The Divergent Evolutions of Two North American Airlines
The continued bungling of customer service, public relations, and economic efficiency is leading to the downfall of America's premier airlines and foreign competitors will be there to pick up the pieces, if things don't change.
The American Airlines announcement about decreasing legroom on their planes have spurred widespread criticism across all social media platforms. While some are reserving judgement until they can experience the seats, most people are deriding the decision, and rightfully so. American Airlines seems to have driven their car off a cliff recently. Their once valuable and acclaimed AAdvantage program has been abandoned by many frequent fliers due to award ticket devaluations, and now the shrinking legroom in coach will probably put them close to on par with another Dallas-based airline in most peoples' minds: the upstart budget airliner, Spirit. Frankly, Southwest may be the premier Dallas-based airline soon, at American's current trajectory.
WestJet, however, a partner of American Airlines in the One World Alliance, has decided to shed its image as the Southwest Airlines of Canada to become a global airline! Of course, Southwest has recently expanded its flight list to include international destinations, so maybe WestJet is still following in Southwest's footsteps. WestJet, however, may be taking even bigger international steps than Southwest and expanding its footprint to the other side of the globe.
The WestJet expansion to international travel is bad news for American Airlines as well, as it will likely poach some US customers looking for cheap international flights. But this is part of a bigger problem for American and other US airlines, like United. The lack of competition from foreign airlines on domestic flights has led to an inferior airlines in the United States. Anyone who has flown overseas on Asian or Middle Eastern airlines has certainly bent your ear on this topic. Hopefully the US-based carriers can turn things around, but for now, it seems like the US's premier airlines are headed the wrong direction, and foreign airlines like WestJet might take their place.