When American Airlines and US Airways merger was announced the two airlines flaunted how the airlines was going to be the biggest and the best airline in the United States. Remember that saying, “Going for Great”?!? The Airline claimed they were bringing us the best loyalty program and an enhanced travel experience, yet instead consumers have received a smack in the face as American Airlines customer service, in-flight service and loyalty program has been gutted. American Airlines has gone from best in class to worst in class in several areas, and this week has brought more bad news for American Airlines.
First, US News Reports rated the best frequent flyer programs in the United States and American Airlines dropped from #2 last year to last among major network carriers, but #7 overall. This is a major drop in ranking for American Airlines but is not surprising as American Airlines has destroyed their program over the last year. Back in November of 2015, I wrote a blog on why American Airlines’ Frequent Flyer Program went from best in class to worst. Clearly I wasn’t the only one thinking this!
Changes in the last 12 months:
Limited award redemptions with Hawaiian Airlines
devalued their miles, raising award costs which basically killed first class awards redemptions this year
Decreased Elite benefits by announcing fewer system wide upgrades from top tiers elites.
Introduced a revenue based program on August 1, 2016 which is a carbon copy of Delta’s revenue based program which rewards passengers based on dollars spent instead of miles flown.
2016 US News Report Best Frequent Flyer Program:
- 1. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
- 2. JetBlue TrueBlue
- 3. Southwest Rapid Rewards
- 4. Delta SkyMiles
- 5. Virgin America Elevate
- 6. United MileagePlus
- 7. American Airlines AAdvantage
- 8. HawaiianMiles
- 9. Frontier EarlyReturns
- 10. Free Spirit
To determine these rankings, U.S. News looked at the ease of earning and redeeming free round-trip flights (45%); additional benefits like the ways travelers can earn and use points and whether points expire (25%); the diversity of routes and number of partners (10%); award flight availability (10%); number of daily flights (5%); airline quality (5%).
Although I do not think American Airlines program is any worse than Delta’s SkyMiles program, the major devaluation that American Airline’s Advantage program underwent this year, made their program among the worst in class among US Based airlines and truly no better than the other big legacy carriers.
Furthering the bad news, the airlines that promised us in several media releasing that the merger between US and American Airlines that
“Customers will benefit from new flying options, more choices, increased service and an enhanced travel experience. We expect our complementary flight networks to increase efficiency and provide more options for customers. Greater connectivity with oneworld® alliance partners will give customers more options for travel and benefits both domestically and internationally.”
(bolding is my own)
Although the highlighting and underlining is my own, American Airlines now ranks among the most delayed airline in the United States! So much for efficiency! Clearly the rebanking of flights and moving form a rolling hub to flight banks is not working as American Airlines planned.
The government’s rankings of airlines on-time performance for June ranks American Airlines last. For statistical purpose, the federal government counts a flight as on time if it arrives within 14 minutes of schedule.
- Hawaiian Airlines, 91.1 percent
- Alaska Airlines, 86.4 percent
- SkyWest, 84.6 percent
- Delta Air Lines, 83.4 percent
- United Airlines, 79.2 percent
- ExpressJet, 78.1 percent
- Frontier Airlines, 75.6 percent
- JetBlue Airways, 74.4 percent
- Southwest Airlines, 74.3 percent
- Spirit Airlines, 73.0 percent
- Virgin America, 72.6 percent
- American Airlines, 72.4 percent
Despite all this bad news, American Airlines continues to roll in billions of dollars in revenue each quarter and has some of their highest profits in history. Yet then again, when there is no competition airlines don’t have to try. We reep what we sow, and by approving industry consolidation, we deserve nothing better than delayed flights and inferior frequent flyer programs. The race to the bottom is on, and American is winning!