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American Airlines Employee Answers

Matt C (who left no contact info) posted comments in response to a couple of my blogs about American Airlines Sucks.  There were also other comments posted previously by other disgruntled travelers.  I'm posting Matt's unedited comments here for about a week.  I'm not interested in my blog becoming a battlefield between airlines and their customers, so after a week, that's it.  I could comment on Matt's comments because there are some things I think he doesn't get.  But, you read and decide.

Here's Matt's first post -

First and foremost, I'm a gate agent with American Eagle (lil American).
So now that we have that out of the way.....The $215 was, as I would expect, a ticket bought as an advance purchase.  It is true that as you get closer to the date you wish to travel, that the price becomes typically more expensive (although that is certainly changing very rapidly).  This is the same way that every airline operates, even mighty Southwest.  Yes there are change fees, and for a simple reason. 

It discourages everyone but
those that absolutely must change their ticket.  Why?   
Because if everyone was constantly changing their reservations, without any damper, our reservations system, SABRE, would probably explode. Same anywhere else--if you bought a product and had it shipped to you--then changed your mind and wanted a different product, then you will pay both a reshipping fee and in some cases a restocking fee. Platinum members do indeed carry alot of 'weight' as you put it--just ask any normal standby passenger who's just about to get a boarding pass when a platinum member shows up wanting the earlier flight. As someone in the trenches every single day, I can promise you that the good people I work with, and know better than anyone here could, DO care about the passengers they serve.  Is the system perfect? No.
If you can develop one--you'll be very rich. Do things happen out of our control? Yes.  Does that make us a 'literalist' as someone put it? No, it means that we are using the system we have as best we can.  If you don't like the system, as I mentioned before, invent a new one. There are so many things that the flying public simply doesn't understand about how things work the way they do at an airline. 
Most are concerned about one thing only--how much.  And while gas prices for your car go up up up, air fares are going down.  And yet while air fares should be going up beyond the reach of many, people like myself take paycuts and work long hours to get my passengers taken care of.  And I
think I do a great job.  I think the people areound me do a great job.    Yet
no one mentions how cheap it is to fly, but do mention that we no longer have pillows on the planes.  Which would be better--pillows or ticket prices twice what they are now?  What so many of you do not realize is that the airlines are footing the bill.  We are losing money despite record load
factors.  Why?    $50+ for oil, and fares that continue to drop instead of
rise to meet the change in oil prices.    Now before you quote the airlines
making money, let me explain.  Southwest is a great moneymaker.  They pay their employees very low wages, and most importantly have hedged fuel.
Meaning that they bought fuel several years back to supply themselves until nearly the end of the decade.  Their fuel bill is less, and so their fares
drop as well.  JetBlue is making a little money for 2 reasons.    No employee
there could be considered senior, and they have yet to pay a dime for their aircraft.  So yes they are making money--but take my word for it will not last.  In 2010 when Southwest is out of hedge fuel, they to will come back to earth (their profits are already tapering off)  Which isn't to say the business plan they have is genius--it is.To the guy trying to cancel your 'disaadvantage' card--hey genius just don't use it.  And to the folks wishing for my employer to go broke and hope that it happens soon......you should be ashamed.  Perhaps you haven't thought that if that were to happen my little girl would be on welfare.  And she isn't alone. 
There's 80,000 of us hoping and praying that our airline and our industry make it out of the worst time in its existence.  Because our livelihoods depend on it.  Our families depend on it. Thats my motivation when I go to work everyday. I think if you took the time to ask, you'd find alot people sharing that ideal.  Are there bad apples in the family? Yes, and while I'm sorry for it, show me one company without a bushel full (I've met plenty from everywhere--FedEx to Krogers)  I'm truly sorry for your bad experiences, but please realize that the majority of people that you are wishing such a horrible fate on, do not deserve it.  As is, if you still feel that way, then I personally ask that you fly another airline, because I would rather not serve someone who'd wish that on someone else over a change fee.  Sorry for the long post.  BTW if you have legitimate complaints (i.e. the bad manager, write in---it does make a difference.)

Here's Matt's second post -

I'm sorry, but you are completely and totally wrong.  In no way are the airlines looking at passengers as 'enemies'...I mean, are you nuts?  My entire point in my post was that the airlines are doing the best they can in the worst possible economic and financial conditions.  Are certain things having to be cut out (pillows, meals etc.) yes. The reason being is that if we didn't, ticket prices would have to go up.  AA and others are cutting costs so as to be able to provide afforable travel to the general public.  It wasn't really that long ago that flying was the domain of the rich and well to do.  Now it's cheap enough that most people can go wherever their hearts take them.  Do airlines want to make a decent profit?
Well of course, its a business!!! What business exists to do anything but make money?  The problem is that Southwest made no frills flying popular, and now everyone is having to adopt that style, because the number one
thing people want are cheap tickets.    As for the execs--this might be the
one thing I agree on with you.    They continue to receive bonuses while the
rest of us make do.  I don't like it, but it doesn't affect how I treat my passengers.  You need to quit laying blame on every employee at AA for a bad experience you had with an employee or two.  WE aren't blaming anybody, least of all our passengers. I could literally make this blog explode with the number of terrific letters we receive about passengers who have had great experiences flying with us--obviously those folks are the majority as we continue to fill up every flight in record numbers. And as for the 'growing' number of customers wanting our airline to fail...funny....our load factors have never been higher as I just mentioned.  And another thing ....if we did go under (by we I mean the 'stodgy old airlines' you refer
to) air travel would cease to exist as it does today.  If American Airlines alone were to fail completely, North Texas would be economically devastated.  Air fares would double, and even triple as demand would far outweigh supply and airport costs skyrocketed to make up for the lost business that American supplies (DFW, ORD, MIA, BOS, LAX, etc etc). Need
proof?    Check out the effects of Delta's departure of DFW--and they only
had about one-third the flights we have there.    If you think a $700 walk up
fare is alot....that figure would be close to $2000. Fact is, if you value air travel you can afford, then you had better hope that my 'stodgy' old airline makes it. Same with United and US Airways.  Unless you like driving
cross country.    So in closing.....#1 I care a great deal about my
customers, and the agents I work with do too. #2 You are certainly entitled to your opinions, but instead of making naieve and ludicrous statements on this blog, write in about your specific complaints with the names of those people you have a problem or didn't treat you right and help AA fix the problem! 

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