Saturday, May 3, 2008

Boycott American Airlines

Yes, it sounds crazy, but in Boston at least it shouldn't be an idle threat. The skycaps at Boston's Logan Airport recently won a judgment in federal court of about $325,000 against the airline. But it appears now American is fighting back.

In September, 2005, American started imposing a $2-a-bag fee and some customers were reluctant to tip above that. The result was that the skycaps lost a considerable amount of income, and they sued. A jury agreed that the new system was unfairly weighted toward the airline. Some skycaps said they had earned as much as $200 a day in tips.

But now the airline, after losing in court and looking vengeful and petty, has banned tipping altogether. American even has posted signs outside the terminal at Logan advising arriving passengers who check bags at curbside that tipping is verboten and that any skycap accepting gratuities, no matter how small, could lose his job. And American is monitoring the skycaps closely to assure the policy is followed to the letter. It should be noted here that the policy is in effect IN BOSTON ONLY.

So, I wrote a nasty e-mail to the airline and used a choice four-letter word to express my anger. Now it's time for some hardball. I am urging anyone who reads this to book flights on any other carrier. Let American see revenue drop and then decide that depriving a few skycaps a few extra dollars a day is both smart corporate policy and good public relations.

I hope the spin doctors at AMR are up to their armpits in extra work trying to make this seem logical and fair. Good luck to 'em.

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