Former American Airlines CEO Bob Crandall was on Charlie Rose on Tuesday, sharing 30 minutes of some of the most salient airline insight you’ll hear anywhere. Keep in mind that Crandall was an intensely hated CEO by the workers (so I hear). I’ve heard many times that he was a “fierce jerk” (a somewhat polite translation). However, over the last decade of airline struggles, “but he sure knew how to run an airline,” has been suffixed onto that. (He was at the helm of AA in the Flight Attendant’s famously successful strike in 1994.)
Mind you, I know nothing about Crandall myself. He was before my time. But with Crandall’s interview putting him back in the news, I hear he is being thought of through a rather nostalgic lens. Interestingly, I once sat next to a former travel writer who told me about interviewing Crandall in his AA days. Apparently she was a full hour late to the interview and he was a total doll about it. I liked that story. Perhaps he’s like a parent who mellows with age (and suddenly seems wiser). Anyhow, his views give an airline person something to chew on.
Apologies: Charlie Rose’s website is not one supported by WordPress for embedding the video. I’ll work on that. But meanwhile, click here for the interview.