Holly Hegeman Speaks to American Employees About the Airline’s Dark Days

The latest American Airlines employee podcast interviews Holly Hegeman. She talks about how she got involved covering the airline industry, doing consulting for Bob Crandall and doing the airline’s annual report with him.

I’m pretty sure I found Flyertalk.com in 2001 from a link on Holly’s PlaneBusiness website so in some sense I owe the start of my journey — which began reading Thomas Petzinger’s Hard Landing over 20 years ago and by traveling as a newly minted frequent flyer and that was accelerated through my association with Randy Petersen — to Holly.

She talks through American history and the time where it struggled, and concludes that American management today cares about building a better airline. Where I’d quibble is that they seem heavily focused on building a better airline for ConciergeKey members and international premium cabin customers in markets that get bigger planes than 767s.

Holly’s take that management wants to build a better airline, then is true — from a certain point of view.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’d argue that these are American’s darkest days, most certainly for the customer. The airline is swimming in profit while expending enormous energy at every turn to make the flying experience worse for the public.

  2. I have always assumed that the Bob Crandall days were the glory days of American Airlines. Can you be more specific about which period of time Holly Hegeman considers to be the dark days?

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