American CEO Doug Parker Goes Across the Aisle to Discuss The Most Important Part of His Job

Across the Aisle Interviews, American

When I went up to the Bay Area a couple weeks ago to speak at Stanford, I had an ulterior motive. Doug Parker, CEO of American, was speaking earlier in the day and I was hopeful I could get some time with him. The last time I did an Across the Aisle interview with him was in April 2013 when he was CEO of US Airways (part 1), (part 2). I think it’s safe to say a lot has changed since then.

Our interview was broken up into a couple of different pieces because of the demands of the day, but I was able to get enough time with him to fully discuss what he considers the most important part of his job. Here’s our full discussion, edited just to make the pieces fit together.


Cranky: The last time I spoke to you for the blog was nearly 3 years ago at the last US Airways leadership conference. I remember you said you spent most of your time on employee communications. Is that still the case?

Doug Parker: Absolutely. Maybe even more.

Cranky: Even more?

Doug: Well it depends how you define employee communications. If I’m not out talking to employees, everything we’re doing is designed to figure out how we Across the Aisle From American Airlinescan communicate with the team and pull people together. It’s more important now. We have two different airlines we’re trying to pull together. There’s so much change going on which is hard, so you can’t communicate enough. We have people on the corp comm team that do the real work, but the things I’m thinking about are almost entirely employee communication activities.

Cranky: So it’s not true what the anonymous internet commenters say that you’re specifically sitting at your desk trying to screw them?

Doug: *laughs*

Cranky: …because I find that anonymous internet commenters are generally totally right.


Cranky: But seriously, what do you find is different about employee communications at American. Obviously the scale is bigger, but what are the challenges?

Doug: It’s not so much American vs US airways, but really it’s just the merger itself. The integration is hard work and it’s not particularly fun work. It’s a grind. Projects that in a normal environment would be the biggest projects of someone’s life… we have 50 of ’em going on. And the result when they’re done is simply ok, now what used to be two is now one and it still works.

The hardest part is not so much American vs US Airways. There’s just so much change for everyone, you need to make sure you’re out there explaining it. There’s a transformation that’s happened in our industry that I know that everyone hasn’t embraced or figured out is that this industry is now capable of standing on its own two feet. We have a business model that can work.

But back to transformation, we can’t forget the past. And it’s really hard to get people to let go, realize the world’s changed, and move forward. A big part of the challenge is just trying to convince people that everything they’ve learned up until now isn’t going to [be the case] in the future.

Specifically to American, the biggest challenge so far vs what I’ve been used to is the labor-management history. That is just hard for people to recognize is behind us. We’ve brought in a lot of new management, and the people who couldn’t quite get there went and did something else, but it’s really hard with the employees. It’s really hard to trust management that the world has changed and that we shouldn’t view each other as enemies instead of as on the same time. It’s going really well, I’m not discouraged by it, but it’s just fascinating on how that history is so hard to get past. But we will.


Cranky: What’s more interesting to me is it’s not even just management vs labor in the historical context of it. It’s also labor vs itself. You can look at what’s been going on with the flight attendants where their previous leader they think has gotten too close to management and they don’t even trust their own. [Ed note: Here’s the union’s missive against its former president, Laura Glading.] So how do you rebuild that? Is it just time?

Doug: Yeah, it’s time, but you can’t simply let time happen. You have to be out talking all the time. This Laura [Glading] issue is fascinating. It’s a real symbol of what I was trying to describe. Laura left the union and is now helping the company as an independent consultant on an issue that’s important to the company and to all our flight attendants, which is this Middle East issue. But some of the flight attendants got upset both at management for retaining her and at her for working with us as if somehow we’re enemies.

That wouldn’t have happened at US Airways. At US Airways we hired Bill McGlashen who was an [Association of Flight Attendants] national leader and former America West union leader. And no-one said a word. But it happens at American because there’s still this view that union and management are enemies, and it doesn’t seem right in that culture for someone from the union, once they’re out of the union, that management might want to have them help them to learn from them. So anyway, we’ll get past all that. That was eye-opening to me. I thought we were further along than that. I mean, you follow the industry closely enough, guys like Lee Moak, [former] head of [the Air Line Pilots Association].

Cranky: Yeah, I was talking about him yesterday.

Doug: Yeah, he worked really closely with Delta while he was there, got really good things done for Delta pilots while he was there as a result, and is now working as a consultant on the same [Middle East] project.

What I’ve been telling the team from the time I showed up is I’ve never seen… I haven’t been in a company for a long time where the union is mentioned so much among the management team instead of employees. This isn’t trying to be pejorative, there’s a big history that created all this and it’s well-documented. But it had gotten to the point where it was management and union, not team, not management and flight attendants and pilots and mechanics.

Nonetheless, we’ve gotta get past that. The management has to get past that too. What I tell our team is that unions are a positive thing. They represent our employees on things like contracts so our employees don’t need to worry about it. They represent our employees on things like grievances vs the contract so individuals don’t need to worry about it. But from managements’s perspective, there should be 5 people on the management team that are dealing with union employees. When you have contract negotiations, grievances… but very few of us should talking about the union unless we’re in a negotiation. So at any rate, we’re getting there.


Cranky: This is an employee communication question but also an industry at large question. You hear a lot of times [front line employees] saying “well, we’re still not where we were in 2000.” It was a different industry back then, things were different. But you do see some of the same things today. You see tremendous profits, you see labor asking for more and more as you’d expect, and then you see frills creeping back in in a variety of different ways. How do you avoid getting to the point where the economy falls off the edge and you go back to your loss making ways? And how do you explain that to your employees? Is it really different now?

Doug: It’s really different. And what you’re getting at is the same struggle we’re getting at with our team trying to show them it’s different. First, you can just look at the numbers. Again this is the history problem. It gets characterized the way you just did. There were years in the past where you made money and then you do things like give it to labor, add airplanes, and all of a sudden you lose money.

Cranky: And that’s why I say this is a communication question. So how do you explain it?

Doug: It’s a really challenging communication problem. Because the reality is now you’re making money again and now you’re seeing employees get increases, and now you’re seeing older airplanes being replaced with newer airplanes, but just look at the numbers for goodness sakes. In the past, the most American Airlines ever made in one year was a billion dollars, might have been two. In 2014 we made $4 billion. In 2015 we’re going to make… something a lot more than that. [Ed note: Since our interview, American announced earnings of $6.3 billion for 2015 excluding special items.]

That’s the big difference. The world where we’re producing proper returns. You start to make decisions for the longer term. We’ll be competing much more on product going forward than the old days when we were all just trying to survive. All of this is largely related to consolidation because at least 3 of us have networks that can take people all over the world. What’s going to determine which airline you fly is who can deliver a product that the customers value.

Because of that too, the way you think about labor relations is just so different from how it was in the world. And it’s hard to get people to forget the old world. That’s part of the transformation. What’s really interesting about it is because some of the things we need to do in the new world are exactly the things that at US Airways we said “we don’t need to do that.”

