Here’s What American’s CEO Had To Say About This Weekend’s Airport “Turmoil”

Filed Under: American

On Saturday, Tiffany wrote about President Trump’s executive order, which created chaos for many international travelers, as those with passports from seven countries were banned from entering the U.S., with immediate effect.

Regardless of how you feel about the decision as such, I think we can all agree this created confusion and chaos, given the lack of notice, and the lack of clear directives for those who were supposed to enforce the rules. Furthermore, there were protests at airports around the country that contributed even more to the chaos.

President Trump blamed the chaos largely on Delta’s outage on Sunday night, though we haven’t heard much from airline executives, both about the travel ban as such, and about the state of airports this weekend.

However, American’s CEO, Doug Parker, sent the following letter to employees yesterday, which is an interesting read:

Dear Team Members,

Over the weekend, American was notified that per a Presidential Executive Order, nationals of seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Libya —will be prohibited from entering the United States for at least 90 days.

As a global airline, we recognize that these orders place difficult operating conditions on some of our team members. Colleagues across the country have been working closely with government officials to interpret and apply the order. Crews, Reservations agents and airport teams have witnessed turmoil in our airports that shows how divisive this order can be. However, it is the current law of the U.S., and so long as that is the case, we must comply. We are doing everything we can to care for any affected customers and team members and treat them with the utmost respect.

As a global employer, however, this Executive Order does not affect the values that this company is built upon — those of diversity, inclusiveness and tolerance. At a time when the world is watching, our industry affords us a unique opportunity to show firsthand what true compassion and kindness look like. Treating each other with respect and dignity does not belong to a political party and transcends any law.

Be it with your colleagues or customers, please continue to work with the same open-mindedness, mutual respect and appreciation of diversity that defines — and always will define — American Airlines.

Well said!

  1. Appreciate the response from AA. Next, American (together with Delta and UA) should issue a joint statement rescinding their attacks on other global airlines trying to establish routes with the US. Otherwise, this statement is, and will remain, just “a politically correct response”.

  2. Sounds like GL works for the airlines while I am not going there politically when and if ever the US big three start providing the service they charge for maybe many of us will go back. I for the past 7 years have only flown AF or EK long haul.

    It’s all about service and comfort. I once flew DL to CDG from the west coast, biz duck tape and broken IFE and one ask’s me why I fly EK or AF ?

    As a businessman and paid traveler the “big three” have no creditability with me.

  3. We stopped watching Game of Thrones. This is much more entertaining and we have a full new episode every day!!!

  4. Executive orders are NOT laws and it worries me that AA called it “the current law of the U.S.” They can have the force of law, however, but should not when they are unconstitutional as this one, as several judges have already seemed to indicate.

  5. Doug Parker hardly treats his customers with respect after what’s happened with the Aadvantage program under his “leadership” so that’s rich coming from him. 🙁

  6. Seems like CEOs of most major companies in the US are going out of their way to avoid a tweet storm from the President directed at them. Amazon released a similarly tepid response.

  7. I wonder if the Middle East airlines issue statements like this for Jews or people from Israel (of even those with Israeli passport stamps) when they are denied entry into many of the Muslim countries?

  8. Anybody know what happened to Cathay and JAL availability when searching on

    A week or two ago I was seeing tons of space from NYC or BOS to Asia, now I see absolutely nothing. Did something happen?

  9. @Roger what exactly is unconstitutional about the EO? Since when does the constitution apply to non-American citizens outside of US soil?

  10. On a completely different topic:
    “A woman has filed a complaint with German police alleging she was told to squeeze her breast at airport security to prove she was lactating… She said police at Frankfurt Airport were suspicious because she was carrying a breast pump but travelling without her baby… after her carry-on bag, which contained her breast pump, went through the X-ray machine, she was taken aside for questioning.
    ‘[They had] an incredulous tone. ‘You are breastfeeding? Then where is your baby? ‘ Ms Bose said the officers did not seem to believe her when she insisted the device was a breast pump… Inside the room, the police officer asked her to prove she was lactating, claimed Ms Bose. ‘She asked me to open up my blouse and show her my breast…. She wanted me to show her by hand-expressing a little.’ ” – BBC

  11. The CEO can say what he likes. Doesn’t stop flight attendants from kicking off passengers just because they’re brown

  12. Lucky,

    I know you don’t moderate, and I appreciate that, but like allowing white supremacist comments on this blog like Abe’s is kind of gross.

  13. @Ian The US constitution, by and large, constraints the actions of the US government. Some parts of the constitution have been interpreted by the courts as only applying to interactions with US citizens, while others apply to actions of the US government in territory under the control of the US, and yet other parts of the constitution have been held to constrain the federal government universally. LPRs of the US (that is to say, green card holders), are a special group of non-citizens that are given certain additional rights by law. Sure, the President has virtually unlimited power regarding the admission of foreign nationals with no status under US law. The constitutional difficulty is where the EO targeted those, like LPRs, who have already been given status under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

  14. So…the AA CEO is basically saying they will be as respectful as possible when they refuse to let banned persons board their flights to the US. I suppose that is something to strive for. How does this order NOT go against their interests as a global airline?

  15. I am having trouble understanding a couple issues here.
    A. How many travelers from these 7 countries can possibly be on their way to the USA each day? Is it really enough to cause mass chaos at multiple airports? I highly doubt that.
    B. Who on earth thinks we shouldn’t be looking closer at who is coming from these 7 countries? We live in dangerous times where there are a significant number of people who wish us harm.
    C. Does no one realize that everyone who was detained and questioned actually were passed and allowed to enter the USA???

  16. @ John M. — I’m not sure if you’re actually unclear on the details, but if it helps:

    A. Many, particularly green card holders from Iran who have lived here for 30+ years, medical professionals, students, businessmen, etc. It’s not just people coming to DisneyWorld. And because this was implemented so thoughtlessly, CBP was having to make “judgment calls,” which was leading to fun things like a five year old American being kept from their mother for hours in handcuffs. Not normal operations by any stretch.

    B. No one, but that’s not what this was about. You can’t just fly to the US on a whim like we can to other countries — we already look at people closely. There are significant amounts of paperwork involved for even a tourist visa, and these people had already been screened and approved.

    C. That’s not true. Many were deported, permanent residents of the US (with jobs and homes and families here) weren’t allowed to board flights. Despite court orders, people are still being detained at many airports.

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