As I first wrote about in January, American was planning on introducing free alcoholic drinks in Main Cabin Extra as of this spring. Airlines are increasingly trying to improve their extra legroom economy options, both to appease elites given that upgrades are getting tougher to clear, and also to increase the revenue they earn from buy-ups.
As part of these improvements, American was planning on introducing complimentary beer, wine, and spirits, as well as introducing dedicated overhead bins and preferred boarding, in Main Cabin Extra.
It’s now the spring, but American still hasn’t introduced free alcoholic drinks in Main Cabin Extra. What’s the delay? The always knowledgeable JonNYC has an update, per a memo from the airline:
In January, we announced an enhanced Main Cabin Extra (MCE) service that would begin this Spring on widebody, narrowbody and regional fleets. After hearing from many of you following this initial announcement, we decided to take MCE on the road with listening sessions and roundtable discussions in DFW, MIA, CLT, and PHX and at CQ sessions at FSU. At each location, we brought team members from Revenue Management, Policies and Procedures, Food and Beverage, and Corporate Planning to meet with flight attendants and directly answer your questions and concerns.
First, thank you for your feedback and suggestions. We are now planning to begin this enhanced service Summer 2018. In the coming weeks, we’ll share more information to ensure you have all the resources necessary to easily identify and provide the enhanced service.
So as you can see, American will now be introducing free alcoholic drinks in Main Cabin Extra as of summer 2018.
I’m still not really sure I get what the delay is all about here? On one hand I can appreciate airlines increasingly involving frontline employees in decision making, but I can’t really make sense of the things that they have listening sessions about.
It’s like how United recently had over “listening sessions” after their controversial attempt to change employee bonuses. What emerged from those 50+ listening sessions? “When it comes to operational performance, you want to be rewarded as a team for what is truly a team accomplishment.” Did they really need 50 listening sessions to figure that out?
Similarly, I’m not exactly sure what the listening sessions here were about, and how they resulted in a delay in the implementation of free drinks in Main Cabin Extra. I could see them having these sessions about their ridiculous policy of letting people self-upgrade to Main Cabin Extra, but what does that have to do with introducing free drinks?
Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s a lot of value in these discussions, but it sure seems to me like they should be about much higher level stuff, like the direction of the company, rather than something as simple as offering free drinks in Main Cabin Extra.
If you were looking forward to free drinks in Main Cabin Extra, it will be a few more months before that happens…