Topic of the Week: The New American Airlines Homepage

A bunch of you asked for discussion topics on Fridays, so I thought I’d give it a shot. This week, let’s talk about the new AA.com homepage. Like Delta did, American has refreshed its homepage but nothing else just yet.

New AA Homepage

There were two things that stood out for me. First, lots of space was given to non-air sales efforts. And second, they still have both “price and schedule” and “schedule” as ways to search. Why?

Now, let’s discuss.

35 Responses to Topic of the Week: The New American Airlines Homepage

  1. Andrew says:

    It may not be perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than the old one.

  2. Chris says:

    Of all the legacy carriers, AA’s site is by far the worst. You can put lipstick on a pig…

    • Artie says:

      I disagree. True, the front page isn’t the most beautiful and this revamp helps very little. But I believe AA was one of the first ones to fix some backend things – like the page to book flights. I find AA’s to be one of the easiest to use with information displayed clearly and efficiently. I especially love the pages for when you are booking with points. EXTREMELY well put together.

      I’d rather have the most functional than the most difficult but beautiful website. Therefore, in that respect, AA may look like a pig but that pig works hard and smart! :)

  3. Alex Hill says:

    Nice cosmetic update without breaking any back-end functionality — glad they’re keeping the style sheets separate from the guts. It now looks like a web site designed this century, which it didn’t before. I’ve actually always found AA’s site to be one of the more functional (if not pretty) sites around, though that may just be that I happen to fly AA more than any other airline so I know the site better. There are still several functional improvements to be made, of course.

  4. Nathan says:

    Design wise, it looks a lot better than the older one. A little more organized as well, but underneath just the same old clunky website. Better than nothing for sure, but considering how long it took American to do this, I’m afraid real improvements to the underlying back end technology are going to be even longer in coming.

  5. I love how they trumpeted this as some major change, but the only change were the frames surrounding the content. The content (and the clunky charts and graphs within the site) has remained unchanged. And seriously, look at the photo on this page:

    http://www.aa.com/i18nForward.do?p=/travelInformation/destinationInformation/airportInformation.jsp&v_locale=en_US&v_mobileUAFlag=AA

    Is that from the 70s?

  6. MeanMeosh says:

    Looks better, but they didn’t address my biggest annoyance – the inability to book award travel on Oneworld airlines online. The only option remains to call and pay that blasted $20 reservation fee. If CO can modify their system to book partner travel, surely AA can, too.

    As for the search by schedule feature, remember that AA still has a lot of corporate clientele for whom schedule trumps all. But, admittedly, I’m not sure what value the “schedule” feature adds, since price & schedule gives you a comprehensive list of flight times, too.

  7. Bill says:

    That photo was from the 70’s. They couldn’t use one from today where no one is smiling :-)

  8. CP says:

    It could be (further) improved in its look, but I find the AA website one of the most functional airline websites. I’m not sure why they kept the schedule function, but AA’s “price and schedule” graph is one of the best out there…if only United’s website brought up a flight schedule that was as easy to interpret, price compare among multiple fare classes, etc.

    • Barry says:

      agreed, old or new window-dressing, i prefer AA’s website to any other US carrier’s. once they can offer aadvantage award booking on alliance partners, it’ll be even better, though.

    • I use Alaska’s website a ton and it is great. Since AA is a major connector I use it quite a bit and I have to agree it is pretty functional to get the job done of getting to where you want to go.

  9. So who goes to the AA website to book airtravel and then says “Hey while we’re in Florida, why don’t we book a cruise” and then uses the ‘cruse’ tab.

  10. Baron says:

    I use the “schedule” function regularly. I find it easier to book the exact flight pairs I want; then, before completing the reservation I’m often offered a less-expensive combo so I have a choice. Meanwhile, if it took AA this long to simply make changes to its front page, no wonder Southwest is taking so long to completely revamp the back end of its ancient website.

  11. David Z says:

    And second, they still have both “price and schedule” and “schedule” as ways to search. Why?

    Likely their web site stats indicate users still search using those two methods. I guess some folks aren’t picky with price as long as it fits their desired schedules.

    Their site’s looking like those travel-agency types.

  12. travelnate says:

    I wonder how this design varies from the computer guy from earlier this year that blogged about his recommended changes & site design?

  13. AAflyer says:

    Why can’t AA ever, ever, get the month to synch with the input ??????
    If one selects January then clicks on the month icon…….November
    appears…..the webmaster must be related to Arpey…..
    I’d have canned he/she a long time ago !

    • Oliver says:

      Too bad you don’t even know what the responsibility of a webmaster is (hint: it’s not CODING the website). So you’d have canned the wrong person and still not have a better website.

      • AAflyer says:

        I dont have to ‘know’ what the ‘webmaster’ does….
        I only have to USE the website.
        Its the RESPONSIBILITY of the airline to produce a
        FUNCTIONAL product by hiring competent IT people..
        so far AA seems not to have accomplished that goal.

