In a world of so many press releases trumpeting “so what” new technical innovations from airlines, it was nice to see one that stood out from the crowd. This presser has the obligatory canned quotes from American Airlines execs such as CIO Monte Ford and MD AA Interactive Marketing Rick Elieson, but then here is where it got interesting.

“The AA [Android] app provides all of your pertinent travel information in a way that is simple, yet comprehensive,” said Scott Higgins, an AAdvantage Executive Platinum member who tested the app.

“This is a huge help to manage my crazy travel demands,” said Matthew C. Tabisz, also an AAdvantage Executive Platinum member and among the 750 who tested the technology.

I assume these are real people, so this is a great way of really illustrating that the new app was developed in conjunction with the intended user base, and not in isolation of them. The beauty of this approach has many facets:

  1. AA.com get a better product assuming they listened to the feedback of the 750 testers
  2. The 750 testers now feel even more loyal to the airline as they were made to feel like their opinion was valuable to AA
  3. Others reading this probably now feel that AA actually listens to their customers and they have a higher opinion of AA as a result
  4. Final small benefit, people like me run with the story whereas without that angle I probably would have ignored it.

The job of PR is becoming much tougher in this world of instant response and a 24 hour news cycle, so congratulations to whoever put that press release together. Only one small criticism: There is no contact info at the bottom of the press release, so I’m not sure how AA maximize the coverage if anyone wants to write a more in depth piece on what American Airlines is doing in mobile?

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