American Airlines “Late Nate”

“Late Nate” is a new spot in the now six-year-old American Airlines “We know why you fly” campaign. The commercial tells the engaging story of Nate, who has been congenitally late since birth. (Even in delivery, he took his time.) Then we see him as a kid and a man, running after buses and trains that have already left, etc. It’s nicely written and well paced. And as with the rest of the spots, it’s well shot. (Directed by Jim Jenkins of O Positive.)

But it also labors under the same weakness as the rest of the series. Namely, it seems to come from some parallel universe (or parallel economy) where: a) your airline is so tuned in that it makes special accommodations for your personal happiness, and b) that a dude who has such problems with lateness is not only still employed, but flying around the world in business class. See, although present-day Nate’s propensity is still with him, he now no longer jeopardizes his job, because when checking in at the airport for a business flight to London with a colleague, he can take advantage of Priority AAccess, which allows him to jump long security lines at the airport.

Here’s my first problem with the solution: It pisses me off that someone like Nate is flying business class. What does he do, and what sort of company enables him to do this? Of course, being able to jump security lines would be an enormous help to all the travelers out there who are always on time but obviously have no control over sudden backups. But then again, most of those people are probably traveling coach, and have to resign themselves to living in this current airline universe, not the American Airlines fantasy. That’s where one is even more jammed in, unfed, overcharged and delayed than ever. Not that I’m bitter, or anything. –Barbara Lippert