Future

A traveler at an American Airlines terminal.

American Airlines has been a powerful airline ever since the beginning of their company in the 1930’s. American Airlines has seen rough times, along with any other business, but continues to work through the struggles and adapt to have a successful business that is worldwide. Through my research of the company throughout the semester, I have come up with four main recommendations for American Airlines.

Four Recommendations

1. Flight and Destination Numbers: In the beginning 2013, American Airlines was dealing with bankruptcy. One way to increase profits to get out of debt was to increase the number of flights and the number of destinations that American Airlines is offering and traveling too. A New York Times article entitled, “The Future of American Airlines,” says that American Airlines is continuing to work on increasing their flights and destinations, but the main goal is to be able to stand-alone. American Airlines doesn’t want to have to depend on others for their success; they want to be self-sufficient. With the increase of flights and destinations American Airlines hopes that they can increase their profits, and continue to be successful.

2. Customer Service: Great customer service is something the company strives for but hasn’t always stood out in compared to their competition. I recently talked with a friend that is studying abroad in England this semester. He said that American Airlines customer service stood out above the rest. This friend has had really bad experiences with local planes in the England area. He said that American Airlines actually cared about their customers, and treated their customers like real human beings, unlike the other airlines he has traveled on. If American Airlines can continue to improve their customer service, and make their company stand out somehow, they will continue to rise against their competition.

3. Social Media: American Airlines, in my opinion is doing a great job with the social media aspect of their company. They are present on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which allows them represent themselves in a different way. Facebook allows customers to post their thoughts and get longer responses, while Twitter allows you to tweet your feelings, but not necessarily get long, in-depth responses. Instagram allows the airline to psychically show what they are about. As long as American Airlines continues to adapt to the current social media, I think that social media will help them continue to be successful.

4. Continue to be Adaptable: American Airlines has gone through many changes since the beginning of their company. The company has had many logos, and recently has changed the look of their plane and the American Airlines strips. American Airlines took the time to step back and evaluate what their company finds important, and is able to carry that into their next stage. American Airlines just needs to continue adapting to the times, but stay true to their core values.

Personally, I have no problem saying that American Airlines will be successful in the future. All it comes down to is that the company needs to stay committed to serving customers, and adapt with society.

Source: dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/08/13/the-future-of-american-airlines/?_r=0

Picture: bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/23/getting-change-fees-waived-for-a-canceled-flight/

Making Yourself Known

In today’s society, many American’s are very engulfed in social media.  Smart phones are allowing people to connect with anyone, and everyone around the globe.  People are not just tweeting or posting just about their own personal happenings, but taking they are talking about how they feel about businesses.  I know that personally if I am really happy or upset about something, I am going to tell people.  Am I going to tell people on a social media outlet?  That is the question.  How does a business turn the passion of discussion about businesses and experiences into something positive for them?

This image below is the current cover photo for American Airlines.  The picture is trying to show that American Airlines serves all different kinds of people, and takes them to all different kinds of places.

American Airlines has, what appears to be, a large presence on Facebook.  As of November 19th, 2013 they have one million likes on their page.  American Airlines Facebook page is filled with lots of information and pictures.  Their about section tells you that they love hearing from you and where you need to go to get a formal response about a complaint.  Their page is also filled with pictures, videos, information about different flights, and people’s responses to American Airlines in general.  One of the recent posts that I found interesting was a picture posted on the page of a cloud.  They asked people what they thought the cloud looked like.  This allows people to interact with the page.  If American Airlines is responding or liking posts, the customers can feel more important to that company.  I know that personally if I feel like a company appreciates my opinion I am more likely to use them in the future.  I am not sure what kind of problems they have had with the page, but nothing that is noticeable to the unfamiliar eye.  I think that American Airlines is successfully using Facebook, and I don’t think that they should stop this anytime soon.

