I’ve done some more thinking about the American Airlines free ticket promotion and here’s what I’ve come up with:
It’s brilliant. The only thing AA (and the other majors) has going for it, frankly, is its massive route structure. You’ll never be able to fly to Manaus, Brazil, on JetBlue (probably). This promotion plays to that strength.
It’s ridiculous, stupid, and biblically vengeful. What exactly is the point of this promotion? To get people not to fly JetBlue? OK, perhaps people during this 3 month period will switch from JetBlue to AA. Great. But then what? Will AA build loyalty? They’ve removed “more room in coach” from the planes on these routes. They don’t have the new-and-improved seat-back TV and movie system that JetBlue has. They don’t have JetBlue’s frequency. So what will happen? Won’t people just go and use their free tickets on yield-diluting international travel (that they may already have had planned) and shun AA in the future? To me, the biggest question is this: After this promotion, why would you choose AA over JetBlue?