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Today at American Airlines, employees are engaged in an all-out battle to win the coveted Customer Cup, which is an internal program that recognizes teams across our network for achieving dramatic improvements in customer service as measured by quarterly customer-survey results. I want to tell you about this program because it is a tangible demonstration of how we are encouraging employees to make material changes to the way they provide customer service during your travel experience with American Airlines.

The Customer Cup recognizes local airport-employee teams whose customer-service improvements were the most significant in six key areas that you, our customers, have told us matter to your travel experience: gate interactions, the boarding experience, delays and delay management, onboard interactions, baggage handling and baggage resolution. Winning teams earn companywide bragging rights and a celebration in their honor.

I have many examples of extraordinary work and results, but I want to highlight two Cup winners from the second quarter of 2010: Miami International Airport and Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. These stations have shown considerable improvements in a number of areas over time, and we are proud to recognize such outstanding employees.

Miami, the only three-peat winner of the Customer Cup, is a critical airport in our network. Miami’s successes are due in large part to the team’s concentration on customer feedback, which they use to make continual improvements. Employees encourage one another to deliver information and services to enhance your experience at the airport gates, ticket counters and behind the scenes by using innovative technology such as YADA (Your Assistance Delivered Anywhere), American’s handheld unit that enables airport agents to come out from behind the counter and provide real-time information to customers.

Likewise, our Port-au-Prince station is making big strides in improving customer satisfaction and has seen a dramatic reduction in customer complaints because our employees are squarely focused on meeting our customers’ expectations. To accomplish the change in our customers’ interaction in Port-au-Prince, airport employees implemented changes ranging from better-organized check-in lines and the installation of new self-service machines to consolidating security checkpoints and revamping the terminal — all significant efforts to provide a better airport experience.

The dedication of our employees in Haiti is extra-special. Following the Haiti earthquake, our employees made every effort to get our operations back up and running amid monumental challenges. Even as I write this column, 50 percent of our employees and their families live in temporary shelters due to the earthquake’s impact. Our employees in Port-au-Prince have faced extreme calamity since the earthquake, both on the job and personally, but they have not wavered from doing everything they can to provide a quality travel experience, especially at a time when it is so critical for family members and friends to fly in and out of Haiti. I am sure you understand why we consider our employees in Haiti to be among our most significant heroes.

It is rewarding to be part of a movement that focuses employees on working together for one overarching goal: to deliver exceptional service. This is critical to me because I have come to believe there is no such thing as a company’s interaction with its customers. Rather, your travel experience with us is defined by your collective interactions with each employee with whom you come in contact. We would love to hear what you have to say about our airline and our employees you meet during your travels. Please write us at www.aa.com/customerrelations. And thank you for choosing American Airlines. (Editor’s note: Since the inception of the Customer Cup program, in the second quarter of 2008, there have been 34 unique cities recognized for success in enhancing the Customer Experience at American Airlines.)

Craig S. Kreeger
Senior Vice President – Customer Experience
American Airlines