American Airlines Launches Weird, Lame Website "For Women"

americanforwomenAmerican Airlines is hoping to attract more women travelers with a new website “for women”. “We obviously have a vast interest in women,” said Peggy Sterling, AMR vice president of safety, security and environmental. “There is an untapped resource.” The new “women’s” site mentions women friendly things like “girlfriends” and “book recommendations.”
From the site:

Check the latest carry-on regulations, find advice on travel safety and wellness, and pick up tips for a stylish and efficient travel wardrobe.

Psssst. Women like clothes. Mention that on the site. This is awesome. They’re totally going to fly our airline now. Make the search box pink, and get rid of all those “tools,” women hate tools.—MEGHANN MARCO

AA.com/Women
American Airlines Seeks More Female Fliers [CNN]

Comments

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  1. kerry says:

    I can think of some tools I hate right now . . .

  2. sinneslochen says:

    Oh, too many menus on the Man Site! Menus are so scary! Hold my hand, American Airlines?


    Ugh.

  3. So, who will be the first one to sue them for not making one for men? And who will be the first woman sueing for “discrimination” and sexist commentary? “All women knit and join bookclubs.” Right. That’s going to go over well.

    And on that note (since I’ve already protected myself by saying something pro-feminist): “I have a vast interest in women myself.”

  4. Aaron Pratt says:

    If you use the “women’s” search, the results take you to the “man’s” search with all the masculine search tools… or is that because their website is so smart, it knew I was a man using the women’search?

    Diabolical!

  5. VA_White says:

    The woman’s search manages to be hysterically funny and unbelievable offensive at the same time. ^5, American Airlines!

  6. logicology says:

    Simply amazing!

  7. oudemia says:

    Aw . . . now this is priceless!

    As women, we naturally want to assist where we can.

    So that’s why I’ve been asked by flight attendants to sit next to and babysit unattended children on about 5 different flights! As a woman, I naturally want to!

  8. Buran says:

    Oooookay. I’m a woman, so I should be stuck with a crippled form missing most of the options, but that’s OK because IT’S PINK?

    I hated American enough already because of what they did to St. Louis (they said they wouldn’t lay off TWA personnel, then they gutted TWA and laid off experienced TWA crews while keeping rookie AA crews, for example, then proceeded to gut the flight schedule here at STL) but this just reinforces my decision to not give them any business. (Which I haven’t done for years).

  9. tvh2k says:

    Not a bad idea to design a site tailored to women travel needs, but the “easier to use” search is just going to get them sued by some feminist.

  10. theWolf says:

    Ah, the untapped market–women travelers! Who would have thought?

  11. 6502programmer says:

    I don’t know why, but I am thinking of Slashdot’s “OMG!!! PONIES!!!” April Fools redesign from last year..

  12. JRuiz47 says:

    They have a director of Women’s Marketing? Wouldn’t it just be easier to hire a marketing person who was good enough to market multiple ways?

    I hope American decides to give me a call when they need a director for Hispanic, Single Men or Baseball Fan Marketing.

  13. shiny says:

    Great. Just great. Now my three year old daughter and I have to make reservations separately based on our genders. And perhaps I won’t be able to get a seat right next to her as she tugs on my sleeve asking for Cheerios and juice and her books and her stuffed puppy dog, whining when we take off and land and when we’re in the air!

    On second thought, I’m beginning to like this idea…

  14. rachmanut says:

    i think if you book using the woman search you get to fly on a 737-F, which has lipstick holders and no overhead flourescent lights. also cooking tips and scented candles and shoulder pads.

  15. myrall says:

    This is ridiculously silly and mildly offensive. I would have killed to have sat in on the focus groups they no doubt conducted to reach this goofy conclusion.

    Simplicity in form and function should be for all – not just for us not-so-smart silly females. *snark* Gee, maybe they’re telling me I should leave travel decisions up to my husband since he’s the only one who’s smart enough to figure out a travel website.

  16. amb1545 says:

    @VA_White: Unbelievably offensive? Grow some thicker skin.

  17. rachmanut says:

    also, the planes take off from runways 10% closer to the destination and are marked by red windsocks.

    and although flights technically have the ability to be “slam-dunks” in terms of on-time arrival and customer service, they usually are more elegant and collaborative with other flights.

