How American Airlines Is Adapting To COVID-19

The global health crisis has rocked the aviation industry this year. Subsequently, airlines are having to adapt amid the unforeseen circumstances. American Airlines has today spoken of how the carrier, its customers, and partners are transitioning during these challenging times.

American Airlines
American Airlines has been making changes this year. Photo: Getty Images

A different market

American Airlines’ Chief Customer Officer Alison Taylor spoke during today’s World Aviation Festival about her company’s activity over the past few months.

She said that only 10% of the airline’s bookings are from its business and corporate travelers. So, with 90% of its business being leisure, AA had to pivot swiftly. Amid the pandemic, it has had to make sure passengers feel that they can have a great touchless experience going through the airport. Subsequently, the airline introduced features such as touchless kiosks. In fact, it has converted its kiosks at 290 airports.

Before the discussion, the airline revealed that it is ramping up its technology to help several customer segments adapt to the new times. It is launching an App Clip, which is a smaller version of the company’s app that will enable passengers to check-in on their mobile devices without any contact. Additionally, travelers don’t have to download the full app to go through this process. Taylor commented,

“The demographics are very different. So, it may not be the high-yielding leisure business because the customers are younger, as well. And these customers want it to be automated. So the leisure customers of the past may not have desired, perhaps, the level of automation that a young 28-year-old traveler requires.

“So what we’ve had to do is everything from, frankly, a one-click touch for our AAdvantage enrolment, right through to making sure that you have a bundle that someone can just tap. And that’s why we actually announced, today, as well, the App Clip and the widgets. And that’s designed all around those who were the first adapters and the new IOS, right, which only launched just recently.”

Grounded American Airlines aircraft
There is a shift of balance across operations. Photo: Getty Images

Working together

Additionally, with the changes in passenger segments and new automation processes, AA has noticed that its passengers are fond of bundles. Therefore, the airline is working with agencies that are doing innovative leisure bundles that might include features such as the Admirals Club and preferred seats.

American Airlines and its partners have also been supporting each other well during this difficult period. For instance, it is communicating with the likes of Hyatt and Airbnb to help travelers be accommodated.

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American Airlines Delta
COVID-19 is taking its toll on the whole US aviation industry. Photo: Getty Images

Across the industry

Furthermore, the carrier is looking to cover ground across the passenger journey. It is proactively speaking with car companies to ensure customers have sufficient transport. Taylor shared that the firm recently called Hertz EVP Bob Stuart about how the carrier is flying into Memphis, but the car rental company’s customer counter was not open two hours before the flight. Therefore, the firm brought in cars immediately.

Moreover, the airline is also communicating with authorities at the destinations that it flies too. For example, it spoke with Jamaica’s prime minister yesterday to see if the country needed any support. Subsequently, it referred the nation to some medical clinics that can help with pop-up hospitals.

Altogether, it is a tough climate across the industry. However, American Airlines is adapting by working closely with its partners and contacts to help the market get through the challenges.

What are your thoughts about how American Airlines is adapting during this time? Let us know what you think in the comment section.