AAdvantage Aluminum status

A couple of months ago I shared some videos by former American purser Gailen David, who made videos expressing his frustration with American management under the name “Aluminum Lady.”

In the end he got fired, and the reason given wasn’t his videos, but rather that he violated American’s social media policy regarding his website (which seemed to have generic ads for competing airlines).

Anyway, while I certainly don’t agree with everything he says, I see where he’s coming from, and his opinions are definitely worth a read.

Most interesting has to be his AAdvantage Aluminum program, which works as follows:

Benefits of the AAdvantage Aluminum program may be accessed by any American Airlines passenger. Simply mention the code word, Aluminum, and your crew will instantly recognize you as one of the special passengers that appreciates all that the front-line workers do to make the experience an exceptional one!

Here are the steps once again:

  • Mention the code word “Aluminum” to your flight crew and if you’ve suffered any inconvenience during your trip allow us the opportunity to make it up to you!
  • Receive the Rock Star treatment and amenities you deserve!
  • Enjoy!

Now, I suspect this will end up being counterproductive, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Apparently American flight attendants have the ability to comp a drink if you’ve been inconvenienced, so by saying “Aluminum” and mentioning a way you’ve been inconvenienced they can do so. There are only three issues with that:

  • Do flight attendants really want to hear complaints from passengers? I can’t imagine any flight attendant would be delighted to hear “you lost my bag two months ago, now can I have a free drink? ALUMINUM!”
  • I’m curious just how many flight attendants know about this. I’ve gotta give Gailen a lot of credit for how widespread he’s been able to make his message.
  • At the end of the day while this is a way to take a jab at American’s management short term, I suspect the impact of this could be that flight attendants no longer have the ability to comp drinks.

Has anyone here “enjoyed” AAdvantage Aluminum status? Not something I necessarily suggest you do, but at least figured I’d pass it on and see if anyone’s had an experience.

Filed Under: American
  1. Aluminum…more valuable than Platinum…who knew it was possible? All I know is saying I’m Platinum gets me removed to coach while AA’s management takes my spot in F/C. At least saying Aluminum in coach might get me at least a smile or a free drink in coach. Beats the Platinum treatment.

  2. This is the best way to let the company know the public is aware of the games they are playing !! Gailen you Rock !! “We have your back”

  3. Sounds like a disgruntled ex-employee to me. Great job exposing something nice and turning into nothing.

  4. Why are all the comments on this board always anti-AA Management. From my perspective as a platinum flyer, they are BOTH guilty. FA’s, GA’s for being rude and uncaring. Management for making stupid decisions.


  5. Has anyone actually tried this? As you say, as soon as more than one or two do, it will be counterproductive, but I’m skeptical that this would actually work.

    Hopefully someone will let us know if it works. ALUMINUM!

    I wonder if it’d work with other airlines too 🙂

  6. In response to Andrew Garrett: now how hard is it to be nice to the staff? why does that seem to difficult for so many? You don’t socialize with the hired help? are they so insignificant to you? remember one thing; even though they work for SATAN (AKA HORTON), they are people too, just like you!

  7. I cannot wait until I hear the “magic” word! The drinks will be flowing! Keep up the good fight Gailen.

  8. @ Michael — It doesn’t seem to be, based on the flight attendants that have commented here and elsewhere.

  9. Have I tried out the Aluminum ploy? No…

    Have I, both back when I was Platinum with AA, and how that I am Lifetime Gold, been treated by FAs and Lounge guardians as though my status was “Aluminum”? Oh, yeah, lots of times….

  10. As a 33 year flight attendant with AA…I can assure you as an Aluminum acknowledged passenger…you will be treated the way you deserve to be treated…and not the way you have been as of late. We love our passengers!

  11. @ Robert Hanson;A lot depends on how you treat the person you are claiming your status to.
    Are you a Pompous platinum or a polite platinum?
    personally the person that walks up to me and flashes his/her card in my face with a ” I’m advantage platinum and I WANT….” well you get the point. as opposed to the more -user friendly- “can I have a … and, by the way I am a platinum level member..:
    think of it like this, you get what you ask for, you get what you deserve when you demand.

  12. I can’t speak to American Airlines, but I know on my return from Asia on United yesterday that if you mentioned you had to stand in an inch of urine while in the lavatory and that they were completely out of paper towels you got a free blank stare and a shrug of the shoulders. Maybe I got more than an average customer since I’m 1K…..

  13. The equivalent on British Airways is to mention the codeword “Lead”. You are then subjected to the best of British service 🙂

  14. Forget pompous or demanding. I’ve been subjected to sarcastic comments when checking into the Ambassador lounge for free, as a Platinum flying International, on a mid-winter economy sale ticket. Seems she didn’t think someone flying on that low of a fare “deserved” to use the lounge. Even though the AA rules clearly permitted it.

    My unspoken response for her, would she prefer that I not fly, and American not get that too-low fare on a seat that would othewise go empty?

    On the other hand, I have pulled my Platinum rank when the Business Class purser closed off the bar with 2 hours to go on a London to ORD flight. The flight attendant serving me agreed that was silly, and was willing to sneak me a glass of wine from First, where the bar was of course still open.

    Where do these self important employees get the idea that it’s up to them to decide what fares qualify to use the lounge, despite the fact that the rules clearly allow it? Or that everyone in Business has had enough to drink, and should just sit there for 2 more hours? I should note that no one in the cabin gave any signs of over indulgence.

    @ Suzie I’ve had some FAs on FC TA flights that were utterly wonderful. And others that treated everyone in the cabin as though they were doing them a favor by allowing passengers in “their” FC cabin.

    I’ve occasionaly had far worse service in FC TA than I’ve ever had at the DMV, sad to say. Despite my having been unfailingly polite to them.

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