Regarding the July 31 story, "Winning Friends in High Places: America's Emphasis on Service Earns It Uncommon Praise":
Recently, I flew American to San Jose from Orange County. My plane left 1 1/2 hours late for a one-hour flight.
But while I was in the departure lounge (for 2 1/2 hours) there were four flights canceled to several points.
The atmosphere in the lounge was one of anger and frustration with this airline. All the cancellations were for mechanical or equipment failures.
The attendants were cheerful and polite. But this kind of increasingly undependable service leads us to wish that AirCal were still with us. It was almost always 15-25 minutes late, you could count on it. But not 1 1/2 hours, or worse, never leaving at all.
As for the "passenger groups" that rank American's service so highly: Pay a visit to Orange County. You won't need a poll.