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American Airlines has been working to expand its presence in Los Angeles (LAX) over the last year. So far in 2016, AA has added new international routes, many new domestic routes, rolled out a new marketing campaign (#BestInLAX) and signed on to be the primary sponsor for the Hollywood Bowl.
In total, American Airlines had plans to operate 220 daily flights from LAX to 70 different destinations starting this June. While this rapid expansion has led to major operational issues — leading AA to now scale back LAX flights — AA seems to still be committed to becoming the primary airline at LAX.
This week, we learned about another initiative that AA is using to up its LAX game: the American Airlines Council on Entertainment. This panel of entertainment industry managers and executives has reportedly been meeting every few months to help the carrier cater better to the crucial Los Angeles entertainment industry.
The reported improvements have been fairly incremental so far: healthier in-flight food, a 24-hour service desk and a private reservation line for top VIPs.
The panel also convinced AA to add another Los Angeles (LAX) to Toronto (YYZ) flight for eight days in September during the Toronto International Film Festival. While the existing once-daily flight between these airports is on an Airbus A319 with standard recliner first-class seats, the additional flight will be operated using American Airlines’ A321 Transcon — which includes 10 lie-flat first-class seats and 20 lie-flat business-class seats.
It’s good to see American Airlines reach out for guidance on how to improve. Still, while the improvements implemented so far might persuade some entertainment executives and performers to switch, AA is going to lose the battle for LAX if it doesn’t drastically improve its operational performance. After all, having a healthier salad on board isn’t going to make up for less than 65% of AA’s flights arriving on time in June at LAX. If the council is able to convince AA that operational performance should be the primary goal, that’s one improvement that’ll benefit all American Airlines passengers.
H/T: LA Times