It has been almost 90 days since the merger between US Airways and American Airlines was officially approved and the two airlines have been extremely busy integrating to synergize operations trying to maximize the ROI post-merger. As a consumers and travelers we have seen US Airways & American Airlines begin code sharing on most flights, the first US Airways plane painted in the new American livery, the final decision on the AA logo was made, US Airways & AA relocate into co-terminals at airports across the world, and the beginning of elite benefits being introduced across airlines. Most of what we’ve seen has been for the good and nothing has really been disruptive to the common travelers. Yet, I am most concerned about the catering, or lack of, on many American Airline flights recently and small IT issues. Sure, it’s rare to have an airline merger go completely smoothly, but I am worried that small hiccups now could become larger issues later and a telltale sign of what is to come.
Over the last month, I have flown AA several times and I am starting to notice a trend in catering. Planes are not stocked liked they used to be! For example, on every single flight, no extra mix nuts have been catered, resulting in only 1 serving of nuts per passengers and sometimes no nuts at all. Before the merger FAs would refill the ramekins, yet lately I’ve been lucky to even get one serving of warm nuts! Even on my recent JFK-LAX flight there were only enough nuts for first class passengers, not business! Warm nuts are one of my favorite part of flying AA domestic business/First and I am worried that Douggie may be pushing to remove this small delicious & healthy snack.
When it comes to catering, what ever happened to planes being stocked with water and sparkling wine/champagne? On 3 of my last 4 flights there was either no champagne stocked or like on my most recent flight, there was only 1 mini bottle, offering just enough sparkling wine for 2 or 3 mimosa! On another flight, the FAs ran out of bottled water, and instead were offering soda water (club soda) or Sprite to passengers who asked for water. Seriously what airline runs out of water?!?
Other issues I’ve seen since the merger is constant issues with my AAdvantage account. Often times when I log on to AA.com I receive an error message telling me that my username/password is incorrect. I will normally try three or four time before realizing it’s a technical glitch. Normally the issue doesn’t last more than an hour or so, but nevertheless it’s frustrating! Then today, the worst glitch appeared yet! I logged into my account and all my elite miles, redeemable miles, points, and segments were zeroed out! It appeared as though my account was brand new and I’d never had stepped foot on a plane! IT glitches like these can cripple an airline, just remember back to the SHARES issue United had when they merged the CO/UA platforms!
I hope these catering and IT issues are not indicative of what is to come when AA and US Airways finish their integration. I hope Doug Parker is wise enough to realize that AA product is not only nicer than US Airways, but AA elites spend more money and offer a broader revenue base. It will be little things (like warm nuts & water) that will keep their highest revenue passengers happy and us loyal. AA/US – learn from United, don’t make the same mistakes!