The American Airlines website design fiasco

Here is a story that I came across that should be compulsory reading, not only for everyone with an interest in airlines and web design, but also at business school courses and MBAs.

To summarize: an American Airlines customer, with an eye for web design and usability, visits and doesn't like what he sees, he posts his opinion on his blog, and here comes an web designer commenting on this post to let him know that if American Airlines website sucks is not because they have bad designers, but because corporate culture and internal politics and rules do not let them do their best.

The result: the American Airlines worker that posted the comment was fired (I am sure Seth Godin would be appalled to learn that someone that cares so much about his work got this sort of treatment from his employer), the story went viral on the internet, with the subsequent damage to to AA's corporate image).

At the end, got a face-lift (although not sure Dustin Curtis is now happy about it, given he had his own ideas about how it should be)

You can read an account of the story here.