American Airlines Introduces New Services for Top Customers

In response to poor customer satisfaction ratings in the wake of extensive service cuts made this summer, Dallas-based American Airlines has announced a series of service enhancements for its top customers. Effective today and rolling out throughout October, first- and business class travelers, along with AAdvantage elite status members, AAirpass customers and full-fare coach passengers, will enjoy special privileges as part of the airline's new PriorityAAccess program.

Among those privileges, according to American Airlines: Passengers will have access to express check-in services, express security screening lanes at airports where they're available and priority boarding lanes at the gate.

"American Airlines greatly appreciates the loyalty of our customers, and we have been working hard to deliver the product features and recognition we know they value and deserve," Mark Mitchell, American's managing director of customer experience, said in a statement. "PriorityAAccess benefits provide a differentiated experience for our top customers at the ticket counter, at security checkpoints and at the gate."

American Airlines became one of several airlines charging fees for checked bags earlier this summer and has since announced several service cuts at major American airports thanks to rising fuel costs. In a June 2008 J.D. Power and Associates survey, it ranked fifth among eight traditional North American airlines, behind Alaska Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Air Canada, but ahead of US Airways, Northwest Airlines and United Airlines.