The American Dream

With cost cutting and group therapy, the world's angriest airline is learning how to save itself

Not long ago, the top managers and 80,000 employees at the world's largest airline were barely on speaking terms. The only time they really talked was over the bargaining table. But in a classroom dotted with inspirational posters (JUST BECAUSE THE SITUATION IS TENSE ... YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE!), managers from American Airlines sat down recently to do something unheard of--exchange ideas with employees. From the back, a consultant acting as a "marriage counselor" observed silently as flight attendants and pilots, airport workers and reservationists, and even skycaps made suggestions about how to improve service for American's premium passengers. The...

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