  14. jason says:

    Am I missing it? Where is the seat map or “show available seats” button? While rarely accurate, it’s nice to see whether the flight looks completely booked, or wide open.

    • Henry says:

      Click on the “Flight Details” link under each segment; doing so should expose the “View Available Seats” link.

  15. Simon says:

    Speaking of American, did you notice the blurb in the recent Delta international expansion press release about new intra-Florida flying from Miami? It was hidden in there, barely anybody has picked it up. Delta is going head-to-head on AA’s lucrative intra-Florida routes.

    • which routes? might be a competitive response as AA has started several new intra-florida runs out of MIA, including TLH and GNV.

      • never mind, i looked it up myself! these appear to be feeders for these new MIA x-atl flights. interesting, looking at these routes stand-alone, i would think they’ll get their teeth kicked in by AA loyalists in MIA, especially since the AA flights to TSP and MCO are mainline.

        “Effective March 26, Delta will add five new daily round-trip flights between Miami and Orlando; four new daily round-trip flights between Miami and Jacksonville; and five new daily round-trip flights between Miami and Tampa/St. Petersburg. The flights will be timed to facilitate new connections to trans-Atlantic flights from Miami. In addition to the new service to London-Heathrow, Delta’s joint venture partners Air France-KLM and Alitalia offer nonstop flights from Miami to their hubs in Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam, Milan and Rome. The intra-Florida flights will be operated by Delta Connection carriers Comair and Pinnacle airlines using 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200 regional jets.”

        let’s see here…
        – MIA-TSP served currently by 6 AA flights and 4 UA/CO flights
        – MIA-MCO served currently by 8 AA flights and 4 UA/CO flights
        – MIA-JAX served currently by 5 AA flights

        not nearly as much competition as i originally thought (remember when US used to own much of the intra-florida flying?) but it still strikes me as a lot of new service, especially at 4x and 5x, when you usually just see one or two daily flights when they exist primarily to feed pxs to intl routes (as DL does from many cities to JFK, for example).

  16. Henry says:

    The site’s been redesigned with selling in mind. IMO, AA wants the site to be a stronger competitor to the online travel agencies. The airline is focused on revenue and revenue alone.

    I like the theme-based shopping option. Not as good as Lufthansa’s Trip Finder but it is useful. Problem is, of course, that AA’s theme-based shopping link is almost invisible.

    • CF says:

      But I just find it hard to believe that people are going to go to AA.com for their shopping needs. Yes, if they book a flight, then try to pair that with a hotel and a car rental for sure. But I think AA is probably wasting its time if it wants to be the place to go when someone needs a hotel and not a flight. I have no problem with them offering that service, but I do wonder if it deserves the amount of real estate it’s been given.

      • I don’t think is a lot of real estate. Given that they’re going to do flights, vacations, and cruises, they need to have the tabs, and since they have the tabs putting cars and hotels in there doesn’t add much..

        They might also snag some bookings from people who go to check in, and decide that they want to get a hotel in advance of arrival, but didn’t want to get one when booking..

  17. When I want to travel using award miles, I don’t want to be bothered by prices. I just want to know what schedules are available. As above, you have to call and pay the fee to get oneworld trips. I wanted to go to Hong Kong with miles. Not available because AA doesn’t fly there. But Bangkok was OK…….with change of aircraft in Hong Kong!

  18. It appears that I am in the minority. I am not saying the AA web site did not need improvement. I am saying I do not like the “new look” and find it more cumbersom to use. It takes me more clicks to get my account info. I also DO NOT like the advertising on the initial web page. If I want to use other AA offereings I can click to get them.

    Bottom line; AA needs to go back to the black board. I will be using it less now. Too bad.

  19. Jerry H says:

    Like another FF posted, if American would get around to making it easy to view all oneworld flights for award travel, and then booking it online, that would make theirs the best website.

    I may have missed it, but nobody makes it easy to view or book award travel on their alliance carriers, yet it can make a big difference on the amount of miles you have to use (e.g. compare the miles for business class from the USA to Hong Kong using BA, versus using Cathay Pacific), as well as on the quality of the experience (e.g., anyone that imagines the AA business class experience is even close to either BA or CX has not flown business on those oneworld carriers).

    • MeanMeosh says:

      CO does a reasonable job of showing Star Alliance partner flights when you want to book award travel. You get some really crazy connections sometimes, but at least they’re trying.

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  21. AAflyer says:

    I find it ‘interesting’ that I need to utilize TWO sites to find info on booking a flight to VNO….AA’s site , despite initiating service to Helsinki, does not even recognise airports in Baltic Capitals…..I need to access the ‘One World’ site in order to provide information and book passage…..Wake Up AA…..You really don’t seem to know what a ‘Global Airline’ really is…..

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