Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Disappointment is at the core of life.

It also finds its place at the core of airline-passenger relations.

Somehow, airlines seem to disappoint passengers in increasing increments and passengers, well, just accept it. 

Or go to Facebook and Twitter to complain.

The latest little annoyance, though, is being felt by American Airlines frequent flyers. 

It used to be, you see, that AA Advantage Gold members could exercise their gold fingers and secure a seat in Main Cabin Extra -- the slightly more legroom part of Economy Class -- for a 50 percent discount.

Or hope that some Main Cabin Extra seats would be available for free at check-in.

There will be no more 50 percent discount.

Which, quite naturally, has led some Gold members to become flinty. 

In the comments section of View From the Wing, for example, words such as outrageous were branded. 

The issue isn't merely that another perk has bitten the dust of saving money. It's that it's being taken away from September 5. 

Why on earth would you remove a benefit some way through the year? After all, there are those who actually pay to become Gold members.

I asked American and a spokeswoman told me:

We are pleased to provide complimentary access to Main Cabin Extra seats to our Gold elites within 24 hours of travel. We understand this is a hard change for our elites. As we enhance the onboard experience and increase the value of the onboard product, we made the difficult decision to limit discounts from certain customer groups.

Of course there's a temptation to translate. I'll give it a go:

Look, you ingrates. We're now serving complimentary alcoholic drinks in Main Cabin Extra. You think we're going to do that because we have hearts of gold? No. Our hearts are platinum. So we have to find a way to pay for it somehow and we thought this would be the least painful way of doing it.

These little skirmishes will continue to continue, because airlines need to squeeze more profit wherever they can. 

And remember, American is the airline whose CEO, Doug Parker, promised it would never make a loss again.

At the same time, doing it in the middle of year will rankle.

So if you see a disgruntled person sitting in Main Cabin Extra, it might be worth asking: "Hey, you're not a Gold member who paid full price for this seat, are you?"

On second thoughts, not a good idea.

Published on: Jun 10, 2018
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