As we learned recently, there seems to be a lot of internal dialogue among American management about what the airline should look like in the future.
America's Identity Crisis
Following the merger of American and US Airways, American adopted the slogan "Going for Great" and they attempted to become a premium airline. But apparently this has been left out, both because they have eliminated this slogan, and because they have gradually worsened the product they offer on domestic flights A220s.
Delta A220 Cabin
Delta A220 Cabin
Meanwhile, their 737 MAX aircraft are the worst product at American on a domestic flight yet offered. They want customers to be excited about new aircraft, even if old aircraft have a better experience than new ones.
American 737 MAX cabin
American 737 MAX Cabin
The American 737 MAX aircraft (and other aircraft in the "Oasis" configuration) not only have less legroom as earlier planes, but they have also made the decision to dispense with personal television sets these aircraft.
How Americans came to this point
I actually understand the decision-making process that has led to it completely. Most consumers are price conscious and do not choose an airline based on whether they have their own TV on domestic flights or not.
At the same time, American management can not understand why they have a problem
This is the crux of the problem. The debate on American in-flight entertainment has little to do with whether you use inflight entertainment on narrow-body aircraft. It has more to do with the impression Americans make of the brand.
Why American Inflight Entertainment is Important
@xJonNYC Refers to a FlyerTalk Post by User jamesinclair I think summarizes this situation perfectly. I share the post here (with permission) because there is no reason for me to write something that explains the subject so well:
Much of the conversation about IFE is usually about personal use.
Person 1: I do not use IFE, so AA is right to remove it.
Person 2: I use IFE, so AA is wrong to remove it.
In Person 2. However, I think that IFE also plays a bigger role in the perception of the brand at large.
Imagine that you are checking into a nice hotel and the TV offered is a 30-inch CRT from 1998. It immediately leaves a negative impression of the hotel, even if you never plan to turn it on.
Why? It sends the message that the hotel is cheap.
And let us be real. No one likes it when things feel cheap. Yes, we all like to pay less, but people expect a certain amount of luxury.
IFE is the same. You get into a Delta or Jetblue plane and it feels modern and high tech and I dare to say 'chic'. That leaves a good impression. Again, it does not matter if you do not use IFE. The fact that it exists means that the company is doing things to improve your journey.
On the other hand, a plane without IFE feels old and cheap. Whether the aircraft is brand new, it looks more like a greyhound than a jet.
We are in a capitalist society based essentially on perception. Brands spend billions on marketing to ensure that people associate their brand with positive feelings. They do it because it works.
On the day they taught these case studies at the Business School, the AA management was clearly hungover.
"But look at Spirit." Yes, their entire business model is cheap. It's good. You CAN lead a successful business by being as cheap as possible. Walmart purposely uses ugly shelves and hard lighting to spread the message that they are cheap because the brand is said to be associated with low prices. But Walmart sells 79-cent sodas, not 9,000-dollar business-class seats to Japan. You can not have it in both directions.
This is the one here !!!
That's just right. For example, look at former Virgin America aircraft. Every time I was in first grade I heard people passing by and said, "Wow, this plane is awesome" or "This plane needs to be brand new".
Virgin America Cabin
In the meantime, I have not heard a single person climb into an Oasis plane (even though it's mostly new) and said, "Boy, that's nice." I'm talking about online advertising or the American Airlines Arena in Miami. Why? They want people to have a positive association with the brand.
Eventually, Inflight Entertainment is no longer about television, but an identity crisis. When American Airlines tries to be Spirit Airlines, they make it great.
Spirit Airlines Cabin
But otherwise …