American has credit cards issued by both Barclays and Citi, and the two issuers have different channels through which they’re allowed to market cards. For example, Barclays has exclusive rights to advertising inflight, while Citi has exclusive rights to advertise in Admirals Clubs.
So you should hear a credit card pitch on just about every American flight, because it’s clearly quite successful for them — they have a captive audience that’s likely to be interested. Flight attendants are even paid $50 for each successful application, which is why they’re so motivated to sell credit cards.
How American Flight Attendants Get Creative With Credit Card Pitches
The one thing is that over time credit card pitches have gotten more and more aggressive onboard flights:
- Many flight attendants go “off script,” and even make claims that are downright inaccurate and misleading
- Many flight attendants make multiple credit card pitches, even adding in an FAQ after the first announcement, claiming they’ve received questions about the offer
- Many flight attendants will pass through the cabin multiple times handing out applications, and when passengers deplane will even stand at the door “fanning” the applications
- Many flight attendants will announce that they have a very limited supply of applications, and after passing through the cabin once, will announce they only have X number of applications left
Anyway, it looks like American’s credit card pitches will soon be changing.
American Management Adds Restrictions On Pitches
Chicago Business Journal reports that American Airlines has issued a memo to flight attendants regarding inflight credit card pitches.
Management has advised employees of the following regarding their credit card pitches:
- The presentation is to be made during the flight at cruising altitude, prior to the start of descent
- The presentation is only to be made between 8AM and 9PM, and not on flights with major delays
- The presentation must be no more than one minute
- The presentation can only be read directly from the script, and flight attendants can’t add in their own language, and can’t provide false or misleading information
- Regarding the tone, the announcement should be read in a friendly, confident and enthusiastic tone, and at a pace that all passengers can clearly understand
- Only one announcement and one trip down the aisle with applications should be made per flight
- Disinterested passengers shouldn’t be disturbed, and no pressure should be placed on any passengers to fill out an application
My guess is that this was motivated both by complaints from passengers, and also due to compliance concerns from Barclays. Compliance (and sharing accurate information) is a big concern in the credit card industry, and I can’t count the number of times I heard flight attendants making misleading claims.
It will be interesting to see whether there’s a noticeable change with these pitches…