American Airlines re-launched AA.com this week (at least I think it was this week), and it’s a vast improvement over the last iteration of the site (which had been around for 8 years or so). The web has evolved quite a bit in that time, but American’s site has not.
The site certainly looks much cleaner than before, but it still suffers from a massive amount of links from the homepage. It appears they’ve taken many/most/all of the links that were in the left navigation and moved much of that to the top of the page. There are more than 70 main links off the homepage from the dropdown menus, a number which seems excessive (and is likely due to every part of the company wanting a link off the homepage to their area).
Also a bit disappointing is that they have given the “book a cruise” option more prominent space than Check Flight Status, despite that far, far more people will check flight status than book a cruise.
The long and the short is that American is a large organization, and with that, there are a huge number of stakeholders. Given that, you end up with a homepage that, while cleaned up, looks like it was trying to give equal footing to a far-too-large number of things. Many other airlines trim down their navigation (see JetBlue) to make it as functional as possible.
And it’s worth noting here that they have made the page not too dissimilar to the re-design proposed in Fast Company here that got an AA employee fired. Interesting to note that the AA employee had responded to the proposed design saying, in short, that the re-design looked great but that it didn’t take all stakeholders into account. The design we see now looks like just that mix: similar to the design proposed, and mucked up with every possible option so no one in the company had their feelings hurt.