Posts tagged with "American Airlines"

AA flight attendants are ‘begging’ not to work on the Boeing 737 Max when it returns, union boss says

November 18, 2019

As Popular Science reminds us, flying is actually the safest way to travel, statistically speaking—but now, even airline flight crews are worried about boarding the Boeing 737 Max when it is finally cleared to take off again next March.

By that time, fleets of Boeing aircraft worldwide will have been grounded for a year, following two crashes that killed a total of 346 people.

But that’s not long enough, the head of the pilots union for Southwest Airlines, Jon Weaks, wrote in a letter last week. He accused the aircraft manufacturer of rushing the  plane back into service and of “arrogance, ignorance, and greed,” in its approach to the 737 Max, Business Insider reported.

What’s more, American Airlines flight attendants are “begging” not to have to work on the 737 Max when it returns to service after its grounding, the head of the union representing them said on Thursday, November 14, according to a report by the same news outlet.

“I will tell you that I hear from flight attendants every day, and they’re begging me not to make them go back up in that plane,” Lori Bassani, the president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, said, according to The Dallas Morning News.

In fact, earlier this month, Bassani warned that many of the airlines’ 28,000 flight attendants could refuse to board the 737 Max once it is cleared for takeoff, if they do not believe it is safe.

American Airlines has 24 737 Max planes in its fleet, with 76 yet to be delivered by Boeing.

In separate comments Thursday, Bassani said that despite her worries about the Max’s return, her union would not join the scores of airlines, pilots, and victims’ families taking legal action against Boeing over the 737 Max crashes and its subsequent grounding.

Airlines and staff are suing the plane manufacturer over lost wages from the plane’s grounding.

“It’s not our only aircraft, so our people didn’t really lose wages,” she told the Dallas Business Journal. “Their schedules were changed and they were impacted, but they could always get another flight on another airplane.”

Research contact: @businessinsider

No extra legroom, just more money: United announces new charges in coach

December 12, 2018

Air travel alert: Even sitting in coach is getting way more expensive. Starting December 14, coach passengers on United Airlines who want to avoid the back of the plane may have to ante up for it, according to a December 10 report by CNBC.

The air carrier will charge a fee for so-called “preferred seats” on flights throughout its network. These seats don’t come with extra legroom or other perks. They’re standard economy seats are located behind the Economy Plus rows, which do come with more space to stretch out.

Ready to switch airlines? It won’t help. United’s rivals American Airlines and Delta Air Lines already have a surcharge in place for such seats, CNBC notes—pointing out that the airlines all seem to be attempting to get customers to pay up for perks that used to be included in airfare.

United did not say how much more travelers would have to pay for seats in these preferred locations. On competitors Delta and American, the prices vary by aircraft, route, and demand, the cable news outlet says.

For example, a preferred seat on a Delta flight from New York to Los Angeles in early January was $80. On an American flight from New York to Paris at that time, the price of a preferred location seat ranged from $62 to $81. Prices are for each leg of the itinerary.

Seating is a key part of the airlines’ bare-bones basic economy product, which United and American rolled out last year, following Delta. In exchange for what is usually the lowest fare, basic economy passengers can’t pick their seats ahead of time or make changes to their tickets. They also board last.

What’s next? Maybe charging for the oxygen masks that deploy when an airplane hits an air pocket and sinks rapidly in rough weather.

Research contact: @lesliejosephs

‘Haute’ cuisine: American Airlines teams with Zoës to offer tasty meals in coach

September 25, 2018

Rarely are the words, “fine food” and “flying” mentioned in the same sentence. In fact, if you sit in coach, the airline meals on offer are usually flat, flavorless—and utterly grody.  But maybe, just maybe, all of that is about to change.

American Airlines announced on September 24  that the company is teaming up with  Zoës Kitchen, a Mediterranean-inspired fast-casual dining chain based in Plano, Texas, to introduce a new food-for-sale menu for customers seated in the main cabin (coach)  that “will offer delicious, light and healthy choices onboard,” the carrier said in an official release.

The new menu, designed in collaboration with Zoës’ Head Chef and Vice President of Culinary Innovation Antonio Iocchi, includes items unique to American Airlines, as well as exclusive Zoës dishes—among them,  signature hummus and The Grüben sandwich.

The new items will be available for purchase on most domestic flights longer than three hours, beginning on December 1.

