From Dallas/Ft Worth, TX — 12/15/2009
I had always wanted to work for American Airlines, so I was very excited when I got hired. I worked in the Southern Reservation office in Dallas/Ft Worth. The job was tedious, and by the end of the day, after many phone calls, I didn't want to speak another word to anyone. And since I talked on the phone for a living, the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was talk on the phone to anyone.
HOWEVER, I knew when I was hired that it was going to be a phone job in reservations, so it is unfair to complain that I got tired of talking. The training was excellent, and had I wanted to leave the company to work as a travel agent, I could have easily gotten a job, as American Airlines employees were in high demand by the agencies.
Through hard work, I got a perfect score on my annual reviews. I maxed out on salary at 9 years, and when I left the company, after 15 years, I was making approximately 23.00 an hour - not bad for someone without a college education. In addition to my hourly salary, I also received bonuses, and when the company made money, I received profit sharing.
The benefits were well above average. I had excellent health care, and many other benefits that I do NOT receive at my current job. When things were slow, I could look forward to unpaid time off. I also had the option of trading days or giving away shifts. When bidding for vacations, if I didn't get the exact week I wanted, it was never a problem finding people to work for me. People were always looking for hours, and in all my years with AA, I never missed doing something I wanted to do because I had to work. I traded or gave my shift away and got the time off.
The flight benefits were wonderful. After 6 months, I received full, unlimited, flight benefits. I could walk into the Dallas/Ft Worth airport and go to just about anyplace in the world at a fraction of the cost of a paying customer. My airline affiliation allowed me to get great travel discounts on cruises, and those discounts were and are far better than what travel agents receive.
Opportunities were endless. I chose to stay in the reservation function because there was so much flexibility, but many of the people in my training class went on to other areas of the company.
The job itself wasn't always fun, but I never felt that I wasn't compensated fairly. I was fortunate to work for some very fine people. During my tenure with AA, I had just one bad manager. That person didn't last long.
As for the work environment, the Southern Reservation office is a huge facility. Housing probably 3000 agents is not easy. Work stations are close together, and sometimes it can be noisy. The facility itself is a nice building with an onsite cafeteria. When the cafeteria is closed, vending machines are available on both floors of the building.
I can't speak for other areas of the company, but in my function, as tedious as the work sometimes was, I still loved the company. Nothing is perfect, and upper management often times makes decisions that are not popular. However, in this economy, when nearly every major airline has filed for bankruptcy protection - some more than once - overall AA must be doing something right. because they have weathered both the aftermath of 2001 and the current difficult economy without filing bankruptcy. As I watched other airlines crumbling, I worried about my pension and my retirement benefits. I no longer worry about those things because AA is keeping the company on firm financial ground.
I am grateful to this company.