American Airlines Gave Three Passengers One Hotel Room To Share During Mechanical Delay

American Airlines passengers are complaining about the hotel room that American Airlines assigned to them for an overnight mechanical delay (and also about getting rebooked to a different city than their destination). It seems three people were given just one room, leaving one person on the floor.

Cranky Flier kept insisting that it was reasonable for American Airlines to say customers will take whatever hotels are given, and that the airline will never reimburse a room for a customer. I pointed out that American’s vendor often lacks inventory for hotels when rooms are available to book outside the channel.

Already-overworked agents are asked to call and ask for more inventory. Good luck getting them to do this, and good luck with it being successful.

In the past several months American hasn’t even been able to provide rooms to their own employees properly with flight attendants sleeping at the airport and a pilot without a room sleeping in a hotel lobby.

There haven’t been enough agents working at their outsourced providers, and there hasn’t been enough hotel room inventory either – people can find their own rooms, but American’s system will say there’s nothing available.

Internally, though, American even acknowledges that the system doesn’t always work in determining whether you’re eligible for a room in the first place.

This means you’re reliant on a sympathetic agent looking up details of what caused your delay, and risking being second guessed later for coding you as eligible.

Here an agent managed to come up with a single room… for three passengers. At least, it appears, they were traveling together and not strangers. So I suppose it could be far worse. Hainan Airlines passengers once found themselves placed into an S&M-themed hotel on Valentine’s Day and forced to share a room during a delay.

Use a credit card that offers trip delay coverage when booking tickets, and use that coverage to get reimbursed for the cost of booking your own room at a hotel likely better and cleaner than what an airline will provide, plus cover your ground transportation and meals too, usually up to $500 on a qualifying delay.

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, 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. United routinely reimburses hotel rooms for 1Ks that book a room without a voucher.- in many cases even where the delay is weather related.

    Not sure why some people are hanging on to this fantasy that American is anything other than a budget airline with a couple of nice dining rooms that only a very small minority of passengers can access. (There is clearly some hyperbole there – but not a lot).

  2. American Airlines could’ve done better by giving three strangers individual rooms vs. coupling them like Oscar and Felix like “odd couples.”

  3. Lmao that’s funny but it doesn’t surprise me at all. I used to fly American Airlines everyday till I tried Delta and I saw the difference. I rather pay more and get better customer service.

  4. @John…since when did American Airlines allegedly start reimbursing passenger for Hotel rooms possibly up to $1,000?

  5. This is BS. Nothing on this site but AA Sucks, which is not my experience. Are they prefect, No, but they are not the incomptant Boobs you try to make them out to be. I have had equally good and bad experiences on DL and UA as AA but fly AA since they are my hub city airlines.

    I quit this site two years ago because of the baseless bashing and bullying of AA, I am now quitting your BS site for good. Report actual events and news, not social media BS.

    Bye for good.

  6. AA should switch to a blanket policy of not providing hotels ever. Issue a flat dollar credit disclosed at booking (“If your flight misconnects in our error, you will get a $50 cash refund”) and make passengers cover the difference booking a hotel of their choice, on their own. Saves a lot of hassle, saves agent work, saves corporate employees time negotiating contracts with hotel chains.

  7. Another hit piece on AA by the “thought leader”. This time written around a Tweet he found.

  8. I use to find some interesting information on this site (and still do) but I think this will be removed from my favorites. There could be so many different reason why this hotel situation happened (from 3 traveling together agreeing to taking one room to take whats available or nothing at all). AA cant give hotels its not allotted to. Hotels will raise room prices depending on demand so if rooms are available at $500 a room when usually $150 I’m sure that wouldn’t make much business sense for AA. How about ticket prices being $1K domestic and $8K international RT and let AA cover every unfortunate event and lets hear about how expensive tickets are. If AA is such a horrible airline then dont fly them and move on with your life and stick to useful information for airline geeks.

  9. My flight from DFW-HKG diverted to TPE (no AA staff there) and when we got to the hotel they tried doubling random passengers up in rooms and people lost it at the checkin counter at the hotel. Thankfully by the time I was checking in they knew this was unacceptable and I got my own room.