On their Facebook page it says that they have an Instagram feed.  I could not find their specific Instagram account, but it is possible that they are just feeding in when people hashtag ‘American Airlines.’  Twitter is not a social media outlet that is shown on their Facebook page, although they seem to have a large presence on that outlet as well.  On Twitter, as of November 19th, 2013, they have 664,756 followers.  I feel like people are more likely to tweet their feelings than post about them.  American Airlines is consistently posting things themselves, but doesn’t seem to be retweeting things that people say.  I think that Twitter is also a great social media outlet for them to use, but they don’t seem to be as engaged on Twitter as they are on Facebook.

Overall, today’s society is consistently changing.  What is effective in today’s society, will not necessarily still be effective ten years from now.  American Airlines seems to be doing the best they can for now, and I don’t think that they will stop engaging with their customers on social media anytime soon.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AmericanAirlines

Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/AmericanAir

Photo Source: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151723113731078&set=a.10150580094981078.373445.7003656077&type=1&theater

International Travel

In today’s society, people sometimes can get lazy.  Americans have become so comfortable with driving in their car to go somewhere, or being able to travel around the world easily.  What would life be like if we had to walk everywhere we went?  What if we couldn’t just pick up a phone and call or text anyone that we wanted to?  The evolution of airlines has done just that.  Being able to fly to any part of the world is a luxury that people don’t always think about.  American Airlines is one of the major airlines that has helped shape international travel into what it is today.

International travel has become a luxury.  People are use to just flying over seas for business meetings, or to visit a place they have always wanted to see.  In the past, you had to plan months for a trip like that because a boat was your mode of transportation.  When planes were invented, and became something that all classes could afford, people became excited.  Now that that luxury has been around awhile, people are beginning to complain about other things associated to airplanes.  The prices are beginning to become something for people to complain about.  According to an article entitled, “I Was Quite Surprised By Some Things On My American Airlines International ‘Economy Class’ Flight,” on Business Insider’s website it states that, “If we airline customers have demonstrated anything over the past few decades it’s that what we care about most is cost. Given the choice between paying more for better service, food, space, etc., or suffering and saving, today’s flyers almost unanimously choose the latter.”  People are just becoming unhappy with many things.

When researching more how other cultures view American Airlines it was really hard to find any information around that.  All I could find was how people viewed traveling overseas with American Airlines.  One review on TripAdvisor said, “I flew American Airlines to Paris last month without any issues….and I experienced no delays.  In fact, the service on AA was much better than I expected.”  Another person said, “We just flew AA from Chicago to London, and Paris back to Chicago.  Not a single issue on the 777 to London, or the 767 on the way back.  Service was good, planes were good.”  Of course, there are some people that have not been as happy with American Airlines, but it sounds like most people are happy with their international traveling with American Airlines.  There are so many airlines that travel internationally but American Airlines travels internationally very often.

The next time you hop in your car to go somewhere, or the next time you climb onto a plane think about what a privilege it is to have the luxury to travel.  Are you going to complain about the prices, or are you going to be happy that American Airlines is willing to take you some place out of the ordinary?

Picture Source:  http://www.dearskysteward.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/American-Airlines.jpg

Are You Just a Number?

When boarding a plan are you being treated as just another number that the company is trying to shove through the system or are you being treated as a special contribution to that company’s day?  Does the company you are flying with treat you the same as the person next to you boarding?  American Airlines pays very special attention to each one of their customers, all while retrieving data about the people they do business when.  The main demographic that American Airlines sees are split into four different main categories, age, income, gender and marital status.  The average age is 48, average household income $273,800, 56% men, 44% women and 84% of their customers are married.  You see that wide variety of people in the advertisement below.  Please watch the video below.

The beginning of the advertisement starts out with an older, working class woman looking up into the sky while she is pouring coffee.  Next, the scene switches to a guy scrapping his car, and he gets mesmerized by something up above.  Then to a football player that has stopped practicing to stand there and look up.  Fourth, to a busy food district where when a man looks up we finally see a plan.  Then, we see a small boy riding a bike, enjoying his day, but then we see him slow down to look up.  Next, we see a man stop cleaning his pool, followed by an older man stopping in the middle of his checkers game to look up at the sky.  Lastly, there are two men compared between busy city life and riding in the country.  Finally, we see the plane and hear a man’s voice talk about how American Airlines is becoming “a new American.”

