A FBvian with time to comparison shop offers a report:
So obviously AA feels constantly threatened by Southwest, and this is another move to alleviate that concern. And while the idea of snagging customers on their desktops before they have a chance to go online and search for travel is ingenious, they must realize that if a customer is going to take the time to download some bubbly, borderline ugly circa-1997 blue monster of a desktop tool, they most definitely will also take the time to search on more than one site for travel. And for argument’s sake, let’s say the average leisure traveler takes about 5 trips each year. Most of these trips are planned out well in advance – which means people spend lots of time research costs, etc. This makes the likelihood that any bookings made through AA will probably not come from this tool since bookers will see this tool first, then go search for other deals, and then probably end up booking somewhere like Travelocity.com or Expedia (while still getting their precious AA miles)… who most likely could put something like this together within a couple of months that was better looking, more useful including all carriers and more economical than what AA is capable of providing. The person this tool is useful to is the business traveler who travels much more than leisure travelers, only travels on one carrier, and is somewhat flexible on when they go – and unfortunately for AA, the average business traveler couldn’t care less what the price is, has set dates to travel, and usually uses a service solely dedicated to business travel.