American Airlines has decided to change its policy after a long dispute with travel advisors. This shift, announced by American CEO Robert Isom, ends the airline's plans to limit loyalty points and restrict content from Global Distribution Systems (GDS) for certain agencies. 

The announcement was made at the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) conference, marking a significant turnaround in the airline's strategy.

American Airlines Revamps Policies, Wins Back Travel Advisor Trust

(Photo : Alfred GF on Pexels)

American Airlines Reverses Controversial Policies

The conflict began over a year ago when American Airlines started to pull its fares from traditional GDS channels. Instead, they promoted their New Distribution Capability (NDC) technology. 

However, this move was not well received by travel agencies because the NDC technology was difficult to use, especially when managing bookings. This led to ASTA campaigning vigorously against American Airlines' policies.

According to Travel Weekly, the situation worsened when American Airlines announced that only "preferred" agencies, which had a higher share of NDC bookings, would earn AAdvantage points and miles for their clients. 

This policy affected agencies like Prestige Travel Leaders, where President Dave Hershberger noted that about 65% of their sales were to corporate clients who highly value frequent flyer points.

The backlash from both travel agencies and their clients was strong. Agencies reported potential job cuts due to lost business, while clients expressed their preference for earning miles regardless of where they booked their flights. 

This feedback prompted ASTA to push back hard against the airline's new rules.

American Airlines' reversal has been welcomed by the travel advisor community. Many believe this could be a step towards mending relationships and rebuilding trust. 

However, concerns remain about the future of NDC technology development and the reduced sales and support teams at American Airlines. 

Despite these challenges, travel advisors are hopeful that American Airlines' commitment to addressing these issues will restore their long-standing partnership.

Related Article: American Airlines Attempts to Prevent Strike with Wage Proposal

American Airlines Pilots Consider Switching Unions

A group of American Airlines pilots is pushing to switch their representation from the Allied Pilots Association (APA) to the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).

This new group, known as AA Pilots for ALPA, has gathered over 8,219 support cards from pilots, surpassing the needed 50% of the approximately 16,000 American Airlines pilots to call for a union vote, as reported by Forbes.

ALPA is the largest pilots' union in the world, representing more than 77,000 pilots across North America. It is known for its strong presence in Washington D.C. and its influence on aviation legislation. 

In contrast, American pilots are currently represented by APA, which requires a two-thirds majority to decide on merging with another union. A previous board vote on this issue resulted in a deadlock.

The spokesman for AA Pilots for ALPA emphasized the importance of demonstrating a strong majority to show unity and strengthen their position. 

The movement for change began in earnest in 2022, and the group has reported a 70% success rate in gathering support from pilots in airport terminals.

American Airlines' pilots are now faced with a decision that could reshape their representation in critical industry discussions, with a potential union vote looming as the next significant step.

Read Also: American Airlines CEO Demands Boeing Step Up Amid Production Issues