  10. We don’t have the end of the story! Did the pax ask for more than one hotel room, and was that request denied? Also the pax does not have to accept the original reaccommodated flights. Usually the auto REACOM gives you terrible options, 99% of the time, you can manually find something better or if you keep checking something better opens up. If the pax indeed did fly to the other city, did AA provide ground transportation or not? Also if I’m reading write, this poster only has 1 tweet, this one, and they don’t fill in the gaps on how the story ended. Also pretty weak but typical that AA social media just refers pax back to the airport rather than getting proactively involved in the situation. I mean why can’t they give social media reps the same system access to authorize if not issue hotel or ground transportation vouchers. I mean if they email out the accommodation vouchers then there is no reason it has to be airport only. Gary, did you try to interview the pax, I mean there are as many questions as there are answers here. Also do you know what vender AA uses for these hotel rooms? Does DL, UA use a similar or different process for provisioning hotel rooms?

  11. Had a similar experience on United with an interesting twist. Was traveling with my parents (as an adult); United delayed our first flight and we missed our connection which was the last flight of the day, so they had to put us up overnight. At least they gave us a room with 2 queen beds – but the twist is, they informed us that they could only give us one room because we were all booked on the same reservation. Had we booked on three separate reservations, according to them, we’d have been eligible for three separate hotel rooms! Possible travel hack for future reference?

  12. Gary,
    This is such a poorly written article and someone that is an aviation blogger should know better. Every customer is eligible to their own room even if in same reservation. If the customer self selected the room themself, they failed to select more than one room which it asks on the first step.

  13. My husband & I had our flight canceled with no schedule flight out for 2 days. AA refused to give us a room.

  14. @Gary – Any idea what’s with the creepy new tracking? A few weeks ago, BA instituted yet another unwanted popup and now this? It’s like BA is intentionally making things worse for visitors in a hurry. I somewhat expect that from Marriott but frankly had expected much better from BA. I don’t want to have to use Tor to avoid creepy tracking that simply wants to sell my info to third parties. Maybe you disagree. Your thoughts are welcome.

  15. We (4 people traveling) were also delayed 6 hrs because of mechanical problems in Albuquerque, missed our connecting flight and had to beg for two hotel rooms in Dallas because the flights to NJ were all booked. It was a nightmare trying to communicate with AA being sent from one person to the next to get anything accomplished.
    Did get two rooms, shuttle to and from hotel and meals, but it was a chore to get it.

  16. Lots of pathetic AA fanbois on here getting their frilly knickers in a twist. LoL at the one who quit for good, but this time is really, really quitting for good.

  17. @Chris W – Agent just made that up. You can split a multi passenger reservation into one for each passenger with click of button.

    Agent was just being lazy. Didn’t want to find multiple rooms.

  18. This shows how powerful the airline lobby is. And without money behind it there is little chance lobbying your congressman for a customer bill of rights would ever get passed. But we should still put pressure on them to make this happen.

  19. @John Doe – Hpw is it poorly written? Did Gary say they weren’t each entitled to own room? No. In fact he says each was entitled. It was the agent that assisted the 3 that only gave them one. Likely agent didn’t want to call and see if 2 more rooms available. This is why this new system of not reimbursing doesn’t work.

    I’m waiting for AA to get sued in EU/UK over EC/UK261 required hotel. AA system runs out of rooms, agent can’t be bothered to find more, and then AA denies reimbursement to passenger for room.

  20. Good morning. I must tell you I have always been treated fairly by American Airlines. I’m a gold frequent flyer before the pandemic. Even before the pandemic, they have taken an extra bag and offered me a change at my request. I remember the companies that go the extra mile for me. American Airlines is one of those companies. ecompanies. I received no payment or anything of value for this review. Ryan, T. Chicago, Il.

  21. His article implies American put strangers in one room to share with only one bed. It is not even possible to give one room to 3 different parties. The system does not tell how many bed types available but just rooms. If the customer asked, the agent could’ve provided more rooms. The article never states the agent refused. Everything in this article is based off assumption. That’s why it’s poorly written. Get the facts before you post something. It’s sloppy and lazy.

