We started by auditing and printing out many of our designs, both old and new. Laying the flows side by side on a board, we could see where and how the experiences were breaking and where we needed to start making changes. We figured that the best way to begin was by tackling issues head on. Each of us focused on a screen or product area to redesign, And we established a few principles to guide us with these individual designs:
American Airlines' wastewater treatment plant recycles water used at the base to wash aircraft, process rinse water tanks, and irrigate landscape. That alone has saved almost $1 million since 2002. In addition to that, American Airlines has also won the award for the reduction of hazardous waste that saved them $229,000 after a $2,000 investment. A bar code system is used to track hazardous waste. It has led to reduction of waste by 50 percent since 2000.
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Designers were also excited about the system. It enables product reviews to focus on the actual concepts and experiences of a design, rather than padding, colors and type choices. The DLS provides us with a shared understanding of our visual style, and streamlines contributions to a single system. This system also enables all of us to prototype and experiment with ideas in high fidelity faster and at a lower cost.
There was no physical Admirals Club until shortly after the opening of LaGuardia Airport. During the airport's construction, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia had an upper-level lounge set aside for press conferences and business meetings. At one such press conference, he noted that the entire terminal was being offered for lease to airline tenants; after a reporter asked whether the lounge would be leased as well, LaGuardia replied that it would, and a vice president of AA immediately offered to lease the premises. The airline then procured a liquor license and began operating the lounge as the "Admirals Club" in 1939.
Prior to beginning this design sprint, we had already created a basic style guide, that we called the foundation. This foundation loosely defined our typography, colors, icons, spacing and information architecture. The foundation proved essential for guiding our work in a unified direction while allowing room for us to individually explore creative design solutions. This way we felt that we were all working together, towards the same idea. Reviewing our collective work at the end of each day, we began to see patterns emerge. We course-corrected when necessary, and started defining our standardized components.
American Airlines baggage fees apply to specific itineraries and reflect the same policies as US Airways. The fees associated with checked bags are determined by the travel destinations, as some locations charge for all checked luggage, while others only charge for the second or additional checked baggage. Additionally, bags exceeding the size or weight guidelines may incur additional baggage fees.
The rigidity can also cause drama at the airport, where it can produce uneven customer service, as agents may close out flights before connecting passengers arrive. Isom said he understands the criticism, but said in many cases keeping operational integrity helps more customers. American has 6,700 daily flights, and sometimes it’s easier to put passengers on the next one, rather than hold doors open.
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