A lot of people take issue with the sales pitches that American Airlines flight attendants make for credit cards. Let me give a slightly different take.
For the record, yes obviously I also make money through this blog through credit card affiliate marketing, though I’d say that’s unrelated here (if anything, one could argue I’d be biased towards bashing them, since they’re competition). 😉
American flight attendants really sell credit cards
Co-brand credit cards are big business for airlines, and airlines have a pretty captive audience at the gate, onboard flights, etc.
Different airlines advertise their co-brand credit cards in different ways at the airport, though no doubt American is the pushiest when it comes to making onboard credit card announcements. It’s something I see complaints about all the time online, though let me take a slightly different perspective.
I’ll be honest, at first they sort of annoyed me — more often than not the information isn’t quite accurate, the announcements are intrusive, and often it gets in the way of service.
But in life you have the choice of looking at things positively or negatively, so let me take an unpopular perspective and say that I sort of dig these pitches, at least the one I heard today.
So, why should you not hate these pitches?
They can be entertaining
Now when flight attendants start the credit card pitch I think to myself “I can’t wait to hear what they’re going to say today.”
On a flight this morning I had possibly the most convincing credit card pitch I’ve ever heard. It started with “I’m sure most of you have heard this many times before, so I’ll keep it short.”
She didn’t keep it short.
But my gosh, this lady could sell. After making her initial announcement (which was really convincing and made me want to apply for three more) and passing through the cabin, she announced “ladies and gentlemen, we have 190 passengers, and so far 75 applications have been handed out. We have a very limited quantity they give us for this deal, and we only have five left, so this is your last chance. You don’t want to miss out on this amazing deal. We’ll give you one last chance to get these applications as flight attendants pass through the cabin again.”
She passed through the cabin again, and then returned to business class and yelled “these are the last two, does anyone want them?”
As we exited the plane she was standing there with probably a dozen credit card applications in a “fan.” Rather than saying “goodbye” or “thanks for flying with us,” she said “60,000 bonus miles?”
I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. C’mon folks, it’s sort of funny.
Credit cards greatly supplement flight attendant income
The reality is that flight attendants aren’t very well paid. So this is a new source of income for them, and I’ve heard of some flight attendants who make more from credit card applications than they do from their typical pay.
Obviously this isn’t ideal, but if this makes it more sustainable for people to remain flight attendants, rather than worrying if they can afford to pay rent, then I view it as a net positive.
Credit cards help people travel
Sure, I’d rather people read about how to maximize miles on this blog, but the reality is that for many people these announcements actually open their eyes to miles & points, and it does let them travel better than they otherwise would, and that I’m a fan of.
What I’d like to see…
If American is going to continue with these credit card pitches (which I assume they are), what I’d like to see is American making this part of an overall change in service culture. This is a great opportunity for flight attendants to earn extra money, though it disappoints me how often flight attendants compartmentalize the service.
They’ll be completely rude during the service, and then charming as could be when they’re trying to sell you a credit card.
It would be great if employees could be motivated in such a way that encourages the benefits of being nice all around. Heck, there must be some data suggesting that passengers are more likely to apply for credit cards if they get pre-departure beverages and receive eye contact, no? 😉
Look, I’m not actually a huge fan of flight attendant credit card sales pitches. However, in life you can choose to be annoyed or amused by things, and I’ve started to be amused by these pitches.
Some of them are so outlandish that I can’t help but laugh. I’m all for educating people on the value of miles, and if it helps supplement the income of flight attendants and allows them to greatly increase their income, I’m generally in favor of it.
I certainly wouldn’t want them to eliminate these pitches, because that would represent a pay cut for most flight attendants, and you can bet service would get worse.
I just wish this weren’t so compartmentalized, and that being nice during the flight was a consistent theme, rather than flight attendants just turning on their “happy face” for five minutes while selling credit cards.
What’s your take on American Airlines’ flight attendant credit card pitches?