Cranky: Like product investment?

Doug: Yeah. We didn’t need to have the same product as those guys, because [customers are] not going to avoid US Airways because we don’t have the same wine. But now you know, we’re all competing on that level and it’s important. The same token, we lived at US Airways telling our people “I hate it but we can’t pay you what American, United, and Delta pay because we don’t have the same revenue generating capability.” We can’t say that anymore. It’s a bigger change than I would have thought. It just keeps coming up. We talked about the Laura [Glading] thing, and it’s like, “wow, we’re so far past that,” but we keep getting pulled back.


Cranky: And you talk about the history, but labor, they see the profits come in and they want a larger piece, which is naturally how it works and how bargaining has worked. Then they end up having to give it up when times get tough again. So how do you get to a point where you say “look, we can’t give you all of this, but we can give you some of this and it’s sustainable.” Is it the same thing, you have to just keep saying it over and over?

Doug: Yeah, this was another one of these aha moments for me. We gave our agents, it was something like a 30 percent pay increase for the new contract. And one of the team came back and reported that they were talking about this and telling people it’s great, and it’s great to be able to work for a company that can do this now. But one of the employees said “I’m just waiting until you take it away.” And you’re like, “what?!”

Cranky: Because that’s how it’s happened before.

Doug: I know. Nothing about what we see going forward is ever about taking that away. That’s the old world. And you feel sorry for that person because you want them to be excited and they say “oh, you’ll just take it away.” But we’ll get past that. But the history is so deep and it’s been so long. That’s another one of these examples….

I’m not trying to make it sound like I’ve figured it out and others can’t see it. It’s just a perspective you can’t see unless you’re looking at financials over time. But I’m telling you it’s nothing like we’ve seen before.

Cranky: But if you’re on the front line, even if you see it, you don’t have that trust.

Doug: Exactly, and that’s the right point.

Cranky: Even if they could see… well, they can… you do show them the spreadsheets. That’s what you did with the merger, right? But they’re still like, “wellllll….”

Doug: Right. I know, so we’ve gotta earn the trust. You do that by doing trustworthy things and you do it by doing the right thing and we’ll keep doing that.

Cranky: Thanks Doug. Have a good flight.


And with that, Doug was off to the airport for his flight back to Dallas/Ft Worth.

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110 comments on “American CEO Doug Parker Goes Across the Aisle to Discuss The Most Important Part of His Job

  1. Great interview and candid responses.

    His comments about the mentality at legacy AA sound similar to the deep seated legacy UA memories that have undermined things at United. Both legacy mgmt and labor with a lot of focus on reparations rather than progress.

    Actually surprised Parker is so surprised by it.

  2. Well, if I’m an AA employee, I’m saying to myself: “United, Delta and Southwest all have profit sharing, but we don’t. So that $6 BILLION profit is essentially meaningless to me. I have no skin in that game.” Altering that mentality may prove to be Mr. Parker’s highest internal hurdle.

    1. but that same employee says in a down time, “AA Management ran the company into the ground while I was on time, safe, and accomplished my job. Why do I bear the burden of cost?”

      It is always a tricky balance of aligning incentives. And that AA employee is now looking to get a higher “guarunteed” portion of pay than UA, DL, and WN. Can’t have it both ways.

  3. Big miss, Cranky. Tim Campbell. Who is he? Where did he come from? Who he replaced. Who answers to him. How well is he doing? How well is he known or respected by those who answer to him? Are you aware In Flight Service for over 25 years was not even in Operations? They stepped on the airplane with no link to the pilots up front, (team leaders-should you want to call them that. Not what the FAA calls them), in fact being told, “Don’t do Cockpit”. You don’t work for them. Today the working relationship is still a mess, especially on international.
    Now Parker, and a merger, and the Flight Attendants are moved to Operations. (Find one that actually knows….and understand the implications of….that) Issom’s world. and Campbell’s. And perhaps the greates missed opportunity by this new team runnng the world’s biggest airline.

  4. He can’t figure out why AA employees are so distrustful? He is no different (and perhaps even worse) than the former CEO’s.

    1. Oh, I think he’s saying the exact opposite. He gets the history that L-AA employees (and to an extent L-US, and a lesser extent L-HP) have gone through, and his team is working on how to address that distrust.

      He’s perhaps a bit blinded by the embrace the US team got from the unions before the merger went through.

  5. This management team has lost the trust in all of it’s employees. They had a genuine opportunity to make this a great airline but failed by going cheap and being distrustful. They are parking airplanes, removing first class seats and outsourcing at a time when our competitors are adding aircraft and premium cabins. Various labor groups are upset while Parker tries to nickel and dime this airline. Even our competitors know AA will never be like Delta because they will never invest in their people! As an employee with AA I tell perspective applicants to go with Delta first if that is an option, you will have a better career and be happy to go to work. American is like working for a large regional with a worse contract. When people complain to me about their horrible experience on AA (which is very frequent) I just smile and say try working here. That usually works…

  6. Vomitius! He is where he js because of llabor. To exclude all employees from a share of profits during a time of historic profit is uncomsionable.

  7. This is one delusional CEO. Communications and trust, he knows nothing about either. If you want the real scoop of what’s happening inside of AA, talk to the customers, employees and retirees. Doug Parker is the most out-of-touch CEO of any corporation because he does not value the customers, employees, or the retirees that came before him that made AA the best airline. Wake-up Mr. Parker; these are the people making you billions in profits and in stocks so you can line your pockets.

  8. As an 30 year employee, I have never felt so embarrassed and discouraged! He is completely out of touch with his employees. He has taken a golden opportunity and squandered it. Ms. Gladding did not “leave” the union, she was forced out by her membership! He continues to benefit daily from the work of many non-management work groups do that he claims “does not effect the bottom line”! In a word, delusional!!

  9. Oppurtunities to build trust does not happen every day when your in a relationship…time in history when record profits are being made,,and now you say no profit sharing for employees,,,hahaha,,,this is foolishness at its highest….when all other major commercial airlines are sharing profits with its employees…..sometimes you make moves in business to save face for your future….you do things to make sure your relationship stays on solid ground with those who are making you the money,,,,,ok,,,,all these major airlines employees are receiving $5…$7..*$8..raises…….and guess what…there also receiving some percentage of there profits…it may be a small percentage ….but there are gettn some of the profits….im speechless at the risk that this management team is taking,,,,AA management once again,,,yeah they know the history,,,but ,,wow…..

  10. A question to toss out to all the AA Employees, especially those who are unionized, what do you see as having changed since before the time since before the merger?

