American Airlines stikes back at copycat advertising mailers

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

Over the past several years, Better Business Bureau serving the Snake River Region has heard from residents who have been told they were recipients of airline tickets.American Airlines

Twice a year, BBB tells post card recipients that names/logos on the post cards does no mean the airlines are involved in the “time-share” marketing company meeting.

American Airlines today filed a lawsuit in Tarrant County, Texas, District Court against several people and entities operating a nationwide scam that uses American’s trademarks and likeness of its livery on mass-mailed postcards and letters to lure people into sales presentations for vacation club memberships. The lawsuit seeks to stop these people and entities from illegally misappropriating American’s well-known and valuable trademarks, liveries and logos.

American’s lawsuit alleges that the mailers created and used by defendants are intentionally and deceptively designed to appear that American is involved in the promotion. Some mailers refer to a promotion called “American Airlines Fly Away Promotion,” while other mailers feature American’s brand images or name.

The deceptive mailers promise the recipient two free round-trip airfares. When the recipient calls the phone number listed on the mailer, they are told they must attend a seminar to receive the airline tickets. The purpose of the seminar is to sell vacation club memberships, which are high-priced and offer little more than discounts readily available online. The promised airline tickets are either not distributed at all or are very difficult to redeem because of the many fees and restrictions they carry.

“The well-being of American’s customers is our top priority, and this is such an unfortunate violation of an iconic brand that our customers, employees and communities around the globe have come to trust,” said Rob Friedman, American’s Vice President of Marketing. “This lawsuit seeks to protect the brand so many rely upon, and cease these deceptive practices.”

In trying to track the ongoing activities of the defendants, American encourages people affected by the scam to scan the back and front of the mailers and email them, along with their full name, address and phone number, to the company at webmaster@aa.com to be used as evidence in the case.

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1 Comment

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One response to “American Airlines stikes back at copycat advertising mailers

  1. Mark Burrows

    Simple logic. No one receives anything for free out of the blue. Yes, in the past during better economical times many realtor companies selling timeshares and vacation bungalows did provide invitations to come and view the new properties. They could afford such adventures because they were comfortable of the stability of the economy and their perfectly polished sales pitch. They would also have addition incentive goodies in the form of door prizes and draw prizes. They knew very well that some would show up with no intention of making a purchase, but they wanted to still put on a show that they were fair dealers. Yet, I can assure you, those who did not buy would receive such door prizes as T shirts and caps with the resort area logo. There was still a possibility of swaying a few of the freebie riders, and also the possibility of word of mouth as no one went home without beautiful glossy brochures.
    That was before. Now, with the economical status the way it is, it is not feasible nor realistic for such deals. Because as the things started to tighten up, they stopped inviting people to travel, instead they would travel to the cities and larger towns, set up in local hotels and invite you to come visit them there and they would provide a superb dinner and entertainment after their presentation, then apply their pitch.
    Today, no airline will contract with any business opportunists to fly people around at the businesses expense on a non employee situation. This is under one of the security rules that they abide by now. As far as airlines are concerned, if you want to fly someone to you, then send them the tickets prepaid and documented, and not specifically any airline. Some airlines do not go to smaller cities, but there are airlines that will and can make direct flights to the city of destination, and often for less cost than the major airlines. So, again, it is a matter of logic. Besides, people should have the right to choose what airline they fly on. Myself, I don’t care to fly Alaska Airlines. I have nothing personal against the airline, it is just my luck that any airport I go to, they seem to be tucked at the far end of the terminal. I am not one who cares to bustle through a crowded terminal to do the usual stand in line and wait routing and the rest of the painstaking security routine. I accept it, but the less distance I have to travel in the terminal simply reduces my stress. If I actually lived in Alaska, where they are up front and center, I would be happy to fly from there. Coming back would be a nuisance because if I want a direct flight, then I would have to struggle through the terminal to get to Alaska Airlines. So, I choose not to live in Alaska.
    But seriously. We are all familiar of the saying of not looking a gift horse in the mouth, well, we can toss that saying out the window. It is more like don’t go near that gift horse it is likely to bite you in the……
    You get my drift. Sorry, I still added a touch of humor when I said seriously. Can’t help it, satire is one of my best tools.

    Mark Burrows

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