American Airlines “Standards of Business Conduct”

For reasons to be discussed in another post on the recent American legislation on aviation, I found the following introduction from the “Standards of Business Conduct” of the American airline “American Airlines” of interest:


The company is committed to maintaining the highest standards of business ethics and complying with both the letter and the spirit of the law in everything that we do and in every country in which we do business.  Doing so will also maintain the hard-earned respect that we have established over the years with our customers. (Emphasis added by me). Consequently, employees are prohibited from participating in or condoning illegal or unethical activity. Remember that illegal acts by employees can cost the company millions of dollars in fines, and the penalties for corporations convicted of federal crimes are severe. And employees who violate the company’s ethical standards will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Unfortunately, this airline and all other airlines based in America will become an illegal outlaw operation shortly. Recent developments in American legislation assure that they will be violating the law either in the EU or the United States. Whatever course of action they choose, the days where they could assert that they are complying with the law in every country they are doing business in will be over soon.

And, as the above “Standards of Business Conduct Introduction” correctly notes, so will be the notion that anyone should respect them.

I wonder if they will change their “Standards of Business Conduct” accordingly. If so, it would be interesting to speculate how the new version would need to look.

There have been calls earlier for boycotting all American airlines because of the security theater (Bruce Schneier) that makes traveling to the United States a major hassle. See for example “Boykottieren Sie US-Fluglinien!” by Tyler Brûlé, written in 2010 (in German).

But I think there may very well a new wave of this, as a reaction to the recent American legislation.

Far be it from me to organize a boycott of American airlines myself. I am too busy with discussing energy to put an effort into that. And I, personally, never fly with any of them in the first place.

But someone else might start asking questions like these:

Would you want to fly with an airline that is acting illegally in a permanent and organized way?

Would you respect and trust such an airline with your life?

Would you want to fly with an airline that considers itself above the law?

Would you want to fly with an airline that is trying to make climate change worse?

If the answer to any of those questions is “No”, then you probably don’t want to fly with any American airlines.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003,

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