3 American Airlines Policy Changes You Need To Know [Roundup]

News and notes from around the interweb:

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Whom do AA refer to as “thru customers”? Passengers with a connection (rather than “passengers on direct flights” as in your article)?

    I notice AA offers some connected flights with very tight connections (e.g. 25mins – the MCT – at PHX). Is that the reason for the change?

  2. I had the opposite exoerience in Europe with airbnb last week. I showed up at the stated address in a small town, but apparently the address doesn’t exist. I couldn’t reach the host by phone. I called airbnb and they couldn’t reach him either. With nothing alse availabke locally, they authorized a train ticket to the next town and a hotel stay at a significantly higher price. I took photos of the receipts and sent them to airbnb, and had the payment within a couple of days.

    I guess it depends who you get?

  3. Gary, can you ping your sources regarding the status of the XLRs? The current schedule through mid-2025 still shows T-Birds on transcon. And, recent comments from Znotins indirectly suggest the XLRs might not fully replace the T-Birds until 2026.

  4. So, after replacing BusinessExtrAA with AAdvantage Business, the most ridiculously poorly thought-out program ever to come out of Advantage, they’ve finally admitted that dealing with chatbots and telling their best customers to make several calls instead of one isn’t working? At least, I’m happy that they’ve started to address things that don’t work. Perhaps the next time they’ll think twice about allowing people that clearly don’t travel to install rules to make life difficult for those that do.. Uh, maybe not.

  5. Does AA even have thru flights anymore? I know this is common on WN but it seems that the top 3 US carriers no longer do thru flights like they used to.

  6. So , on flights to Hawaii from say , Chicago , if the aircraft stops in SFO or LAX , I need to de-board ? That is crazy dumb .

  7. I think by thru passenger here they are referring to passengers who have to deplane on their “direct” (not nonstop) flight even though their next leg is on the same.

  8. For all – you have to understand the difference in a non-stop and a direct flight. Non-stop is exactly that but a direct flight is one between points A and B with one or more stops but has the same flight number. Not sure if AA makes such passengers deplane but, if so, this makes sens. They likely already have their stuff on board so simply walking to seats and gets some crowd out of the way for boarding.

    This DOES NOT apply on connections (even tight ones). Frankly AA has very few direct flights so you could fly all year and not encounter this situation

  9. I suspect the business about re=boarding through passengers is basically housekeeping. It’s rare that anybody operates through flights anymore (OMA-ORD-DTW).

    It’s much more common that one may travel OMA-ORD on one flight and then ORD-DTW on a different flight, but the same plane.

    Through flights are a pain to work. There’s always a piece of baggage that got pulled at the intermediate point that shouldn’t or one that shouldn’t have but did. It’s particular difficult when the plane is full and cargo bins are packed.

  10. @Goforride – agree completely. AA has very few “direct” flights with a stop and the same flight number where this would apply. IMHO Southwest used to be the king of direct flights but even they have gone to a more hub and spoke network with unique flight numbers. I remember the days in the 80s and 90s when Southwest had numerous direct flights as they hopped across the country. The Wright Amendment made it even worse since it was common to see a flight like DAL-ABQ-PHX-LAS all under the same flight number. You think SW boarding is bad now, I remember the days when you could be lucky enough to have a low A number (or stood in line the longest since originally all A tickets had the same priority and it came down to who lined up first – like an hour before the flight usually) and find out the plane was 2/3 full w through passengers who had all the good seats.

  11. Boarding would be faster if they allowed thru passengers to remain on the aircraft (with luggage) instead of deplaning and boarding a second time. A PA may be needed to request passengers to be seated in their original assigned seats once boarding begins for local passengers.

  12. The spam story is funny. In my case it is New York State Cheddar cheese from Aldi (my local store in CA used to carry it but no more). In May I had 21 8oz blocks in my carry on at BUF. TSA swabbed every last one and put the samples in the gas chromatograph.

  13. I’m also super confused about thru pax. Nowadays direct flights are operated with 2 different a/c – it’s not uncommon for the 2nd flight to take off before the 1st lands. Since it’s not the same plane, seat assignments/baggage/staying on are non issues. For all intents and purposes, they are 2 completely different flights that just happen to share the same code. So why would it make a difference to anyone (pax, crew, ops) what time thru pax board? What am I missing here??????

  14. I think the spam bit comes down to it being an unidentifiable, untestable high density organic.

    Any high density organic draws scrutiny because explosives are high density organics.