    1. No meaningful communican between Management and all the front-employees. A culture of dividing work groups because of a lack of consistency in disseminating and applying the “same” operational information and procedures to the work groups. Doing things on the cheap in every department and for the customers. Nickel and diming every customer without providing good customer service. Ignoring the fact that airport agents have to use such outdated equipment (computers and printers) to try and get a hectic job done. In the very near future, AA will be requiring all airport agents to use the QIK overlay on Sabre instead of native Sabre, in order to prevent revenue leakage, however; there will be huge operational issues with this change because agents will not be able to complete all the required airport entries/transactions which will require them to contact a Resolution Desk. Give your front-line employees some authority to resolve customer issues satisfactory and quickly. This is no longer US Airways, it’s AA and all employees at AA were always provided the authority to act in the best interest of the customer. I could fill this entire page with issues, but I’ll ask other employees to share their issues.

  11. 30 year LUS employee here. Negotiations didn’t happen with the flight attendant union. It was all pre ordained by Parker Gladding and weir. They took profit sharing and healthcare off the table. Gave us a raise but then decimated our healthcare making it a wash. With the loss of profit sharing we are well below Delta. Parker states he has a signed contract, but in truth it was only signed by him and Gladding. We voted it down. He also has told us that we will not get anything until our next negotiation because he can’t opening contract. I’m here to tell you after two bankruptcys they threatened us and opened our contract immediately to take our money. We Jan bankruptcy contract within a couple months vs the 8 years it took to get a joint Usairways America west contract. They are full of it. Morale has never been so low.

    1. This sounds a whole lot like buyers remorse.

      if you’re an employee do your best to advocate for control of your union, or do what everyone else does in situations like this: quit.

      1. Nick — Employees with 25, 30, 35, 40 yrs. are not going to quit AA. Actually, employees of Legacy AA have never been quitters. Change is a better option than giving up, or trying to take control of the unions, because they are way too close to AA.

        1. Unions are employee’s representatives and bargaining agents to management. And AFAIK the leadership of unions are elected by the rank and file, from the rank and file. If you think your union isn’t working for you, get into leadership of it. Thats how these things are supposed to work.

          Affecting change means being directly involved with it and advocating for it. Not whining from the sidelines.

          1. Nick —- if you read any airline industry news whatsoever, the unions did not do a good job in negotiating their members’ contracts. Sure, raises were given (wages employees gave-up to save their airline). What I’m a referring to are the new work rules and the eroding of employees’ benefits which is continuing to happen in every contract negotiation. Changing union officials and/or taking over union leadership is not as simple as you infer. Have you read the letter by Captain Keith Wilson, President of APA which he sent to AA? It’s a real eye-openin view inside AA. Based on some of your comments, you many want to review it.

            1. I am sorry but aren’t nearly everyone’s benefits, especially healthcare, eroding regardless of industry? The system is not sustainable and many companies are shifting more of the burden to the employee.

    2. Sky – Just to clarify, negotiations did happen with the US Airways flight attendants, and you guys approved the Conditional Labor Agreement explicitly.

      1. We had to because Gladding threatened to slot US into the AA group unfavorably. Usairways granted all its merge partners DOH seniority integration unlike AA, who had a terrible reputation with aquired carriers and stapled TWA to the bottom of the list and there still is much hatred between the groups. We did what we had to do to protect ourselves s from AA and Gladding. If we had it in writing that our seniority was guaranteed we would have turned the CLA down and took a representational vote. Nobody wanted APFU to represent us. Company union at best. We were screwed before it even began

        1. Except what the AA FA Union did to the TWA FAs is now illegal.

          By law, the integration of seniority lists must be equitable.

          Sent from my computer that moonlights as a phone.

  12. There’s a lot of talk about profit-sharing, and of course, that’s what people focus on now when profits are high. But profits certainly won’t always be high, and the true test of the management team is to see how they handle it when profits evaporate. You’ll hear a lot more anger coming from labor at the other airlines when the profit-sharing they relied on disappears.

    1. Employees don’t rely on profit sharing; they feel it hard earned recognition and reward for contributing to a company’s profit. There will always be anger about the huge stock options and bonuses of executive management and that never seems to go away when profits go away. The biggest issue that CEO Parker has is his lack of communication to his employees and he has completely disregarded the retirees that worked decades for AA and made it the Best airline. You don’t have to have record-breaking profits to be the Best airline, you can only be the best when you have the Best employees and Mr. Parker does not instill that in the employees.

      1. Kaye – Ok, I’ll bite. What further communication do you want to see that you aren’t getting? From the outside, the level of communication looks pretty high. You may not like the message, but that’s a different issue entirely. Or are you not an employee and are a retiree? In which case, I suppose the question is the same.

        1. I believe you have heard of Mr. Crandall. There was no better communicator as a CEO than him. I can assure you, there were many employees/unions that didn’t like Mr. Crandall’s message. Communicating is a two-way process and Mr. Crandall encouraged back and forth communication between employees and management. He obtained feedback and input on changes that effected all employees, he was a leader in the industry, not a follower. I have experienced Mr. Parker’s communications style first-hand and he is always non-specific about the subject matter and he cannot engage an audience. He doesn’t answer employees’ questions, he calls on a team of people to answer questions in town hall meetings. You may think that’s a good thing to call on other executives to address questions, employees don’t. We want to know that the CEO has indepth knowledge about the operations and people of his airline. That’s why employees and retirees alike do not have a trust relationship with him because he doesn’t try to establish one; he talks about it, but talking about it doesn’t make it so. Employees feel undervalued, retirees feel disrespected for their service because Mr. Parker places the highest value on the shareholders, instead of the employees who contribute to the profits of those shareholders.

      2. AFAIK this was one of those things where they had to pick the US Airways policy or the AA policy, and they picked the US policy. Parker has said previously that for non-revs usually all non-revs get on or none, so its really a moot point.

        The more I think about this the more I wonder if Doug Parker is really pushing employees to stop quibbling about little stuff. Someone has to make a decision, and for the big decisions that is someone in management.

        Have they made mistakes? Sure. No one who is being honest with themselves will say they’ve never made mistakes.

        I’d be really curious what anonymous surveys of all AA employees end up reporting as employee morale. When I flew AA in 2015, it seemed like most employees were reasonably happy.

        1. Nick — for the big decisions, management has to made them; what sort of business phisolophy is this? Why doesn’t this management team get feedback and input from its employees and retirees when decisions by management (who have never flown, other than, 1st class, positive space) effect one of the most important benefits they have. Firstly, the LUS management is trying to combine two different travel benefit programs using a First Come First Serve (FCFS) boarding priority, however, they are implementing most of LUS travel prules that were used for Seniority boarding priority system. The rules used with the FCFS priority were entirely different than the Seniority boarding rules used with the LUS program. Another decision rushed into and not well thought out by the management. All they would have had to done is obtain input and feedback from the people (LUS and LAA) that use the system.

          1. I said management made the decision. They should (and likely did) weigh the needs of multiple groups.

            Management can’t focus group everything with their stakeholders or they’d overwhelm those stakeholders and be called incompetent because they couldn’t make a decision without a focus group.

