Earlier this week, American decided to stop offering free same day standby to customers who aren’t elite members in the AAdvantage program. While I’m sure some are steaming over the move, I’m not. It actually makes sense to me. I’m just pissed that they’ve decided to treat their customers like two year olds with their incredibly stupid spin. And for that, they get the not-so-coveted Cranky Jackass award.
The press release announcing the change was entitled, “American Airlines Streamlines its Airport Processes.” Usually a vague message like that means they threw a bunch of stuff into one release, hiding the bad news at the bottom. I think that’s what they teach in the College of Spin. If there was such a place, it would undoubtedly be located in a beautiful mountainous environment with grand vistas of panoramic wintry wonders (Siberia). But that’s not what happened here.
The entire release was focused solely on the fact that you can no longer standby for earlier flights on the day of travel unless you’re an elite member. You now have to pay $50 for a confirmed seat, if it’s available. Taking away this option does, in fact, “streamline” airport processes, but does the customer care about that? No. They care about the changing benefits, and they’re not going to be fooled by that headline. Gimme a friggin’ break. Do I look that stupid to you?
Wait, don’t answer that. That wasn’t one of my finer moments.
But here’s the point. I completely understand why you’re doing this. I’m sure too many people were taking advantage of the same day standby option to avoid paying higher fares. Sure, you book the 6p flight and standby for the early morning flight. Or you book the redeye and fly during the day. That’s money out of your pocket and into the pocket of the consumer. I may not like it, as a non-elite flier, but I get it.
So don’t feed me a line of crap about how American is doing this “as part of its efforts to streamline processes and the customer experience during flight departure. . . . ” Clearly that’s a benefit to you as well, but I don’t care what the benefit is to you. I care what the impact is for me. Please stop treating me like a child and tell me why you’re doing this. I want to see this headline:
“American Airlines Starts Charging for Same Day Standby Because You Bastards Won’t Pay Enough for a Ticket”
Now that would be refreshing.