    (sorry, couldn’t help it. i’ll stop now)

  18. BMR says:

    two things: how will a woman navigate to this site? there is no link on the main home page.

    also:

    in the press release (I mean CNN story) they mention, “AMR has two other dedicated Web sites that cater to Spanish speakers and to gay and lesbian travelers. One airline expert said he expects more airlines to follow AMR’s example as a means to bolster ridership.”

    Can we see those links please!

  19. getjustin says:

    Women don’t fly because they don’t have kitchens on airplanes! Duh!

    Seriously, what the hell are they thinking?

  20. Youthier says:

    @tvh2k: I don’t even know what my “different travel needs” would be. Honestly. I’m more likely to read US Weekly on the plane than a man… other than that, nothing.

  21. Brie says:

    Reminds me of when iVillage or someone marketed “the internet for women.” I was like – the internet I’ve been using all this time is for men?

  22. flyover says:

    Am I being a stupid woman, or was April Fools two weeks ago?

  23. wyldhoney says:

    @flyover: I thought the same thing!

  24. kerry says:

    @BMR: I need to see what the gay American site looks like. Fabulous!

  25. Youthier says:

    @BMR: Well, at least Spanish speaking makes sense and would actually reach consumers they may not have gotten to before.

    I’m extremely interested in that gay and lesbian flight site.

  26. superlayne says:

    It’s really sad when big companies treat a whopping 50% of the population as a minority that needs special treatment.

    I guess when we’re not baking, cleaning, or popping out babies, women need to ride planes too.

  27. Avery says:

    Wow, I’ve always wondered what it would be like if the 1950s image of women reared its head on a business website. Well, no, I’ve never really wondered that but this is quite a thing anyway.

  28. Avery says:

    Coming up next: the American Airlines website for black people!

  29. J.T Dabbagian says:

    I don’t know whether to laugh my butt off or be absolutely offended by this. What’s worse, what if we see other airlines imitate this…Hell, Maybe United or Delta will create sub-airlines dedicated to women…all pink?

  30. evilzug says:

    Why are these women even flying and not in the kitchen making me a sammich? The regular search is there if you need it, just like.

    They are catering to soccer moms who watch Oprah and play bejeweled all day. They like clothes and pink, the majority of which are also females. Chill out.

    Now be a doll and go get me a beer, k?

  31. srah says:

    On NPR, they said that as a result of their research into women’s travel needs, they were going to add “purse hooks” to the backs of seats in business class. I still have to put my purse under the seat when we take off or land, though, right? And it’s just going to be hanging there, swinging in my way during the flight?

    I really can’t think of anything that would improve my flying experience as a woman rather than affecting all genders (i.e. more legroom). Could they arrange it so that I don’t have to sit next to skeezy and/or smelly guys?

  32. bluwapadoo says:

    Oh my God. It gets better. Ask and ye shall receive:
    http://www.aavacations.com/Rainbow/

    http://www.aa.com/hispanic

  33. Lilyara says:

    It makes me sad that AA decided to spend money on this alterna-site rather than giving me a bag of snack mix. I miss those 3 pretzels, 5.2 bagel chips and those unidentifiable crunchy twigs.

  34. capturedshadow says:

    Wow, I never thought of segmenting the travel market along gender lines. Sure, hair dye, deodorant, and razors, was an easy way to make extra money. But I never thought of airline bookings. If you start seeing light bulbs for women, remember that I thought of it first!

  35. ckilgore says:

    You know, Orbitz has done a good job of marketing gay-friendly travel, so it is possible to do what they think they thought they were doing. They just f-ed it all up.

  36. tozmervo says:

    The least they could have done was make the Hispanic site in, you know, Spanish.

  37. 75Sasha says:

    Here’s a copy of my complaint I submitted.

    Are you joking with the new “Women” section on your website? Did it occur to the Marketing Department to make a “Men” section with trucks, tools, beer and dirt? No, so why do you think this is an appropriate way to draw women to your site? Would you consider doing one geared towards minorities with the stereotypes that are attached to them? When will you understand that this is only driving away customers and enforcing the stereotype that all the decision makers in the corporate world are white males, with no idea how to relate to others. The Bankers Pen used in the WaMu commercials is intended as a parody, you have taken something that should have been laughed out of committee and put it up as a representation of women. I notice through your lifestyle section under “Girlfriend Getaways” there is not a listing for business travelers. Perhaps because in your business there are no females that need to travel. Keep up enforcing the gender inequities in the world and we’ll keep boycotting your airline.

