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We care about you. But your miles are expiring soon.

On April 16, I received an email from American Airlines with a link to a video featuring CEO Doug Parker talking about all the ways the airline is caring for customers, team members and the communities they serve throughout the COVID-19 situation.

“American is committed to keeping you updated and we look forward to welcoming you onboard when the time is right for you.”

Yesterday, I received a notice from American Airlines frequent flyer program informing me that my miles were going to expire in August and inviting me to purchase miles, purchase a vacation package, rent a car, participate in AAdvantage Dining…you get the picture. 

To rub salt on my wound, I had booked an AA flight months ago to Charleston, SC for a dear friend’s birthday celebration that had to be cancelled because of COVID-19. 

This is not a personal rant (okay, maybe a little) about me potentially losing my miles. It is a shaking my head moment at how this can happen. A company that puts its CEO front and center talking to consumers about all they are doing, flooding its social media pages with pictures honoring front line heroes, and yet, an automated message gets sent to a customer who would LOVE to fly, but can’t. I don’t need to rent a car, I can’t dine out and I don’t need to shop more right now.

I’m hoping it was an oversight – it wouldn’t make it right, but more forgivable than if American Airlines was truly not considering exceptions to their frequent flier program during this time.

Companies, cross-functional leaders, heads of business units…every single program and communication that touches the customer should reflect a company’s overarching commitment and position during a time of crisis or change. 

What’s the lesson? ALIGNMENT. Companies, cross-functional leaders, heads of business units…every single program and communication that touches the customer should reflect a company’s overarching commitment and position during a time of crisis or change. 


#brandreputation#brandvalues#crisiscommunication#tonedeaf#strategiccommunications#customerservice#walkthetalk#oops#leadershipcommunication


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© 2020 Cheryl Dixon 

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