American Airline’s woes

i have a friend who works for American Airlines, and he was telling me recently about the huge problems going on in the airline industry. Then i saw this article on American Airlines current woes, and it got me thinking about how crossed-up most American business thinking is.

According to this article, the “bottom line” is:

The bottom line: American Airlines, once the nation’s largest carrier, has fallen behind competitors because of high costs locked in by not seeking bankruptcy.

So i guess what business advice you’re supposed to take away from this is, when there’s a chance for you to declare bankruptcy, go for it!

Strange advice, i think. 🙂

Worldview would say that declaring bankruptcy is not the cause of successfully renegotiating your labor costs and/or thereby making you more financially solvent in the future. In fact, declaring bankruptcy and not paying back money that you borrowed is the cause to experience more problems in the future. So what gives?

It’s the same thing we’re always talking about–you have to account for the fact that it takes time for a seed to grow into something. I have a friend who bought a house in Arizona, she really wants trees in her yard to protect her house from the heat from the sun, so she’s asking everyone “What is the fastest growing tree?” Indeed.

So if it takes time for the seed planted by American Airlines fiscal responsibility to grow, why aren’t the seeing the results now?

There are a couple of things that affect how quickly a seed ripens, just like planting regular seeds. How much sunlight is it getting? Water? How is the soil?

Similarly, is the plant protected? For example, i have another friend who loves to plant rosebushes. He planted his first set of rosebushes and got to enjoy them for exactly one day. Then what happened? Deer ate all the buds.

So you have to be careful with you seeds, and make sure they get what they need. One way to protect them and make sure they ripen is to get rid of what my teachers called “blockers.”

What are blockers? Basically, they’re seeds that would ripen as the opposite of what you want. So for example, if you give you friend $5, but your partner asks you if you have any money and you say “no” because you’re holding on to that last $5 you have for a bag of your favorite cheese doodles, what you did just then was plant a seed for a blocker to your earlier act of giving.

Then you think there’s no result to giving, and you should just keep your money for yourself, and fight other people for it, declare bankruptcy when you have to, and keep those worker negotiations on hold for 17 years.

Or maybe there’s another way.

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2 Responses to American Airline’s woes

  1. Per Flood says:

    Great article! First time I have heard of blockers and it makes perfect sense. I used to work for AA for almost 17 years and I think they will find a way.

  2. ericbrinkman says:

    17 years! wow, that’s a long time.

    i have high hopes for them too; i think that they did struggle not to declare bankruptcy can (and hopefully will) turn out in their favor…


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