  15. GoForRide is right. Thru flights were always a problem. Passengers would forget to reboard, think they were at their final destination no matter how many F/A announcements were made on board, try to switch seats, ad nauseum. Heartburn generators for both flight and ground staff.
    Loren’s right. I don’t think anyone knows what’s in SPAM except Hormel, and they aren’t talking.

  16. The thru pax thing is pointless. No one can deplane and leave their carry ons, on the plane. There are not many instances of this either. Thru flights are usually same flight number. Sometimes the planes change. Clearly Robert and his cronies are trying to come up with ideas to correct their big failure. But its the same nonsense, make up something that sounds good but really offers nothing. Just like the FAs negotiations. Don’t believe his rhetoric of he offered 17% and profit sharing to the FAs and they said no. What people don’t know is he wasnt offering anything else and no contract settlement. No sane person would agree to that because there is no “good faith” with Robert.

  17. If the second leg of the flight departs after midnight a security search will have to be performed or sometime around then. You can’t have passengers on during the security search.

    Secondly it’s very difficult to properly clean a plane with passengers molding around and using the restrooms while it’s on the ground and all spread out. Is it inconvenient for the through passengers absolutely. But having the plain empty allows the cleaning crew to do a better job and allows the flight attendants to make sure everything is good. And it’s definitely more secure starting with a fresh count of passengers going on board with the scanners.

    Also you are leaving on personal belongings on an airplane and then you have cabin cleaners. Well 99.9% are honest you can immediately point to the airline that something was taken even if it wasn’t because you were not with your bag. And you’re always supposed to be with your bag

  18. I’m betting the “direct” flight that is being talked about is a direct flight with a change of aircraft enroute. However, I didn’t even know that was still a thing airlines did.

    The last time I remember seeing this type of scheduling was the old, old NW days (and I am dating myself). For example, NW would publish a Boston – Tokyo as flight #xxx and in small print “aircraft change” because the flight was technically a connection in Detroit. My guess is to the average consumer, they would see the same flight number and assume it was a one-stop flight instead of a connection.

  19. The US used to do through flights on just about every flight departing from out stations I just noticed a through flight the other day but it was an international carrier. I worked for AA for years mostly the good days not much post 9/11 I up and quit during an overbooked flight got sick of TSA and the job itself. The USA is very paranoid so TSA stopped through flights. I said bye bye and I dumped all the seats on a 757 locked out flight and left I heard it took 8 hours to fix it.

  20. I have been on direct flights where the cleaning crew boarded while through passengers were still seated on the airplane. The cleaning procedure didn’t seem any different than that of ones that had the cleaning crew board from the back while passengers were still departing from the front of the airplane. No deep cleaning was taking place and everything was not wiped (some wiping did take place where needed). The cleaning crew did clear trash from seatback pockets and did make sure unoccupied seats had blankets and pillows as needed. Maybe some air freshener was sprayed. I don’t remember if the aisles were swept or swabbed but I was last on a flight like that decades ago.

  21. Through flights are far less common these days. To cope with a shortage of flight numbers (airlines generally block groups of numbers for mainline, regionals, code shares, ferry/irrops, so they do run out) airlines are doing more hubspokehub turns with the same flight number each way.

    I haven’t had one in years, and the last time I did there was a crew change at the stopover, so we had to exit anyway.

  22. AC , except on a DAL-ABQ-PHX-LAS direct flight, nobody could be on the first and second leg because of the Wright amendment.

    BTW, my friends are always mad at me when I ask if they meant nonstop when they say direct. I’ve been flying long enough that I’ve seen people surprised there was a stop in their direct flight.

  23. a “through” passenger is a passenger on a direct flight who leaves the aeroplane at a stopover flight. PA 1 flew San Francisco to London with stops at Honolulu, Hong Kong, Bangkok, New Delhi, Beirut, Istanbul, Frankfurt-am-Main, London, and at the end Idlewild airport. If he gets off at Honolulu to but a pinei, he is allowed to board first so as to regain his seat and protect his property left there

  24. @derek Thank you for answering my question about the significance of boarding order. Makes perfect sense if you allow people to leave their stuff onboard, they would want to get on first. I’ve also noticed that announcement at bus stations.

    So AA is referring to flights that literally don’t exist anymore? I wonder if in practice they will let Johnny get on first at DCA on his Direct LGA(E190)DCA(A319)MCO flight. Can anyone confirm?

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