Categorized | Airlines

American to offer new first-class ‘turndown service’…

Posted on 30 August 2011


At a time it’s tough to get a meal or even a pillow on a plane, American Airlines is bringing back the white-glove treatment of yesteryear with “turndown service” and other perks for some first-class passengers.

  • An American Airlines jet taxis at Miami International Airport. 

    An American Airlines jet taxis at Miami International Airport.



The luxe service starts Thursday for first-class passengers flying between the U.S. and Heathrow Airport on selected flights. Passengers in the business-class cabin also will get some high-end goodies, including duvets and pillows.


Starting in October, the new services will be available on select flights between the U.S. and all international destinations.


American is counting on the stepped-up luxury treatment to help it stand out in the fierce competition for premium passengers. Those passengers pay the most for their seats and are vital to an industry that’s still recovering from a steep decline in travel during the economic downturn.


“American’s new suite of premium-class amenities is another example of how we are working to differentiate the experience for our premium customers and deliver what they value most as they travel our global network,” says Rob Friedman, American’s vice president, marketing. “With these new products, including the new turndown service, we’re offering a selection of luxury amenities that provide the comfort our premium customers have asked for, and that are not available onboard other U.S. carriers.”


Steve Lott, spokesman for the Air Transport Association, which represents most of the major U.S. carriers, says, “The airline industry is extremely competitive, and carriers often look to differentiate themselves through their onboard product and services on both domestic and international routes.


“Even throughout a challenging economy, airlines have continued to invest in their onboard product.”


American’s new amenities will put it in step with many of its foreign competitors, says Bryan Saltzburg, general manager of TripAdvisor Flights.


“It’s bringing them more in line with almost every other major international carrier that’s been providing pajamas and turndown service for years in the first-class cabin,” Saltzburg says. “So, if anything, it just makes them more competitive against other carriers … for first-class customers.”


American’s business-class additions, Saltzburg says, will help the airline catch up to its U.S. counterparts. Delta, for instance, already offers such business-class comforts as oversized pillows and comforters on flights to and from London.


“It makes them align more clearly with international carriers and even domestic carriers that are already providing some of those same services,” Saltzburg says.

Source: USA Today

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