly … and I'm really confused?

They act as if United have had a renaissance after customer service after Dr. Dao, how it was a great reminder for the company where they used to be.

While it is true that people are not drawn from United flights, United's alleged radical customer service transformation simply does not match my experience. Like all other airlines, there are good apples and bad apples. But in my experience, the customer experience is more in line with Americans than Delta.

As I walk around United's terminal in Newark, I still hear gate agents barking at passengers and threatening how big their fines are if their bags are too big, and start each message with "once again" (in other words "listening to dummies , I repeat myself ").

On board Polaris, I still find that they usually speak in fragments rather than complete sentences, and smiles cost extra.

Don't get me wrong, United have some really lovely flight attendants (especially some of them who have been there forever), but to suggest that their culture has evolved considerably and that United employees are consistently friendly simply puzzles me.

Fine, maybe things have gotten a little better than the Smisek days, where the New Jersey Port Authority seemed to be in charge of customer service training. But when it comes to customer service in the front line, I think United are in the same league as American and not in the same league as Delta.

United 787-10 business class

Bottom Line

I'm not saying that any of the above are the single biggest problems of the airlines, but when I think of the negatives of the three airlines above, these are the first things that come to mind.

I'm curious to hear how you feel – don't you agree with one of my recordings, and / or what do you like least about each of the "big three" American carriers?

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