            1. I didn’t say to focus group everything; that would be ridiculous. I said obtain input from its employees and retirees and that is way different than focus groups. However, when dramatic changes are being made to employees and retirees travel benefits; don’t you think they should have obtained some input to the 250,000 individual affected by them? There have been so many issues in rolling out (the not yet combined system) to manage travel benefits with different rules for LUS and LAA. It has created more dissatisfied non-revenue travelers because things have gotten so screwed up during the check-in and boarding process. How long did you (or do) you work for AA?

            2. This sounds like sour grapes from someone who isn’t happy as the result of the decisions effected this person negatively. Remember AA was in bankruptcy and the merger was a result of LUS taking over LAA, thus most of the policies that would be integrated would skew to what LUS was doing.

              Reading all the comments, it seems like these LAA employees don’t like the result of the merger because they felt that outside management was better than the management that was running the airline at the time. I remember that the unions endorsed Parker’s team because they felt they were getting a fairer shake through that avenue than with the management of then AA.

              Also, why should current management worry about the retirees? They no longer work for the company. As long as the retirees are receiving the benefits they negotiated WHEN they worked for the company. They should not benefit from changes that the current employees negotiate with the company. If Management worries more about the shareholders than the retirees, that is the right thing to do as they invested their money into the airline. This is no longer a private company that doesn’t need to worry about their financiers (shareholders) and can invest more into their people. If that were the case, employees should buy up all the stock.

              You can never make unions happy. Too bad that United States Airlines can’t offer individual contracts of employment. Then the employee can negotiate what they feel is the right things they need instead of ending up with something that other people feel are more important.

              (As you can probably tell by now, I don’t like unions and I have not worked in a management position either with or without union employees. As a general employee everywhere I worked, I was approached by unions in some places, but never felt they were in the best interest of the individual employee. They mostly help other workers that don’t deserve to be there because of whatever reason. There have been positions I never attained because a requirement to join a union to get the job.)

            3. Airlines can offer individual contracts of employment. JetBlue did it for their pilots for a long time, until the pilots unionized. (And AFAIK, the pilots unionizing was more about protecting themselves in a potential merger, than any specific issue with management.)

            4. UB – Spoken like Doug Parker, himself.  That’w why employees and customers, and yes even retirees are know that the management style and decisions of this company are pushing AA to the bottom quickly (as recent ratings have shown).  No mutual trust or respect from AA’s management.  The AA unions endorsed Parker because he misreprested the back-door deals made with unions.  And, by the way, retirees are not receiving the benefits that were negoticated with the company before they retired; you are very wrong about this and should do some research before disregarding their decades of work for AA.  One other thing, LUS Airways didn’t exactly take-over AA because AA had way more assets and cash than LUS. LUS would not have survived without a merger with one of the big three and DL and UA turned down Parker on a merger.  I’m just disappointed the unions of AA supported a merger with Parker because AA could have survived as a single carrier and would have been much better off for it. In Parker’s own words, you implement the systems and processes of the larger airline, so where did you get you information on it should be the LUS way of doing business?

            5. The retirees should sue then. I’m sure a lawyer would relish the class action lawsuit.

              Since they haven’t, your claims seem doubtful.

            6. Kaye – You have plenty of accusations, but I’m still waiting for facts to support them.

              “The AA unions endorsed Parker because he misreprested [sic] the back-door deals made with unions.”

              What did he misrepresent specifically?

              “…retirees are not receiving the benefits that were negoticated [sic] with the company before they retired”

              I assume you’re talking about the fact that retirees now have a boarding priority for nonrev travel behind active employees instead of being at the same level. Is that right? Have you seen any contracts that specifically state the boarding priority that retirees will have? I don’t know the details, but my assumption is that boarding priority is not something that would be explicitly stated in an agreement. But I’d be curious to know.

              “LUS Airways didn’t exactly take-over AA because AA had way more assets and cash than LUS”

              Assets and cash mean nothing when you go into bankruptcy. At that point, management no longer controls its own fate. US Airways did take over American by convincing the creditors that they would get more money for their claims than if they stayed with American’s current management. (That is definitely true, by the way.)

              “I’m just disappointed the unions of AA supported a merger with Parker because AA could have survived as a single carrier and would have been much better off for it.”

              Please explain how American would have specifically been better off on its own. I don’t see it.

    2. CF-We are not talking just about profit sharing. It is the working environment that this management team has created that makes this such a depressing place to work. It is a matter of respect that an employee in any workgroup deserves. Places like Southwest and Delta succeed because there is a certain level of respect that the employee receives and in return that employee treats the customer right. It’s not rocket science. Meanwhile at AA you have employees that don’t necessarily care anymore, come to work and do your job but nothing more than that. No above and beyond. It is quite sad honestly because the average employee wants to be proud of where they work, have pride in our company but we don’t. Our products are a far cry from what Delta and even UAL puts out. Our labor groups on the other hand are dealing with contract violations that the company just tells us to grieve, as well as different contracts that no one knows which one we are operating under. This management team didn’t want to pay the former USAirways pilots cancellation pay during the last winter storm but would pay the AA pilots stating that they had a different contract. Funny how that works when the pilots had been under one contract since Jan 2015. Anyways like others have mentioned it is the extremely low moral and the lying to your face at “crew news” events that really seals the deal. You say communication looks good from the outside, and it might. But there is no real communication. No talking with actual employees and getting things hammered out to help employee relations. He thinks he is on Delta level but he is just trying to keep up with Spirit at this point. Still pulling out 9/11 cost cutting measures and outsourcing to regionals. Doug Parker and Scott kirby need to go. You can put lipstick on a pig, but this airline is still a pig

      1. JackG – Nobody said the only issue is profit sharing. But a lot of the comments here are clearly pointed that way, so I addressed that issue specifically. You want to talk about other issues? Great. Most of what I see in the comments is non-specific ranting. So let’s get more specific so we can all understand why things are so horrible.

        *”Our products are a far cry from what Delta and even UAL puts out.”
        How so? American is naturally further behind Delta and United since its merger was more recent, but it seems the airline is trying to address that. So what is it specifically that you think trails everyone else that isn’t being addressed?

        *”This management team didn’t want to pay the former USAirways pilots cancellation pay during the last winter storm but would pay the AA pilots stating that they had a different contract.”
        I don’t know the details of this specific issue, but a lot of these types of complaints are contract integration problems. American and US Airways crews continue to be on separate systems. That’s the next big integration that needs to happen, and once that’s done, they’ll all be treated the same. But for now, there are going to be discrepancies until the merger is done. Do you think this is something that’s more than just a merger-related issue?

        *”Anyways like others have mentioned it is the extremely low moral and the lying to your face at “crew news” events that really seals the deal.”
        What lies to your face?

        *”Still pulling out 9/11 cost cutting measures and outsourcing to regionals.”
        What cost-cutting measures? A problem that any airline that’s been mismanaged will have is cost bloat. American has not been well-managed for years, so I’m sure there are cost-cutting efforts that make sense. Some undoubtedly won’t be popular. But what issues are you talking about that you find most concerning?

