Two bits of news regarding American Airlines today, probably unrelated, but who knows?
First, AA is looking at a huge fine for MD-80 safety violations.
American Airlines could face a fine in the ballpark of $10 million for safety violations involving wiring in its large MD-80 fleet, according to a government official familiar with the nearly completed federal investigation.
While the Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t decided what fine to propose in the probe expected to wrap up in mid-March, there is sentiment to top the record $10.2 million against Southwest Airlines in March 2008, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss publicly the two-year investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity…
Loose fastening of wires in 290 of American’s MD-80s led to damage in some planes that, if uncorrected, could have caused an electrical discharge that’s a potential fire threat, according to the government and industry officials who spoke Tuesday. They asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the two-year investigation…
Might this explain AA’s announcement today that free standby will no longer be available unless you meet the following criteria?
- AAdvantage Executive Platinum®, AAdvantage Platinum® and AAdvantage Gold®, as well as oneworld® Alliance Emerald, Sapphire or Ruby members
- Those who purchase tickets in First and Business Class as well as those who purchase unrestricted Economy Class fares (Y, B, H class of service)
- Active U.S. Military personnel traveling on orders or personal travel and active U.S. Military dependents traveling on orders
Likely not, but the new fee will certainly help to offset the fine. Passengers who don’t fit into one of the categories above will now have to pay $50 for a confirmed standby within 12 hours of their confirmed flight. This new policy will apply to all booking made on or after 22 February.
My first reaction to the standby news was one of disgust, but Gary made an excellent observation during our conversation on this subject this evening: why shouldn’t AA charge for this perk? If customers will pay $50 to get home two hours early, why not charge them for it?
Fair point. Expect a similar announcement from United–now the lone legacy holding out–by the end of the month.