Monday, September 22, 2008

American Airlines Adds Perks for Frequent Flyers

American Airlines is being dragged out of the 90's kicking and screaming by adding benefits for frequent flyers that other airlines discovered about a decade ago.

For those of you who are unfortunate enough to be frequent flyers on American Airlines you are going some perks when checking in which should help you save time so you can wait longer at the gate for your delayed plane.

American Airlines, under fire for poor customer-satisfaction ratings, said Monday it will add check-in and boarding services for top customers including those traveling in first- or business-class.

American, the nation's largest carrier, said it will give priority check-in and, at several large airports, priority security screening to top customers. Beginning Sept. 30, it will also offer one boarding lane at gates just for priority customers.

The benefits, called PriorityAAccess, will be offered to customers in first- and business-class, those paying full-fare for coach seats and top members of its AAdvantage frequent-flier and oneworld alliance programs.

Mark Mitchell, the airline's managing director of customer experience, said American was trying to provide services that customers want.

"PriorityAAccess benefits provide a differentiated experience for our top customers at the ticket counter, at security checkpoints, and at the gate," he said.

The rollout of the new services is expected to be complete by the end of October.

In a recent survey by consumer research firm J.D. Power and Associates, American ranked fifth among eight traditional North American network carriers for customer satisfaction. It ranked behind Alaska and Continental, which tied for first, Delta and Air Canada but ahead of US Airways, Northwest and United. The latter two tied for last place.

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