If you are a regular reader of a few of the major travel/points blogs, it would be understandable if you thought two things: (1) every two or three days, there is an AMAZING credit card deal you would be a fool not to sign up for, and (2) American Airlines is the most amazing air carrier in the world, all of its planes have brand new lie-flat state of the art seats, and that its elites are treated like royalty. Neither of these things are true.
As I’ve said before, I generally avoid American Airlines. I’ve had bad experiences flying it, I find its loyalty program useless for all but its highest tiered passengers, and I think its moves to announce a “New American” while in bankruptcy and merger discussions border on breach of fiduciary duty ,and are more about Tom Horton wanting to get as much in as possible before he is shown the door/golden parachute. Of late, I’d been amused by American’s delusional self-promotion as to the “New American.” But I’ve particularly grown frustrated with certain bloggers who have become extensions of American’s very good PR machine, and in my mind lost any shred of credibility that they might have.
First, I’ll acknowledge that every blog is different, and thus, what a reader should expect will be different from every blog. My blog, for example, is primarily a personal blog. I don’t write it to make money. It is mostly for my friends, family, and people I’ve met throughout the world traveling—and for myself. Other blogs are targeted at much broader audiences though – businesses aiming to make money off the “advice” they give to others about flying. For your advice to be worth anything, though, it should reflect what the average reader can reasonably expect. There is an inherent tension here for certain bloggers, though, as they never fly coach, only fly airlines and stay in hotels in which they have top-tier status, and have access to perks and customer service that you and I do not. When they do a trip report, it isn’t a trip report you can model your behavior on. (And I also would love to see their tax returns, as I don’t think putting pictures up of your flight for a weekend drinking and clubbing makes the trip a “business expense.”)
Want to know about American’s new business class on its 777-300ERs? It will be easy to find on google, because American gave free flights to dozens of bloggers to blog about their experiences. Several of them accepted the flight, and some of them didn’t but used points or cash to fly them anyway. I argue, though, that it is irrelevant whether you accepted it or not. The fact that an airline is offering you a free flight, or special treatment, itself will have a subconscious (or conscious) impact on your impression of the airline. And even if you pay for your flight yourself after its been offered to you for free, you can be sure that someone from corporate knows what flight you are on and is looking out for you, especially since some of the flights seem to have been packed with bloggers. For a slightly different perspective on this, check out Gary’s post here. I would say, though, that the New York Times would never publish a “review” of a product where the journalist had been tweeting with the company’s PR department for his entire flight. There are some bloggers who I just don’t read anymore, since I can’t tell what is objective, and what is an attempt to ingratiate more with airlines or to drum up credit card business. (Don’t get me started on summaries of destinations which are simply one paragraph blurbs about hotels and sights that the author has not visited or stayed at.)
The reviews of the 777-300 business class have s...Read More