American’s making a bold, and smart move

I’m really happy to hear about some of the new things going on at American Airlines.  Yes, they’re mired in bankruptcy, and the speculation about a tie-up between American and US Airways is out there (with the city of Philadelphia throwing their weight behind such a deal).  But this new news is about American’s new planes.

American is going after the business traveler market.  Hard.  And this can only be good for them, because I think they’re going to win it.

The elusive business traveler is a client that is most loved by the airlines, but after 2001, the need for these travelers has tapered.  Sure, it’s been coming back, but there’s no single airline that’s really going after that market hard.  Until American’s announcement yesterday.

American is introducing their Airbus A321 Transcontinental fleet with 3 classes of service (click here for a video introduction).  Yep, this is a good thing to start.  But not only the three classes of service is on the plate.  They’ve also committed to WiFi on every plane, as well as a powerport.  That means business travelers – in coach, business, or first – will all have the same ability to continue their work at 36,000 feet.  And for business travelers like me, that’s a huge plus.  Many airlines have WiFi, but not throughout their fleet – and those that do rarely have powerports.  I remember a Continental flight 2 years ago where I had power, but absolutely no WiFi, which I think is a crime…

But American is doing it right.  New, fuel efficient planes with 3 classes of service (including lie-flat seats), powerports with USB at every seat in the plane, and WiFi.  Given the choice, I would definitely take an American flight (even paying $50 one-way more than a competitor’s flight without WiFi and/or power) for these amenities.

So good on you, American Airlines.  And business travelers?  Welcome to your ‘Office In The Clouds’.

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