  38. traezer says:

    The hispanic site has the simplified search box as well, but in white. Hmm…I guess they are trying to say that women and hispanics are too dumb to use those scary tools…

  39. Mills says:

    Hopefully, the next step is Childfree travel. Make it easy for me to book a trip on a plane where there are no children under the age of 10.

  40. bluwapadoo says:
  41. tcabeen says:

    I thought it was going to let me search for Women. Talk about bait and switch…

    Love this: “We obviously have a vast interest in women,” said Peggy Sterling, AMR vice president of safety, security and environmental.

    Hooray, AA and I have something in common!
    At least they’re proactive with their “vast interest in women”, whereas I’m just leeringly creepy. ;p

  42. DCKiwi says:

    The Web site states that this is ‘an example of American’s commitment to the growing women’s market.’

    Right, there’s a new trend now where women are starting to fly on planes! Never saw that before.

  43. slapstick says:

    I don’t see what’s wrong here. Clearly AA simply eliminated the options women would find unnecessary. A woman doesn’t need to worry about finding an airport in a particular area, since she shouldn’t be driving to it anyway. The number of adult passengers is clearly 2, since what man is going to let his wife fly alone? He’s already putting a burden on her fragile woman-mind by asking her to reserve airline tickets! Similarly, a woman doesn’t need to worry about schedules or fares – after all, women who earn their own money are either prostitutes or nurses that nobody loves!

    American Airlines is trying to take America back to a simpler time, a time when the liberal media hadn’t fooled the masses into thinking women could handle the same complex tasks men can! I for one am proud, proud to see American Airlines taking back American values.

  44. unwritten07 says:

    United targeting women is nothing new. Check out their 1968 commercial.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5P-S_cz0Y8

    @BMR here are the other sites:

    http://www.aa.com/espanol
    http://www.aavacations.com/Rainbow

    I had to google them. I couldn’t find any links from their main site.

  45. Erskine says:

    They need a new tagline for the site:

    “Created by Playskool — Approved by June Cleaver”

  46. spanky says:

    @tvh2k:

    You have a remarkably cartoonish perception of both feminism and the American legal system.

  47. MeOhMy says:

    The “Chick-friendly search” is simplified because unlike men, if they get lost using it, they will just pick up the phone and ask for assitance. :-)

  48. oudemia says:

    @spanky: Thank you, spanky. I was going to sue tvh2k, but you’ve talked me down.

  49. BMR says:

    funny, the gay website does not have a booking box – what are they trying to say?

  50. TinaT says:

    How about a site for seniors with really large fonts and another simple search box. Because, you know, old people are just as stupid as girls and hispanics.

  51. Raanne says:

    well i do find it a little rediculous to have this site, dont you think that we are overreacting a little? because the box just takes you to the booking area, where they have all those same tools. This just isn’t the booking page – I think the article is a little misleading in how it has presented this, because at first it looked awful, but when i went to the AA website, it seems pretty obvious that the “woman’s page” is just one step off from the booking page, so if course its not going to have all the tools…

  52. bokononist says:

    They should call this ‘executive search,’ because everyone really knows that the people least likely to be able to book their own flights are executives.

  53. wintersweet says:

    This from the airline that insists on addressing me as Mrs. … I’m beginning to detect a pattern.

  54. Citron says:

    Raanne: I don’t think it’s overreacting. Personally, I find it very insulting that the airline is blatantly pandering to a very stereotypical idea of “woman,” especially one who is unskilled in simple internet tasks, like . . . booking a flight and inexplicably drawn to the color pink.

    Not only does it play towards the aforementioned insulting stererotype, it’s insulting to the intelligence of everyone that they feel they can get this sort of thing by on consumers in lieu of actual customer service and satisfaction.

    LOL RL WOMANS ON TEH INTERNETS!!1!oenone

  55. acambras says:

    I was in the Atlanta airport and saw a guy wearing a t-shirt that said, “I’m not a gynecologist, but I’ll take a look.”

    My first thought was, “what a cad.”

    But now I realize that he really cares about women’s health and the best interests of women. He was probably in the airport because he works for American Airlines, right?

