In the June 21 edition of USA Today/The Forum, an interview with Don Carty, chairman of American Airlines reveals this quote about frequent flyer programs.
“Q: American pioneered frequent flyer programs, and they are becoming more and more hard to use. What’s their future?
A: Their future is substantial. I don’t see any diminishment. In spite of the reported difficulty of people getting seats, it’s still a very good business. We haven’t cut back (on seats). Huge amounts of frequent-flyer (mileage redemption) are in markets such as Hawaii. A disproportionate share of our seats to Hawaii are frequent flyers. If you get on one of our Hawaii flights and ask how many people are there on frequent flyer miles, it’s half the plane. I can’t guarantee that at 5 o’clock Friday evening from LaGuardia you can use your frequent flyer miles, but I can guarantee you’ll get out of LaGuardia over a two or three-day period if you have some flexibility. We invented this program because we wanted to create a reason to be loyal to American. We don’t want to make our best customers mad at us.”