American To Flight Attendants: Let’s Test Not Taking Headphones From Passengers Before Landing

One of the more common pet peeves among American Airlines business class passengers is the tendency for flight attendants to collect headphones an hour or more prior to arrival.

  • On an overnight flight this means that announcements about headphones are disturbing passengers who may still be trying to sleep

  • And it means that passengers can’t continue to use the headphones for the remainder of their flight

American offers expensive Bang & Olufsen headsets and they do not want to lose them. (In 2018 they switched from Bose to Bang & Olufsen.) The practice of collecting headphones dates back to long before US Airways management took over and has been a pet peeve for ages. United doesn’t require this.

Fortunately as JonNYC reports on a great change for American Airlines business class – this week American started a test called “Leave At The Seat” where flight attendants do not demand headphones back prior to landing.

AA: major pet-peeve for some, irrelevant for maybe some others (I guess that's the very nature of a pet-peeve):

Testing -not- violently confiscating B&O headphones from pax before landing! Allowing premium international pax to leave them behind in their seats. pic.twitter.com/DW1CNp6awG

— 🇺🇦 JonNYC 🇺🇦 (@xJonNYC) June 21, 2022

I reached out to American Airlines who confirmed the test and shared that in addition to passenger benefits this will also help crew who will no longer have to go through the collection process.

Instead of collecting headsets flight attendants are supposed to tell customers (one-on-one and not via announcement),

American is constantly exploring new ways of elevatin the onboard experience. One of the wayswe’re doing this is by conducting a test on today’s flight where we will beleaving your headset at your seat for the entire duration of today’s flight, including upon arrival to LHR/GRU.

We politely ask that when we arrive at LHR/GRU, you place the headsets back into the case and leave it at your seat.

Afterwards you’ll receive a brief survey via email asking about your experience during this test. We appreciate you taking time out of your schedule to fill out this brief survey and look forward to your feedback.

American clearly wants to see whether they lose headsets this way, and whether whatever breakage occurs is worth a measurable increase in customer experience and goodwill (via survey).

The test is currently taking place on 4 roundtrip flights.

  • Dallas fort Worth – London Heathrow (AA20 and AA21)
  • New York JFK – London Heathrow (AA100 and AA101)
  • Dallas Fort Worth – São Paulo (AA963 and AA962)
  • New York JFK – São Paulo (AA951 and AA950)

It’s not yet clear when the test will end or when the change could roll out across the international network.

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