        As far as outsourcing to regionals, again this American playing catch up since its merger was so much later. American had by far the most restrictive scope rules in the industry. Now that those strict rules are gone (which would have happened even without the merger), American is playing catch-up.

        1. Amen. There will always be loud and angry folk who resist change and want things the old way. The old way led to bankruptcy. You all may not like Doug, but, he knows how to run an airline. As for the US pilots not getting storm pay…they are still under a different contract, do you want management to change the rules on a contract (only when it helps you, but not otherwise?) You gotta live by your contract, so does the company, otherwise, there is no contract. The airline biz has changed, the airlines have to adapt, its not always going to be easy.

          1. No employee wants to do things the old way and what led to AA’s bankruptcy was the high cost of labor. Other airlines had already going through the bankruptcy process (some of them twice) and reduce their labor costs through the re-negotiation of their labor contracts. It isn’t about liking Doug because you don’t have to like a CEO to respect them. It’s about how employees and customers are treated by a CEO; if the CEO recognizes little or no value in its employees and customers, and place the shareholders as the first priority, the result with be low moral and a perception of poor customer service by the travelers. I don’t agree with you that Doug knows how to run and airline, other than to cut costs, create disgruntled employees and ratings that have dropped AA to last place amongst U.S. carriers. Also, you need understand that Mr. Parker does not lived up to the contracts that were in place that when some retirees retired they would travel in the same boarding classification as when they were employees. He has not honored those contracts, time and time again.

            1. Kay, Doug does know how to run an airline, results speak for themselves. He got America West back in shape, he did something amazing, got USAirways to make a healthy profit. Sorry you are butthurt, but things change and its not always gonna be your way. A healthy profitable airline = job security.

            2. Yo — I not offended or upset. Mr. Parker is out of his league; you can’t compare America West or US Airways to AA.  It was terms of the union contracts that forced AA into bankruptcy. All the other airlines proceeded through bankruptcy and reduced those costs with work rule changes. Sure he can make an airline profitable when you change work rules in contracts, outsource and insource jobs at lower wages, and and of course we all know that oil prices have helped the entire airline industry. By the way about that job security; be sure to come back and comment on that in a couple of months.  If AA doesn’t get the required number of early-outs they need to reduce their airport passenger services workforce, do you think a Reduction inf Force program will rear its ugly head?  I believe change has always been great for people and great for companies, however, only if all benefit from it, not just the executive management staff.   

    3. Front line employees who got screwed during BK should not have to rely on profit sharing. Profit sharing should be gravy. It should be as a reward for a job well done and for past sacrifice/hosing. Of course the huge profits wont last. But, while it lasts, front line employees should be well rewarded.

      I dont have a dog in this fight and I am not familiar with the ins and outs of the AA/US saga. I got my own bag of rocks I have to carry around i.e I have my own slimy management to deal with….

  13. After reading about labor, it must be nice to be Delta management that doesn’t have to deal with unions.

  14. DP is the most incompetent CEO I have ever witnessed since my employment date. 1978. Did he never hear that history repeats itself? Is he delusional about being a “new world”? I’m truly embarrassed that he is CEO of AA. He is classless to say the least and not an effective leader.

  15. Delusional. His employees do not like the way he’s operating. Record profits and refuses to give profit sharing. Stated the front line employees have no effect on the bottom dollar. Well, he lost a majority of the employees respect just for that one comment. Time to find another CEO that values his people.

  16. Employees want profit sharing but only when there are profits. If there is a loss, then they should have to share in the loss. The argument is that “we should be rewarded when the company does good, but we shouldn’t be punished when the company does poorly”. It’s silly. I invite anybody who is pro-profit sharing to try and convince me otherwise.

    1. If employees really want profit sharing, they should buy some stock.

      IMHO, I’ve gone in on this koolaid for the companies I’ve worked for, and I think its a bad idea. If the company tanks, and your pay goes down (or away) your stock is also not worth as much.

      I’d have a bit more sympathy if employees were asking for more of a windfall profit sharing, not a first dollar profit sharing or something similar.

      1. You honestly think that AA jobs and employees will be spared from pay cuts and job losses when the profits dry up? There is zero gain to AA employees with no profit sharing.

        And how is 6 billion not windfall? AA employees would be happy with any reasonable and comparable profit sharing at this point.

        1. Ryan – That’s the big bet. Doug is staking his reputation on saying that’s exactly what’s going to happen. He just hasn’t had a chance to prove it yet.

          1. Doug has already made that bet a few times and why his reputation has suffered because of the poor decisions for cost cutting. Ask the former employees of America West and US Airways. They could enlighten you about his past bets and payoffs.

            1. Kaye – I AM a former America West employee so I know it all too well. Doug took an airline that was about to go under and managed to arrange a loan guarantee through the federal government after 9/11 (one that United failed to get multiple times) in order to save it. Then his management team remade the airline and turned it into a profitable carrier.

              With US Airways, that airline was dead. It was days away from being liquidated. Doug’s team put together a plan that brought the carrier out of bankruptcy and merged it with America West to create a profitable company once again. Yes, legacy US Airways employees lost a lot in the multiple bankruptcies, but that wasn’t Doug’s team’s fault. That team somehow prevented all those people from having no jobs through liquidation.

            2. Now I see the connection between you and Doug and why your support of him and his business practices are so strong. I know about the loan he obtained just days after 911 for America West. I know also that that US Airways was going to be dead again after the mergers of DL/NW and UA/CO and their only chance to stay alive was a merger with AA because they would not have been able to compete with the likes of CO, UA, and AA (if it had emerged from bankruptcy as a stand alone airline). And, AA could have without the interference of Mr. Parker. After CO and UA turned him down, he moved on to AA. Because the unions disliked the current management at AA so much, he did a backdoor deal to get their support for a merger. The unions thought anyone would be better than Horton; guess what, they know they were wrong. Have you read the letter from Captain Wilson? The FAs have filed several lawsuits and the Passenger Services Group are so disgusted with the antics of their union they want to remove it. If you really think that you can convince any employee that Doug and his team put together a plan to save jobs instead of elevate themselves to more executive level positions at larger airlines which would make them all millionaires; you would be mistaken.

            3. Kaye – Could American have survived without the merger? I’d say that’s likely, in some form. Would front line employees be better off? No way.
              You saw what was being pushed through bankruptcy court, I presume. What labor was able to achieve under this new management is far beyond what would have happened otherwise. Labor didn’t walk into this blindly. There were very clear facts on the table, and the choice was a no-brainer. For those in labor who think they would have been better off under the previous regime, that’s a big case of “the grass is always greener” syndrome. And it’s false. I think people made some strange assumption that every single thing would improve with no negative consequences, but that’s never the case when new management comes in. They find things that weren’t being done well and they change them. Some of those people like, some they don’t.

