American Airlines’ radical plan to reinvent business travel

The airline is betting against the traditional business of business travel, as 60% of its corporate deals aren’t hitting their goals

Jun 6, 2023

Gone are the days when bankers and consultants spent Monday through Thursday on the road, dutifully booking trips through clunky company portals. More than three years after the pandemic began, business travelers are taking some meetings at home and mixing work and leisure travel in new ways.

Key takeaways

Rather than woo companies with extra perks and price cuts, American is diminishing the role of relationships with some corporate travel agencies and customers, and is offering fewer corporate contracts and shrinking the size of discounts it offers to some companies;

The airline has slashed more than 40% of its 350-person sales team, which mostly handles corporate accounts and travel agencies, according to people familiar with the matter;

The airline is betting it can leverage its vast network and its loyalty program to keep travelers coming. If the pivot works, the moves could save American millions of dollars in travel agent commissions and corporate discounts.

Get the full story at The Wall Street Journal (subscribers only) and PYMNTS

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