The average age in this commercial is over 25.  American Airlines is showing you that they still can serve younger people, but their main demographic is on the older side.  Most of the people in this advertisement seem to be working class.  I say this because most of the people are doing some sort of work while they get drawn to look at “the new American” flying above. This advertisement is mainly a male dominant commercial.  All of the focused people in the advertisement were male, except the first.  American Airlines is reaching out and targeting males because they make up 56% of the people that travel with them.  This advertisement is very well planned out because they are targeting the people that travel with them the most.  When looking into how American Airlines brands itself differently to different people I didn’t find much besides advertisements.  American Airlines knows who it’s target market is and just targets those people.

Sources:

http://www.altitude-media.com/demographics/american-airlines/

What Do You See?

futurebrand_american_airlines_rebrand_00When thinking about American Airlines, which one of these logo’s sticks out to you?  American Airlines has gone through a lot of changes to come up and stick with the current logo.  When thinking about an airline it can be hard to think about the logo, or the imagery of the plane without thinking about that physical plane.  American Airlines has realized in the last few years that they needed to make a change, to stay fresh and new, to stay on people’s minds when thinking about airlines.

I haven’t flown many times in my lifetime, but I did fly a couple of times when I was younger.  One airline that stuck out to me was Frontier.  The tails of all of their planes had a different animal on them.  They are appealing to a younger generation that cares about looks.  If you were a parent, would you pay 20 dollars more to let your kid fly on a plane with an animal on it?

When branding themselves, American Airlines had to look at their competitors.  Frontier has animals, Southwest has the iconic blue, red and gold, while American Airlines has always been consistent in showing their patriotism.  When American Airlines started to come up with a new logo, they knew the importance of keeping the colors.  Red, white and blue.  There is not much to say about that, except that people think of the United States when they see those three colors put together.

American Airlines knows its audience and knows that loyalty to the United States and to their company is important to their customers.  An article entitled, “futurebrand: american airlines rebrand” states, “American Airlines is one of but a handful of brands considered true American icons.  Strong and proud, its silverbirds are fixtures in the sky, and its namesake sense of possibility inspired deep loyalty.  Today, the company’s also invested in that most American of ideals: progress.”

When rebranding themselves, American Airlines weighed the options of losing old customers against winning new customers.  They decided that the look of the airplanes was not something that they could put off for much longer.  It was something that needed to happen for them to stay above water.

https://i1.wp.com/static1.businessinsider.com/image/50f829be6bb3f7442f00001f-960/american-airlines-new-logo-livery.jpg

The image above seems to be the most popular image of American Airlines.  When I search American Airlines, no matter what result I click on, this picture showed up.  This picture even shows up on the official American Airlines website.  This seems to be the most seen image when people search American Airlines.  This image shows that the airline travels over many obstacles, like the mountains, goes above and beyond, like going past the clouds, and is a fresh look.  All of these things are shown in the 2013 logo, combined with the plane design itself.  Although, around school here, American Airlines isn’t well known, it seems to be branding itself in a way that if you see this image, you won’t forget it.

Article: http://www.designboom.com/design/futurebrand-american-airlines-rebrand/

Image 1: http://www.designboom.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/futurebrand_american_airlines_rebrand_00.jpg

Image 2: http://static1.businessinsider.com/image/50f829be6bb3f7442f00001f-960/american-airlines-new-logo-livery.jpg

Does Reputation Really Matter?

When looking into what flight to take to visit my friends in Denver, the first thing I looked at was what my options were.  What airlines were flying out of the closest airport to me?  What was the cheapest flight?  And the most important part to me, what is the reputation of the company I am flying with.  Every company, whether it is an airline or not, has to deal with he said-she said situations influencing the reputation of the company.

In 2012 American Airlines had to deal with a he said-she said situation.  In an article entitled, American Airlines Controversy: Down Syndrome Boy Denied Boarding, it states that, “American Airlines denied boarding a 16-year-old boy with Down syndrome because he was ‘agitated,’ ‘not ready to fly’ and/or a ‘security risk.’”  In this situation, the pilot gave his opinion and said that he believed that the boy was “unfit” to fly.