            4. The grass is always greener syndrome is what Mr. Parker was selling and the unions fell for it.

    2. I’ll do that about the same time management does that. Considering that many in executive positions are guaranteed certain bonuses based on metrics AND also have a backstop in the form of guaranteed payout upon termination, I don’t see any reason why labor shouldn’t have atleast the former especially they aren’t receiving the latter.

      Personally, I am not a fan of profit sharing, as it is too easy to bargain away and mess with the metrics that dictate disbursement. Consistent COLA or wage/step increases is a toughter, but I feel ultimately more useful means of creating economic stability amongst the workforce.

    3. “We want profit sharing but don’t want to share in the loss..” We already shared in the loss. Massively. Employees lost 20-30% of their pay, benefits and vacation in 2003 because of the losses suffered by American. It was part of the “pull together, win together” plan to keep the company out of bankruptcy. Then we ended up in bankruptcy anyway and took further cuts. Employees at American HAVE taken the loss. And now that American is finally making a profit, the very people that enabled Parker and his team to take over (because DP would NEVER have been able to accomplish the merger without the support of the unions), are being shut out. No reward for prior sacrifices. No appreciation for our support. We have yet to “win together” as we were promised, at a time when the company is making unprecedented profits. It’s a slap in the face. Everybody is demoralized and discouraged. It’s really a shame. Because when DP took over we were his to lose. We were so eager for a new management team and there was a great synergy that could have catapulted AA back to greatness. But he blew a golden opportunity by not recognizing what his employees needed – Which was to feel valued and respected. By not even offering so much as a one time bonus after two years of record profits he has demoralized everyone. The solution is simple. But they just don’t get it.

  17. The issue but no one seems to understand here is that when profit-sharing goes down because profits go down guess what? All those other airlines’ employees will THEN be making the same $$ that AA employees are now making. If DP had actually replaced profit sharing with higher wages that will be one thing, but he didn’t.

    His “communication” consists of telling people, including this article, the same lines over and over and refusing to listen or admit the truth. For example, the profit sharing is something companies meet up in bankruptcy. That’s not true. Profit sharing existed way before that. I know because I was there. I remember! Another example is when he says “oh AA employees are just angry at the Old management and they can’t let that go. They just refuse to see that we are wonderful now!” What planet is this man living on? Does he read any of his own mail from us? Does he listen to any of us in these meetings he has? No all he does is talk at us feeding us these same lines over and over. AA employees embraced the new management with open arms, we were thrilled. We wanted a fresh start. We were super excited about new management. This man has squandered that. We don’t want to be angry if I knew management! We want to have great relations. But you have to do more than SAY we have great relations to make relations great. He could start by listening, and stopping lying about things that we knew are lies like we’re stupid. The profit sharing line I mention above is just one example. This is a penny-pinching to the extreme, micro-managing, *vindictive* management. Not only do front line employees feel it; I’ve heard it said by people from the inside.

    1. Mona – As far as I understand it, American is paying higher base wages than the other airlines to compensate for the profit sharing going away. Now, if another airline labor group negotiates a higher contract after American did, then that’s just the way collective bargaining works. The next time the American contract comes up for renegotiation, then the employees will again get paid better than the others who get profit sharing. If you have a specific example of this not being the case, I’d love to see it.

      I’ve heard Doug speak about profit sharing before, and he hasn’t said, from what I’ve seen, that it was made up by companies in bankruptcy. He says it’s a crutch that unhealthy companies use because they can’t afford to pay normal wages. (Eastern certainly proved that to be true long, long ago.) Now that he views the industry as being sustainably healthy, he’d rather pay higher wages than use profit sharing as a gimmick to justify paying less, primarily because people on the front line don’t have the same direct impact on profit numbers to the extent management does. That’s a rational position, regardless of whether you agree with it or not. (And I’m not saying I do agree with it.)

      1. Okay, I’ll throw the penalty flag here. If profit sharing is a “crutch” that “unhealthy companies” use because they “can’t pay normal wages,” then are we to assume that Delta and Southwest are unhealthy and don’t pay normal wages? Really? Total garbage.

        1. Arubaman – The point he tries to make with Delta ties with the themes he laid out in this interview. There’s an “old world’ mindset about how things work, and he wants American to get beyond that. Delta, however, would rather live in that old world and pay lower wages while offering variable profit sharing. It’s like a hedge against the next downturn when Doug says that American will be strong enough to weather the next downturn without paying below market wages.

          Southwest is different. I don’t know the history of its profit-sharing program, but I’ll bet that it started in leaner days where the airline needed to do everything possible to keep costs low. So my guess is that the profit sharing program was born out of frugality and became a staple at the airline. It’s one of those sacred cows at Southwest that can’t be touched, especially since it pays out year after year. It’s just something that has become ingrained in the culture.

          1. If Delta has an “old world” mindset they are certainly beating the heck out of AA in the “modern world” in more ways than wages. Have you ever researched and compared the pay rates between DL and AA? You probably should because there is very little difference between them, if any. You must also consider work rules when you compare wages, because they are just as important as wages and reflect in the overall expenses of wages. One other thing about AA being strong enough to weather the store in the next downturn without going below market wages; wages won’t go down, instead there will be a reduction in the labor force (reducing wages by reducing employees).

            1. Kaye – You keep saying that Delta and American get paid the same, but that’s not the case. Pilots and flight attendants were both offered contracts that paid higher than Delta (I think 3 or 4 percent, with built-in increases after). Passenger service employees were offered 3 percent higher with an additional 9 percent increase over the 5 year life of the contract. Who is getting paid the same?

  18. From this customer’s perspective, Parker seems like a highly competent CEO. He’s overseen a huge merger that went off essentially without a hitch – far better than the DL/NW and UA/CO mergers. Kudos to him for that – many managers wouldn’t have handled it as well.

    That’s about all I can say about him, because I don’t know Mr. Parker personally (and I’m assuming most, if not all of you above who are spewing personal vitriol at him, haven’t either).

    1. Andrew — you are not reading all of the Executive Platinum, or Platinums’ review of AA lately. While they may not know Mr. Parker personally; they sure are experiencing the airline for which he makes all the decisions (through his management teams). This should be a wake-up for him. AA was last in over-all service this last quarter, behind Spirit. Do you follow airline industry news and ratings. You are one customer, I engage in many, many conversations with customers, employees, and retirees, and none think the merger has gone well, other than, the integration of systems. However, if you think integrating systems is a good evaluation of a CEO, it isn’t. He just happend to select the right company to manage that merger, Sabre. You should consider evaluating the merger on the employee morale, and customer perception of customer service.

      1. Sabre managed the PSS migration? In what world is that? You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. Thanks for crapping all over your IT department. We’re the ones doing system integration. We’re the ones who made changes to the hundreds of PSS interfacing applications and tested them and rolled them out. We’re the ones who kept it from being a disaster. We’re the ones who executed the plan and stood by 24 hours a day to address any issues during the cutover. Sabre had very little to do with it.