  56. HippieLawChick says:

    Next on the agenda for American Airlines: A new and improved 1-800 service.

    “If you pee standing up, press 1″
    “All others, please hold for a kindergarten teacher and Mary Kay representative to assist you with your travel inquiry.”

  57. TinaB says:

    @bluwapadoo:

    “Let us take you there, with pride!” Ohhhh man, I definitely cracked up when I read that. That’s just precious.

  58. etinterrapax says:

    Damn, they left off the one thing I as a woman really want: reasonably priced flights! Guess I’ll have to wander off and look elsewhere or, more likely, not fly.

  59. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @Raanne: Thing is, there’s obviously no practical reason to have a women’s page. The fact that it just leads to the main booking site proves that there’s no good reason for it to exist in the first place. They spent money and time creating an unnecessary and redundant separate page because they think women are a bunch of simpletons. That’s why this is so insulting.

  60. sandividin says:

    The SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT CHANGE AA could make to please women is to lower (or remove) those damn neck rests protruding from the seats right at the back of my head. They are placed where the neck of an average height male would be, and I for one, am getting sick of the stiff necks everytime I’m forced to sit with my seat back straight up and my face pointed down to my knees.

    What a waste of money on that ridiculous website, and pretty insulting to my intelligence, but at least I got a good laugh out of all your replies.

  61. VA_White says:

    @amb1545: It’s not Don Imus offensive or anything. I’m not about to call up Gloria Steinem and ask for anyone’s head on a platter but it is unbelievable that in 2007, a company could think a pink search page coupled with fashion advice is a swell idea. And it is offensive when American Airlines thinks my uterus prevents me from wanting to narrow my search.

    Let me get my pearls on. I need to go vacuum.

  62. spanky says:

    Yeah, I don’t see any overreacting. This is a marketing ploy designed to attract women, but their way of going about this is to effectively tell us they think we’re stupid?

    I mean, really, a pink search form? That thing makes my ass look huge.

  63. Youthier says:

    @TinaT: Old people don’t use the internet. Duh.

  64. Meg Marco says:

    @sandividin: Oh, holy shit. Sing it. Those seats suck.

  65. jamesdenver says:

    http://www.aavacations.com/Rainbow

    I like how the “Rainbow” page assumes I’ll be jaunting off to to gay ski week, or Provincetown, as if my partner and I are so insular we don’t do normal touristy and travel things everybody else does.

    I recall reading somewhere about a gay discount in which the total for two was cheaper than buying two seats. Eventually friends, married folks, and business travelers logically just started going booking through the gay site.

    I’m not at all offended by marketing to certain groups like women, gays, families, etc., but the techniques noted are humorous.

  66. jamesdenver says:

    Guys aren’t left out: Somehow last year the word “mancation” was created. Luckily, since I despise made up words created simply for marketing purposes, the use of it has died down.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_travel/20060911/ap_tr_ge/travel

    http://www.futuregringo.com/index.php/2006/10/07/mancation

  67. mikesfree says:

    wow, thats insulting

  68. Citron says:

    @jamesdenver: “Mancation.” Holy hell, I’m using that one from now on. It’s so bad it’s AWESOME.

  69. Little Mintz Sunshine says:

    Is it true they have replaced the “comments and suggestion” section with a post that reads: “When we want your opinion, lady, we’ll ask your husband”?

    Does anyone know if the Lonely Whore Discount is more or less than the Bitter Spinster Discount? I am assuming the LWD gets you a seat closer to business class than the BSD, but which one will get you more drinks coupons?

  70. M3wThr33 says:

    I know some women are going to be posting saying they’re insulted, but I guarantee my ex would love this crap. She loves anything that’s pink or panders to women, regardless of the drop in quality.

  71. oudemia says:

    @sandevin and @meghannmarco: Sweet Jesus, yes. The fucking headrests that make me stare at my crotch. Amtrak’s are even worse.

  72. saram says:

    @spanky

    That was great. Thank you for making me laugh out loud at work.

  73. coconino says:

    do we get free tampons at the lavatory now??

  74. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    It looks to me that they’re just trying to lure in solo female travellers by designing that part of the site to appeal to what AA thinks women want. (Notice that I’m saying here…it’s not necessarily what women want, but what AA marketing department thinks they want). I’m sure it’s the same thing with the whole “gay travel” thing. Tap more market share by making certain groups of people feel all warm and fuzzy about buying airline tickets.