The boy’s name was Bede.  His father, Robert Vanderhorst, said that he believed that the airline didn’t want his son flying in first class because they thought he would be “disturbing other passengers in first class.”  The Vanderhorsts thought that the airline was just trying to protect the themselves by not letting their son fly.  They thought the airline was saying that if their son flew and had and issue that they would lose major, high paying customers.

Matt Miller of American Airlines said, “that boarding was denied for the safety and comfort of the passengers.”  He said that Bede had been running around the gate before it was time to board the plan.  Miller said that the boy was calm at times, but seemed “agitated” when it came time to board the plane.   Mr. Miller says that the airline tried to work with the family, but ultimately they said no to boarding Bede.

An advocate for the National Down Syndrome Society, Sara Weir, said that American Airlines owes this family an apology.  She believes that what happened could have been avoided if the airline took time to educate their employees on special needs.  Weir said, “It is clear that there is a lack of knowledge, understanding and awareness of Down Syndrome among the staff at American Airlines.”  There are multiple other cases that are he said-she said situations involving denial of board to passengers.  The link at the bottom of this blog has the article listed above, and a few other examples.  I encourage you to read into each of these situations.

In the Vanderhorst situation, the negative review is already out, and American Airlines can’t take a report back, but they can talk about it.  When controversies like this come up, a company needs to take a stand.  Yes, this is just one article about the situation, but what is American Airlines doing to fix this?  What measures are they taking to avoid this negative publicity in the future?  I’m not sure, but if I was to read this about an airline, would I still want to fly with them to visit my friends in Denver?

Article: http://www.farecompare.com/news/american-airlines-controversy-down-syndrome-boy-denied-boarding/

Changing Stripes?

american airlines new logo livery

When you pull up to a McDonald’s do you expect to see the golden arches?  When you buy Nike products you expect to see the Nike swoosh on it right? And when you buy apple products you expect to see the apple that has had a bite taken out of it, correct?  Well, when you drive up to an airport what do you expect to see?  I know that I expect to see a bunch of planes lined up with airport workers taking stuff on and off the planes.  And if I am flying American Airlines I expect to see their iconic red and blue stripes on the plane as I am boarding.

In the spring of 2012, American Airlines began looking into changing their look.  This change would consist of changing the planes aluminum exterior and making it more modern looking.  The Chief Commercial Officer of American Airlines said in an article entitled “American Airlines Considers Change in Oldest Jet Livery” that, “We have made a decision to embark on a modernization of our brand that could culminate with a potentially new livery and logo–that’s something we are evaluating.”

Starting in 2013 American Airlines began to get the chance to start updating their planes.  This initial update was starting with the tails of the plane.  They would now display American’s Airlines red, white and blue stripes with the specific American Airlines eagle in between the two AA’s.  American Airline planes have been in use since 1967.  In the article “American Airlines Considers Change in Oldest Jet Livery” it states that, “A new exterior also may mean dropping the signature bare-metal skin that dates the era of propeller-driven airliners, which the third-largest U.S. airline has called a fuel-saver because an unpainted plane weighs less.”

In the same article mentioned above Allen Adamson, managing director of the New York office of branding firm Landor Associates says, “They’ve waited so long to change it that their retro look has become chic again.  They have to balance that against what they would be getting from an identity change, which is best when it’s tied to a bigger story and a better customer experience.”  It is important to keep things somewhat the same so that American Airlines does not lose customers, but if they do not begin to modernize their jets they may be loosing potential customers as well.

So the next time you are driving down a busy street take time to step back and look at the branding that is going on.  When you drive past a McDonalds are you looking at the golden arches or are you looking straight past that to the food?  When you look at someone’s shoes are you thinking about what the Nike swoosh stands for?  When you buy a new computer, do the half eaten apple make the choice for you on what compute  you buy? And finally when you arrive at an airport do the double AA’s with a specific eagle in the middle of them mean retro good service to you?

Source:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-11/american-airlines-considers-change-in-oldest-jet-livery.html

Picture:

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-american-airlines-changed-its-logo-2013-1