“Zoës mission to deliver goodness from the inside out and their ‘simple, tasty, fresh’ offerings made it an easy decision to partner with the fast casual, healthy restaurant group,” said Janelle Anderson, VP of Global Marketing for American Airlines. “Our customers have asked for lighter tasty food choices. This collaboration with the expert chefs at Zoës provides an innovative, fresh approach to on-board offerings.”

“Together with American, we are excited to elevate the inflight dining experience and deliver goodness to millions of customers by offering our chef-inspired menu items, in a fresh, new way,” said Kevin Miles, CEO of Zoës Kitchen. “Our goal in our restaurants is to provide delicious, wholesome food, inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean and for our guests to feel good and motivated to live life to the fullest after dining with us.”

A fuller list of the new menu items includes::

  • Breakfast Sandwich: Turkey bacon, egg slices, and tomato topped with baby arugula on a waffle brioche bun with Calabrian pepper aioli;
  • Continental Breakfast Box:  Belgian waffle, hazelnut spread, and fresh berries;
  • The Grüben: Zoës signature sandwich with sliced turkey, Manchego cheese, crunchy Mediterranean slaw, and feta spread layered on marble wheat bread, and served with a Zoës chocolate chip cookie;
  • Chicken Wrap: Grilled chicken wrap with mozzarella, roasted tomatoes, arugula, and artichokes, served with a Zoës chocolate chip cookie; and
  • Hummus Duo: Zoës signature hummus duo, including their classic flavor topped with Kalamata olives and basil pesto hummus, served with pita bread, cucumber, and carrots.

Along with the new Zoës options, American will continue to offer its own fruit and cheese plate and breakfast platter. Throughout 2019, American and Zoës will continue to collaborate and introduce additional items in coach, as well as domestic first class service.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, other carriers also have revised their in-flight offerings: Alaska Air revamped its menu over the summer to highlight West Coast produce; United Continental. has added a bread pudding made with Chobani yogurt; and Delta will update its in-flight menu on October 1 on North American flights of 1,400 miles or more.

Research contact: mediarelations@aa.com

Southwest Airlines ‘reins in’ emotional support animals

August 16, 2018

When Southwest Airlines first launched, the carrier created a loosey-goosey image of a fun flyer on which the attendants even sang. Things tightened up considerably on August 14, when the airline announced more stringent rules for bringing “emotional support animals (ESAs)” aboard, effective September 17.

Southwest is limiting passengers to one emotional support animal per passenger—and peacocks, snakes, pigs, turtles, and other unconventional creatures are no longer allowed. Indeed, the carrier now says, the only emotional support animals that will be permitted on flights are dogs, cats, and miniature horses—and the animals must be kept on a leash or in a carrier at all times.

“We welcome emotional support and trained service animals that provide needed assistance to our customers,” said Senior Vice President of Operations and Hospitality Steve Goldberg. “However, we want to make sure our guidelines are clear and easy to understand while providing customers and employees a comfortable and safe experience.”

To create these policy changes, Southwest says it has reviewed the recent enforcement guidance issued by the Department of Transportation (DOT), evaluated feedback from passengers and employees, and spoken with “numerous advocacy groups” that represent customers with disabilities who travel with service animals.

Southwest also will introduce an enhancement that recognizes fully trained psychiatric support animals (PSAs) as trained service animals.—saying, “Southwest informally accepted PSAs as trained service animals in the past and the airline is pleased to formalize the acceptance of this type of service animal based upon customer feedback.”

PSAs are individually trained to perform a task or work for a person with a mental health-related disability. A credible verbal assurance will be sufficient to travel with a PSA.

All of this comes with a disclaimer: “For the safety of both Southwest’s customers and employees, all emotional support and service animals must be trained to behave in a public setting and must be under the control of the handler at all times. An animal that engages in disruptive behavior may be denied boarding.”

Southwest joins a number of other airlines that have tightened restrictions on emotional support animals. The spotlight fell on travelers with emotional support animals in January, when United Airlines refused to allow a woman to board a flight with an emotional support peacock.

Also on August 14, the Royal Caribbean cruise line reportedly said it will ban all emotional support animals. The cruise line said emotional support animals are not covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act, according to CBS Miami. There is, however, an exception. ESAs noted on reservations prior to July 30 are protected and will be allowed to sail.

Other carriers, such as American Airlines, also have changed their rules—noting that between 2016 and 2017, the number of ESAs flying in their cabins increased by more than 40%. The animals specifically excluded by American include the following: goats, hedgehogs, ferrets, spiders; and non-household birds, such as chickens and hawks. Unclean animals, or animals with an odor, are banned, too.

Research contact: @SouthwestAir