American Airlines’ Bankruptcy Impacts Its Reputation in a Couple Different Ways

News yesterday that American Airlines’ parent company AMR filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy prompted lots of questions about frequent flier miles (answered in an email sent to customers; we got one), purchased tickets, and timing. There are also questions about AA’s branding and reputation to consider.

American’s history is filled with firsts: The first to fly a plane that could make a business of carrying passengers; the first to introduce flight attendant training; the first to introduce the Sabre ticketing system that now makes up the guts of Travelocity. USA Today calls the bankruptcy filing a “blemish” despite the fact that the company actually has enough money to weather a bankruptcy and perhaps even set it up to acquire US Airways.

The company is using all of the channels at its disposal to keep customers abreast of the bankruptcy’s implications — a statement published in the Journal, a dedicated web page, and its Facebook page, which also had a clip from the company’s CEO, Tom Horton, addressing the Chapter 11 filing.

But according to Ad Age, the bankruptcy could derail the immediate plans for a rebrand, which would be important to maintaining its reputation and perceived viability over the long course of the bankruptcy.

“For the time being, there is likely to be little new activity for any of American’s agencies except for public relations agency of record Weber Shandwick, which could get involved in crisis management and reassuring the customer base that their flights and frequent-flier miles are safe,” the story says.