        The rest of you shouldn’t pay so much attention to what a few union malcontents are saying. Same old same old. There’s a certain element of contract labor that are just plain toxic and will only be happy if the deck is completely stacked in their favor. The rest of us MERIT BASED employees are doing just fine, and we lost our profit sharing too. But we did get a very large raise that we actually get to keep during the next economic downturn. So did they.

        Profit sharing is not coming back, get over it. If you don’t like it work somewhere else. Find a different job and go bitch to them about how your life sucks so much and stop trying to bring the rest of us down.

        1. Nunya — I mis-spoke, Sabre was the system chosen, rather than, the company to manage the integration. However, you may want to re-examine the Qik overlay to Sabre because that’s not working so well. Have you heard any feedback about the issues? I will never understand when employees provide feedback, some of you consider it bitching; that’s exactly the attitude I am referring to and no one said their life sucks. They would just like the environment of their work-life to improve with better two-way communication instead of hearing the words “just get over it”.

          1. QIK isn’t designed to make life harder for you, and sometimes the limitations that people complain about are built into Sabre’s interface and not something that can be controlled. Sometimes they are things that can and should be fixed. Maybe Sabre just wants to push everyone towards native so they make more money because there’s more transactions. Maybe they just don’t care about making one airline’s interface work better unless we write them a big(ger) check.

            The primary reason for QIK is to make sure agents who are working under time crunches don’t make mistakes like not carrying checked bags over on reroutes, which causes massive havoc on the ramp and drives up MBR, especially during irregular ops when that sort of thing is most critical. An interface that works that way has to be built on top of the reservation system (or you pay the reservation system vendor to do it for you). Naturally that’s going to reduce flexibility. The tradeoff is that it takes away some flexibility for airport customer service, but if it saves thousands of bags every month, it’s worth it. Its primary function is not to police the agents. It’s just that there’s more consideration that goes into QIK than just the impact on front line CSA’s. Another is that policies are implemented fairly and evenly across the board. That’s supposed to drive down DOT complaints, which is certainly dependent on the policies themselves, but it’s hard to argue against consistency unless it’s consistently bad. But the policy is not something that can be solved with technology.

            1. Thanks for your explanation. If QIK is supposed to save on costs that is great. However, I don’t know if you have ever worked at an AA hub; if not, you should spend at least one day at a hub (like DFW) and see what really happens at the gate and during an OSO, perhaps, then the QIK system could be improved not only to save costs but help provide overall better customer service and resolution of issues at the gate, than is currently happening with QIK. Agents using QIK have had to ask agents using native Sabre to fix the problem in QIK, otherwise, the passenger can’t be boarded. Hope this information is of some value to you.

      2. Kaye – I am one of those Executive Platinums, and I’m quite happy. And I didn’t mean that customers don’t know Doug Parker – that comment was directed at all the employees who go on about how horrible, awful, etc. that he is, as though they have breakfast with him each morning and actually know him. I think most employees who are saying these things probably don’t have a clue what kind of guy he is, because they’ve never interacted with the man.

        Overall point being, I find it highly amusing that so many people heap such emotion on this one man who they most likely have never met. It just doesn’t seem rational. I work for a company a tenth the size of American, and I’ve never met our CEO. When something in our business changes that I don’t like, I don’t wake up and start blaming him – there are a multitude of factors that go into each and every business decision.

        1. Andrew – it’s good to get another customer’s prospective. When morale is at its lowest point within a company; who should you look to as contributing to and creadting that enviroment? Generally, it comes straight from the top. I don’t personally know Mr. Parker but I have met him and been in meetings with him. Based on my observations he cannot engage his audience because of his nonchalant attitude and his lack of knowledge of the subject matter. You don’t have to like a person to respect them as a leader. Generally, its their leadership qualities that garner employees’ respect and it is not happening with this CEO.


  20. We have heard it all before. Management seems to reward themselves financially .
    With pay raises and bonuses . It may be their ideas that improve a company but it is the rank and file that implement those ideas and make them work. Yes a bonus program is the best way to raise and maintain moral ! It is a proven business practice.
    In many arenas around the world. mr PARKER that is the only way you will change
    Americans culture. If they feel left out they will behave accordingly…that’s capitalism !

  21. It probably doesn’t help moral when AA crews are staying at the same hotels as Delta’s crews. During the morning all crews drink a cup and coffee and talk “shop.” I had a Delta pilot tell me he’s expecting 60k from profit sharing on Valentines Day. A flight attendant chimed in that she was expecting 18k. Not exactly a great way to start your day. Especially when management wants you to believe that you’re working for the “biggest” and “best” airline in the world. Obviously Richard Anderson uses a different approach with his employees. Wonder which approach AA employees would prefer?

    1. Seth – I do not know you personally. I fly on AA a decent amount (~75K miles last year, 80% for work). I find that my flights on DL and WN have substantially friendlier FAs for the most part.

      The flip side of it is that in the last 2 months, I’ve written 3x about amazing flight attendants and have not received any response from Customer Relations.

      There are obviously lots of intertwined issues but I wonder if one of them is that the Best FAs do not get recognized and all the bad apples get treated the same creating no incentive to be great.

    2. Yeah, those profit sharing check numbers sure sound nice. But the question you should be asking is, how much are they being paid before those profit sharing checks compared to you (after adjusting for obvious variables like years of service)? In theory, AA employees should be making more than their DL counterparts, before profit sharing, and potentially rather close to the same amount over the full year when DL’s profit sharing checks are added in.

      Plus don’t forget, if the airlines have a bad year, DL’s employees won’t be getting those profit sharing checks, while AA employees will be getting the same guaranteed pay. Suddenly you’ll be having the better day after your morning coffee when DL’s employees aren’t getting that profit sharing they may have been counting on to hold their finances together.

      But yea, getting a 60k bonus check sure sounds nice. But ultimately it’s the same illusion that an income tax refund is “free money”. If you get a big refund check from the IRS, that just means you gave the government too much money over the course of the year. Fiddle with your deductions, your paycheck goes up, and if all goes perfect hit $0 due/$0 owed on the bottom of your 1040 (statistically difficult, but that should be the goal). In the same way, DL employees take a lower paycheck each month in the hopes of a big end of the year payout, while AA employees get a higher guaranteed paycheck every month.

      1. Where are you getting your information about Delta’s wages? You need to do some research on what DL is paying their employees. If it’s not the same as AA, it is very damn close. With what DL employees are being paid, and with what they are receiving in profit sharing, AA can’t come close to the annual income of their employees. Do some research.

        1. Nowhere. I’m going off of the idea that AA is paying a higher base wage than DL/UA to make up for a lack of profit sharing, but I could be mistaken as I have neither the time nor the inclination to attempt to read the contracts and figure it out.

