American Airlines is proud of the premium products available for passengers across its network. One of these products is the Five Star Service. This luxurious offering allows passengers to travel smoothly with pure exclusivity. Simple Flying recently spoke with Clarissa Sebastian, the Dallas/Fort Worth-based carrier’s managing director of premium guest experiences and onboard products, about how travelers have responded to this initiative. She highlights that, in the current climate, families can significantly benefit from the service.
A deluxe setting
Passengers with tickets for seats on any of American Airlines’ premium cabins are eligible to purchase the company’s Five Star Service. Notable advantages of the product include access to Flagship First check-in, entrance to the Admirals Club lounge, priority boarding, re-accommodation status, and car service coordination.
Five Star Service is available at 16 airports across the United States and four airports internationally. The cost is $350 for the first person. The charge is then $100 per additional adult or $50 for those aged 17 or under. If AAdvantage members want to use their miles, the expense is 35,000 miles for the first person, 10,000 miles for each extra adult, and 5,000 miles for each person that is 17 years old or younger.
There is also a level up at specific airports, with additions such as access to First Dining and the American Airlines Cadillac transfer where applicable. This Five Star Select product is on offer for $650 for the first person. Other levels of Five Star includes the focus on private transfers and private arrivals. For instance, passengers can also have access to their own TSA and customs screening before departure and after international arrival.
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Sebastian shares that passengers have always loved the overall exclusivity and speed of Five Star. It’s been a customer favorite for a while, but there is a refined appreciation amid the current climate.
The airline has seen additional market segments try out the service. Some of the needs of these customers may differ from the groups that have traditionally gone for this offering. This factor has made the company realize that the demand for this sort of aspect is broader than initially expected.
As a result of this attention, American Airlines emphasized the core benefits of Five Star. For instance, during the holiday season, a lot of families were flying. So, the airline ran promotions guided for family travel. It highlighted how it could make traveling in small groups easier in the current conditions amid all the measures and restrictions. Subsequently, customers left feedback that the service made their holiday travel experience a lot less stressful.
Continuing to evolve
Developments of the program over the last few years include the addition of an exclusive partnership with private helicopter specialists BLADE. With this move, passengers can buy personalized, expedited travel in Los Angeles International and New York JFK. Ultimately, travelers can fly over traffic in the city to arrive swiftly at their departing airport.
The aviation industry has been adapting amid concerns brought about by the virus. Therefore, American Airlines is not looking to slow down with its Five Star offerings and feels that there is plenty of room for expansion.
“Proportionally, we’ve seen about a similar amount of people looking for the experience. I think what we’ve seen is that the folks who are flying right now are a bit different than those who’ve flown us in the past. A lot of our corporate customers who utilize the Five Star Service are not flying at this moment, and so we have definitely seen other customers take advantage of that. And it’s a limited service, too, by the way, so we are not always able to offer it to anyone who’s looking for it.” Sebastian told Simple Flying.
“But we have seen that while the need for the service continues, the reasons for it may have changed slightly through the pandemic. While exclusivity was a big thing in the past, now, it’s a desire to get through the airport quicker. So, perhaps, instead of walking to gates, they have the ability to take the cart and get from point A to point B faster. Especially, in a lot of cases, with small children, that you want to make sure are contained between the security and the club.”
Altogether, the health crisis has created a new atmosphere when it comes to health and safety concerns when traveling. American Airlines nonetheless upholds high standards in this respect across its operations, with several biosecurity measures in place. However, the added level of privacy as spurred several passengers to take an extra step.
Sebastian concludes that it is crucial just as ever to listen to customers. Needs are evolving even faster now than they have in previous years. As the conditions of the pandemic continue to change, there will be additional tweaks across the board. However, American Airlines will always strive to offer high quality but safe products regardless of the situation in the industry.
What are your thoughts about American Airlines’ Five Star Service? Have you tried out this offering on your travels across the carrier’s network since it has been introduced? Let us know what you think of the initiative in the comment section.