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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Airbus factory in Alabama?

Okay, so I know I’ve ranted in the past about navigate to this web-site.com/2011/07/19/hey-american-air-how-about-you-buy-your-namesake/”>“patriotically named” airlines that don’t fly American planes.  It’s a particular pet peeve of mine.  I mean “US Airways (brought to you by a European consortium)” and “American Airlines (soon to be brought to you in part by a European consortium)” – that bugs me.  We make planes here in the United States; airlines, how about you buy them?  Alaska and Southwest has been doing rather well standardized on the Boeing 737.  Continental was all Boeing, until United grabbed them up.  But hopefully with Continental’s CEO at the helm of United, that “Buy American” attitude will continue.

But all that may change soon…  Airbus has factories in France and China, but they’re about to build a plant in Alabama, in Mobile – the town I was born in.  This is cool – but still, it’s still not an American plane.  So it bugs me, but not as much as it did before.

Don’t listen to me…  I’m bitter since my two favorite planes – the Boeing 757 and the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 – were put to pasture.  There’s just something about being a passenger on one of the classic birds; just on your taxi out, you can feel how much the plane wants to escape the bonds of Earth, and glide along the wind.

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Who wants to fly?

Okay, so yes, I’m a bit addicted to flying.  I’m a million miler (I hit 1 million miles flown in 2011), and yes – I fly for work, and when I go on vacation, I get on a plane, too.

But there’s something that’s worrying me lately.  The Airbus A380 – probably the most talked about plane since the Wright Brothers took to the sky, and the Boeing 787 both have their issues.  And it’s making me happier that I’m flying the old reliable B737 for almost all of my flights.

First, the A380 had engine problems.  Like engines basically blowing up in flight.  Then come the  reports about the “really not important cracks in the wings” (but they did say that if they weren’t treated, that it could “cause structural integrity of the airplane.  DUH!).  And now there’s a delaminating problem on the B787.  What’s delaminating, you ask?  It’s where the pieces of carbon fiber that have been laminated together come unlaminated.  Ummm, isn’t that kinda like wing cracks?

Whatever…  Right now, I’m kinda happy to be flying the B737.  They’re not called the workhorse of the sky for nothing!

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