  22. Many years ago, we had to take Dad from SJC – PHL on AA. He was 97 and he’d just been released from the hospital 90 minutes prior. The guy at the gate was fantastic. He bumped us up to 1st class all the way through. Then! Come to find out after the fact, he was some big wig with the airline. The way I found that out was a few months later when we had to bring Dad’s body back home to California. I booked hubby and I 2 economy tix but when we got to check in they’d been bumped up to 1st class! I thought I made a mistake and was panicking at the cost. But the gate agent said I was a “preferred guest” of some guy whose name I can’t recall. But I have lifetime status with AA thanks to whoever it was at the AA ticket desk at SJC.

  23. @John Doe
    Not that Gary needs my defense, but you missed the sentence where Gary said:

    “At least, it appears, they were traveling together and not strangers.”

    I didn’t see anything about American putting 3 strangers together in a room.

  24. No I didn’t miss it. The fact he says “at least it appears” implies that even if they weren’t traveling together this is something American would do, which is completely false and not sure why it would be entertained. American Airlines would never imply for strangers to share room nor is there the ability to do so in the system.

  25. @Gary – Apologies. I’m out of the country in Jamaica for the first time since Covid and I got a bunch of tracking for third party requests on a popup on your and other BA sites. Non-BA sites didn’t have that. I mistakenly thought it was Boarding Area rather than my location. Your question answers my question.

  26. What, American actually gave people rooms for something that was their fault? Good grief, next they will actually be flying planes to your destination, within a couple of days of your schedule.

  27. @John Doe – You mean the agent who saw three people shouldn’t have assumed three rooms were needed? You seem to be confused who needs to ask who. If 3 passengers need rooms, unless you ask and they say we only need 1 or 2, you give 3 rooms. Heck even if thought it was ok, hotel rooms usually only can hold 2 people. Thus a minimum of 2 rooms should be offered if live in world where agent is supposed to only give 1 room per plane. (/sarcasm)

  28. Once again—everything in this article is base of assumption. As you are assuming what the agent did or not do. This article is crap for that reason. Also majority of people traveling together do not want rooms individually. Families, couples, friends usually want to stay together. We don’t know the dynamic of the relationship from the article. But you everyone else here like to just make up a story that fits your own personal agenda.

  29. Many years ago, during a very lengthy technical delay (blown tires – total delay more than 18 hours) on a Royal Air Maroc flight from Cairo to Casablanca, after many hours of waiting for the carrier to tell us something we were put into a hotel at the airport. I was put in a room with a single double bed with a total stranger!!!!! At least he didn’t snore.

  30. Share a double bed with a perfect stranger ??? I don’t think so. No appeal to even share a room and bathroom with someone else let alone a bed. Who would agree to that arrangement? Stand your ground at the ticket counter for separate rooms or just go get your own hotel and request reimbursement later.

  31. Chinese carriers routinely do this on International routes. Xiamen Airlines provides rooms for connections longer than 6 hours in Xiamen. Even in the lowest economy fare category. I flew from LAX to Bali by way of Xiamen, and my connection was 7 hours. It took me 2 hours just to get the voucher and 45 minutes to get to the hotel at my own expense. I arrived at my room only to find another person already in there sleeping. I thought they gave me the wrong room because I had no idea I’d be sharing. I left immediately and took a tour of Xiamen and went back to the airport. I say that’s taking communism a little too far.

  32. @DNN…per the story, the three were traveling together, not strangers. This falls on the hotel, not AA (and I’m not AA fan).

    As a Delta DM, my flight got delayed, missed my connection. I booked my own room, Delta reimbursed me for it.

  33. Years ago, a Royal Air Maroc flight from Cairo to Casablanca experienced a very significant technical delay (blown tyres; total delay: more than 18 hours). After waiting for the airline to contact us for several hours, we were finally placed in an airport hotel. I was placed in a bed-only room with a complete stranger. He didn’t snore, at least.

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