Thursday, January 20, 2011

Inside the Psyche (And Sales) of American Airlines

Photo by Andrew Morrell
The pugnacious executives of American Airlines have been making headlines lately, with much of the travel world wondering whether their strategies to increase direct sales will undermine their ability to make any sales at all.
As it now stands, American is no longer carried on Orbitz, Expedia or Hotwire; and it just inked a deal with Priceline that takes users from that site right to the American website for bookings. (You gotta wonder how this helps Priceline build marketshare). At a recent shareholders meeting, USA Today reported, executives refused to discuss the stand-offs with the major online travel agencies; clearly its a sore point.

Which may be partially why American is trying to make nice with would-be passengers right now. Its recently posted a bevy of bargains on its website. They include:
  • Double miles for anyone who books directly on the AA site and travel before the end of the month from either Chicago or New York to Brussels, Madrid, Barcelona or Paris
  • Deeply cut fares within the US: While rival Virgin America is touting its sale price of $60 each way between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, American is slicing that rate in half on the route to just $29. That's also the fare between Dallas and Wichita; Dallas to Oklahoma City is $10 more. There are also real bargains from such gateways as Austin, Chicago, Indianapolis, Miami and other major airports.
  • Bargain fares to Latin America: Guayaquil, San Salvador, San Jose, Quito and a host of other hot spots are on sale, and for the most part the discounts are solid.
With all of its current promotions, bookings must be made no later than Jan 24, usually for travel into early May. Go directly to the American website (link above) for more details.

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