    What they don’t mention is that whether your a guy or a gal, gay or straight, you still get the same old crappy cramped seat in front of the kicking child and behind the snoozing old-lady.

    And while they’re at it, they should fix up the “man’s site” by adding monster trucks and power tools.

  75. tormolen says:

    What’s really strange for me is that there’s a piece in yesterday’s New Yok Times about women’s travel experiences that made this sound almost reasonable. Thes article (reg req’d) was by Joe Sharkey, who’s normally a pretty reliable source. The piece focused on a survey of female travellers and only spent a little time on the new website–no mention of the limited options or the color scheme. I’m glad I saw for myself how poor the idea was.

  76. questionthemark says:

    I can’t help but wonder why AA didn’t think they’d be shooting themselves in the foot.

    As for the site itself, I don’t find it horribly offensive. The search box is a bit puzzling and offensive, but other than that it doesn’t look overly “girlish.” There seems to be a serious focus on women as independent businesspeople. My guess would be some jackass thought that women, for whatever reason, weren’t buying enough airline tickets and this is their idea of targeted marketing. I mean, let’s face it, there ARE differences between men and women.

    And for those people bringing up the whole ‘oh why does it have to be pink’ thing, is it really that big of a deal? I mean, I’d be surprised if, statistically, women did not prefer pink while men prefer blue. The fact that the search is simplified is far more offensive.

    All in all, I’m more dumbfounded than amused.

  77. vegascub1 says:

    the handmaid’s tale, anyone? All they need to do now is take away our pin numbers and we’re set.

  78. Brie says:

    >@wintersweet: This from the airline that insists on addressing me as Mrs. … I’m beginning to detect a pattern.

    And the airline that as recently as 1994 wouldn’t let female employees at HQ wear pants to work. (Though the employee that told me this might’ve been stretching the facts.)

  79. palaste says:

    We have an airline search form for women, and others have suggested forms for gay people, black people, and old people too. The next thing is obviously a form for Muslims… which automatically reports the user to the FBI, of course. =)

  80. enire says:

    I worked three years as a corporate travel agent, and — in Canada, at least — the vast majority of travel agents are women, as are the majority of those who call travel agents on behalf of their companies. There are also a healthy number of gay men. Whatever the reasons, travel is definitely a “pink collar” industry.

    I suspect that this carries over into the home as well, i.e. that in mixed-gender households, women bear more of the responsibility for booking travel. That makes this AA/women website extra lame… If anyone should be lured to a particular airline’s website by the promise of a simplified, “comfortable” experience for travel-booking noobs, it’s straight men. Ahem, mancationers :)

    (And no, I don’t think they need it, either.)

  81. ngwoo says:

    @jamesdenver:Let’s not forget the “Gay Grand Canyon weekend”, and the “flaming Louisiana barbecue”.

  82. picardia says:

    Wow, bureaucracy really DOES slow down corporate initiatives. Looks like an American Airlines marketing concept from 1955 only now got approved.

  83. Me. says:

    Read:
    As Long As It’s Pink: The Sexual Politics of Taste by Penny Sparke

  84. Vivtek says:

    I find it fascinating that one of the options for men is to speak Spanish. Apparently one can only belong to one “minority” group at a time, and all women speak English. And are presumably not gay. Or old, or they wouldn’t be on the Internets.

  85. Firstborn Dragon says:

    I hate pink. A lot. Haven’t liked it in years.

    Mind you the pink seems to be gone now. Or at least I couldn’t see it.

  86. philosophe says:

    Nowhere on the site do I see a reservations page specifically for women. When I click on “Book Now,” I am taken to http://www.aa.com, the general booking site. Is there a pink page? I don’t see it! I think it’s just a graphic that someone created to go along with the story — but is misleading. (Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.)

    To 75Sasha, I agree that a “Girlfriend Getaways” is a ridiculous bit of marketing, but right next to it is an entire section called “Women Connected Through Business.”

    Just trying to be accurate.

  87. unwritten07 says:

    @philosophe:
    This is a separate site created for women and there doesn’t seem to be a link from their main site.

    AA.com/women

    They got rid of the pink search box a couple of days ago.