The PR incompetence of American Airlines

One would think that “don’t proactively air your dirty laundry in business disputes” would be a pretty easy principle for a company to follow. Consumers just don’t care about the details of your relationship with other businesses. And yet, American Airlines has a history of whining to the public whenever negotiations don’t go its way.

A few years back, I remember reading a long and confusing screed in the AA in-flight magazine about why it was so unfair that the airline-who-shall-not-be-named (it was obviously Southwest) was able to continue operating out of Dallas’s Love Field and charging much lower fares than AA. Trying to explain an esoteric commercial dispute involving multiple municipal governments and anticompetitive, ad hoc legislation is not a wise PR strategy if it means your CEO is writing essays in favor of higher ticket prices.

And today I get an email for my frequent flyer account with this graphic at the top:

When you’re competing with Delta for the worst customer service in the industry, going to the mattresses against well-liked travel aggregators that help people save money is not a good PR strategy either.

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