I should eclipse the magical “Executive Platinum” status within the next month – something that makes me feel sort of sad if you want my honest feeling!
Anyhow, I came across this article which referenced the troubles AA is facing related to customer service. Here’s a little taste.
- It finished last among 19 U.S. carriers in on-time arrivals for four straight months between March and June, before improving to 16th in July – its highest finish in nine months.
- Its on-time marks have been beneath the industry average every month since December 2006.
- For the 12 months ending July 31, American was last among all carriers in on-time flights, with only 67.5 percent arriving within 14 minutes of schedule. That was 6.7 percentage points worse than the industry average of 74.2 percent.
- Among the 10 largest carriers, American ranked second-worst in the rate of lost-bag complaints for the year ending July 31, ahead of only Delta Air Lines Inc.
- It has had the third-highest rate of flight cancellations through the first seven months of 2008, ahead of only two regional carriers, Mesa Air Group Inc. and American’s own partner, American Eagle.
Obviously AA has some problems… but so do a lot of people. So instead of dwelling on how bad they are let’s turn our focus to what they intend to do about it.
Change the Specs!
You would imagine, especially as it relates to the on time arrivals issue, AA would relentless attack the waste in their process. They’d look for opportunities to improve flow, cut out non value added steps, while practicing the principles of single minute exchange of dies whenever applicable.
Well that’s what you and I would think. AA on the other hand, not so much.
No, instead of focusing on making value flow AA is actually increasing the time their planes are on the ground!
American believes that the answer is to add time to its schedule, both on the length of the average flight and the length of stops on the ground. It is taking other steps as well, but the added schedule time represents the thrust of American’s attempt to return to an acceptable on-time record.
The changes won’t speed up flights. But the added time increases the cushion for dealing with problems.
Yep, that’s right… “the added time increases the cushion for dealing with problems.”
I don’t normally like to bash companies… especially companies that hold my life in their hands many times a year… but this really irks me.
The sad thing is this move may actually make AA’s on time metric improve… but the real question is will their customers be any happier?
DFW to New York
Well, if you plan to fly from DFW to New York the answer is probably no.
For an example of how the schedule changes will work, consider American’s Flight 743, an afternoon nonstop flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to LaGuardia in New York.
Until Sept. 2, American scheduled the flight to take 3 ¾ hours from gate to gate. On Sept. 3, the time was increased by five minutes. On Nov. 2, it’ll go up another 25 minutes, to 4 ¼ hours.
Nice, huh? Sounds pretty much like the opposite of increasing value for the customer.
What do you think? Am I being too critical here? Or am I being too nice?