Memo to Doug Parker, CEO, American Airlines (DASM)

Dear Mr. Parker,

I’m a two-million miler on your airline and a full-fare fist class passenger. I routinely hand out recognition slips you provide me to the crews because the cabin service is usually terrific. But you have a very unfortunate policy which I encountered yet again today.

I flew AA1553 from Miami to Boston out of Gate E6 at 2:20 pm. I arrived from your club a few minutes before boarding and sat next to an elderly, very overweight women who had a piece of luggage and a large tote bag, both legally-sized. She was offered early boarding, but the gate agent asked if she wanted to check the bag. She said, “No, I need it with me.”

He then said, “Okay, but the cabin crew will not help you place anything in the overheads.” That was his verbatim statement.

When I boarded I found her still at the top of the jetway, struggling. I offered to take one of the bags and bring it down to the plane. I explained to the flight attendant why I left it at the jet door. In a few minutes the woman arrived and thanked me. The flight attendant then said, “Would you like to check your bag?” Again, the woman replied, “I would not.”

The flight attendant then told her how best to get both bags down the aisle, pulling one, pushing the other, offering no help to get her to her seat. I assume that a passenger in coach helped her get her bag stowed in the overhead.

I don’t care about your insurance liability, the unions, or a fear of accidents: This is deplorable. Two years ago I actually walked back to coach when I found two quite healthy flight attendants refusing to life the bags of two, infirm, blind people. They told me it was an American rule. When I inquired with your corporate office, I was told it was up to the flight attendants.

Let me tell you what’s up to you: Set the model for helping infirm and disadvantaged passengers. I find your practice of no help to be inhuman, indecent, and disrespectful. You can change it.

Do so.


Alan Weiss

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