American Airlines pilots recommend you fly Delta or United


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Hell hath no fury like an American Airlines pilot who wishes they were flying for a different airline.

This seems the troubling conclusion as American’s pilots continue the battering of their own management.

In public. Yes, even on social media.

The pilots’ union, the Allied Pilots Association, has consistently been adorning Twitter and YouTube with messages that suggest you may not want to fly American Airlines this summer.

Surely a misinterpretation, you might think.

But what would you make of the pilots musing recently: “Traveling with American Airlines? Is American Airlines not ready for a busy summer.”?

The pilots insist management is treating them poorly, changing their schedules at the worst times and generally behaving in a less than competent — and less than caring — manner.

They’re making relatively polished ads to support their cause.

Their message, though, is also targeted at customers, as if they feel those customers would be better off flying with someone else.

This reached a new level of pointedness with an ad that is, in its own touching way, quite startling.

It offers quotes from famous business figures. Sample: “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” This comes courtesy of Warren Buffett.

Then there’s J.W. Marriott: “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers, and your business will take care of itself.”

Some may feel this sounds a touch like a blend of mouthwash and hogwash. A business does actually need to be managed, doesn’t it? At least a little?

Then the ad offers this intonation from Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson: “Your employees are your real competitive advantage. They’re the ones making the magic happen — so long as their needs are being met.”

But then the pilots aim a sizable fist towards American’s solar plexus.

They offer: “When you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers, who then reward you with their business and loyalty.”

This might seem like a marginal reworking of Marriott’s words. But the real blow is that these words are Ed Bastian’s. He’s the CEO of Delta Air Lines.

That’s a touch more uncomfortable than some of America’s economy seats.

The pilots are not done. The next quote in this hall of joys sends veritable, figurative spittle at their management’s faces.

Here’s the quote: “I really have one responsibility, which is to make our employees proud.”

Well, that seems quite nice, doesn’t it?

Oh, but this quote continues: “If our employees are proud of United Airlines, they’re going to want the customers to feel like they do about United.”

Actually, a United gate agent recently got hurt — and fired — when he got into a fight with a customer, but we have a larger bunfight here. The United quote comes from the airline’s CEO, Scott Kirby.

Until relatively recently, he used to be the president of, oh, American Airlines. While he was at American, he had the reputation of being less a touchy-feely people-person than a data-delighted robot-person.

Perhaps, then, the message is that everyone can change for the better.

And I’m sure this is mere coincidence, but United has already agreed a new contract with its pilots.

Some might observe that flying some of American’s rivals isn’t a delicious packet of biscotti currently. Delta, for example, summarily cancelled 100 flights just as the Memorial Day weekend bloomed.

But who can deny that the American Airlines pilots are merely trying to send a simple message to customers: “American Airlines is going to disappoint you, dear customer, just like it’s disappointing us. United and Delta are so much better. And, by the way, its pilots are happier too.”

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