          And don’t forget that when you’re having breakfast at the hotel with the DL crews, to adjust for length of service. You can’t directly compare pay unless you have a similar date of hire. If they’ve been working for DL a lot longer than you’ve been working for AA, then of course they’ll make more than you.

          1. David M. Delta has better insurance, extremely close to AA wages, delta stays at nice hotels (AA gets ramada’s fyi…). Delta has more productive trips, pay protections, days off, happy employees. The list goes on and on. So your comment of AA should be making more before profit sharing is bogus, they should be but they aren’t.

          2. Delta flight attendants got a 14.5% raise a while back so they make approx 10% more than us in base pay. Then add the profit sharing. See why we are mad? Doug has said in hi crew news that he knows this doesn’t resonate well with the employee groups. Why would it. You are screwing us again

            1. Sky – Whoa, hold on there. Delta increased pay by 14.5 percent in exchange for a reduction in profit sharing. It was still a raise, but not as much as you’re suggesting. More importantly, this is what happens when you choose collective bargaining. American gave its flight attendants an industry-leading contract at the time. It certainly doesn’t know what other airlines will do after the deal is done. But once that deal was done, it meant flight attendants had to wait until the contract became amendable again. (American flight attendants were able to get one bump up once United/Continental get a single contract, which is pretty good.) You have a couple of years, but once it’s up, I’m sure you’ll get something better at that time.

            2. And the other side of collective bargaining vs individual employment is when an airline hits financial trouble within collective bargaining there are specific steps the airline is allowed to take, and its spelled out how they are to take them.

              However Delta could cut its flight attendant pay with next to no notice. American can’t do that with their flight attendants.

            3. Delta get less in profit sharing, really? Is that something that kicks in NEXT year because my source at Delta was crowing about his 21% profit sharing check they are getting soon or just got.

            4. Joey – Yeah, that’s right. They didn’t change profit sharing in the middle of a year that had already started so it changes for 2016 accrual to be paid in 2017. Up until this year the airline put 10% into profit sharing up to $2.5 billion in profit. Over $2.5 billion, it paid 20%. Now it will keep paying 10%, but it will only pay 20% on profit above the previous year’s profit. Delta earned something like $6 billion in 2015, so the amount paid on about $3.5 billion in profit will be halved if the airline has the same level of profit next year.

  22. Any of you trying to convince Cranky that Parker is anything other than the best airline manager who ever lived should just save your breath. Cranky was shilling for his hero, Parker, before the merger and nothing you say will change his mind. He went so far as to say that the merger would “solve all the labor problems”. That was a huge miscalculation judging from the comments in this thread and conversations I’ve had with flight crews. Also, $30 / bbl oil is making a lot of airline executives look brilliant right now and $3 / gal jet fuel like we had a few short years ago takes a big chunk out of (but not all) that $6 billion profit. That brings up another point: how much control did management have over the drop in oil prices and should they be getting bonuses as a result?

    1. I can see how impressed Cranky is with Mr. Parker.  The thing is thousands of employees, retirees and customers are not impressed.

  23. Two words; horse shi*.
    What trustworthy things? What doing the right thing? Screwing up pbs? Switching back to the hard 40? Not shAAring? All he is doing is proving he is a liar.

    1. Douglas Scott – Sorry, you’re talking about the hard 40 for flight attendants? The company gave in on that but the flight attendants voted the contract down. They knew they weren’t getting that back by voting against it, so that’s entirely on the flight attendants. As for PBS, how has it been screwed up? I’m curious.

      I’m always amazed that people are very quick to call executives a “liar.”
      What did he lie about?

      1. CF,

        Be carful for what you wish for-you might get it. I would love for you to ask Mr. Parker how PBS worked in December. Perhaps a good follow up question would be how much it cost AA because of contract violations.

        1. Liz – Why should I be careful? I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t know what to know what was going wrong. (Angry ranters, please don’t bother chiming in. But anyone who can explain, that’s great.)

  24. Cf, you believe everything doug says? I have a limited time offer on a credit card just for you! Hurry this offer is ending soon! Trash airline offering a subpar product. NEVER will catch Delta.

  25. CF – You are certainly misunderstanding my comments. I have not made one accusation. Mr. Parker has all the details of the secret meetings with the unions, unbeknown to Tom Horton because he knew that was the only way he could accomplish the merger. I can specifically state that in retirement contracts signed by the retiree and American Airlines that retirees were guaranteed D2 travel; yes I have reviewed them. I am certain Mr. Parker has as well, so your assumptions are not correct that this would not be something explicitly stated in an agreement. Assets and cash “DO” mean something when a company enters bankruptcy; why do you think Mr. Parker wanted AA? He wanted AA for its assets (aircraft and routes) and the cash assets of $4 Billion dollars. Did Mr. Parker arrange a deal with the creditors, of course, he did and it has benefited the executive management staff of new AA enormously. Did it save jobs, of course it did, but there is no crystal ball to determine how well AA or US would have done without a merger. Based on my research and knowledge; AA would have fared better than US because US needed a merger with one of the big three to compete with DL and UA and they turned him down. It was a reverse merger, so to speak, however, Mr. Parker has also stated that US needed AA. If you need more details than I have provided, please do another interview with Mr. Parker, he has way more information than I do.

    1. Kaye – I wanted to get more information before responding, so now I have that.

      “I can specifically state that in retirement contracts signed by the retiree and American Airlines that retirees were guaranteed D2 travel; yes I have reviewed them. ”
      Are you talking about the buy-outs when people opted to leave the company early in exchange for benefits and more? I don’t believe standard retirees have anything that specifically says D2. But my understanding is that some early-outs do have things mentioning D2. Of course, this was before D2R existed, so I suppose its up to the courts to decide how this should go forward. I can see arguments on both sides.

      “Assets and cash “DO” mean something when a company enters bankruptcy; why do you think Mr. Parker wanted AA? He wanted AA for its assets (aircraft and routes) and the cash assets of $4 Billion dollars.”
      They mean something only in that it can prevent the need for DIP financing. In this case, that didn’t matter. US management didn’t want American for its airplanes and routes or its cash. It wanted the airline because it knew that combining the two would create a an entity that was far more capable of competing with United and Delta globally. Neither airline alone was in a good place to do that.

      “Based on my research and knowledge; AA would have fared better than US because US needed a merger with one of the big three to compete with DL and UA and they turned him down.”
      I’m not as sure as you are. The way I see it, US Airways could have continued to be a low cost provider with a legacy carrier network. It’s not globally competitive but there’s a place for it. American would have been a third place airline competing with two far better equipped airlines in Delta and United. That’s not to say that American couldn’t have been successful, but it would have needed capable, disciplined management to have a chance. It didn’t have that.

    2. American was an attractive target, once inside the Chapter 11 process, because the restructuring lowered its operating costs significantly; moreover, its cash position meant that secured creditors’ claims were unimpaired and the payment waterfall to equity interests was highly favorable.

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Cranky Flier