When things go wrong with an airline’s operation most carriers have “interline agreements” that let them put their passengers on another airline’s flights. However in 2018 American Airlines decided it was too expensive to put passengers on other airlines when they cancelled their own flights. So coach passengers without elite status would no longer be placed on other airlines in the event of irregular operations. If American’s operation had problems, passengers would just wait for another American Airlines flight, just like if they were flying Spirit.
Other airline reaccommodaiton became an elite and premium cabin benefit. Since then American loosened the policy a bit. And they’ve recently updated their policy again to account for their relationship with Alaska Airlines and JetBlue. Those two airlines stand between how American treats rerouting on international joint venture partners and how they treat putting passegners on other partners in oneworld and non-oneworld partners.
- Platinum Pro elites and above, and long haul business and first class passengers, can be reaccommodated on airlines that aren’t Aemrican Airlines partners.
- Other elites and short haul premium cabin passengers can only be reaccommodated on oneworld and non-partner airlines when facing a delay of over 5 hours.
- Non-elites in coach can only be reaccommodated on JetBlue or Alaska when facing a delay over 5 hours, and oneworld and non-partner airlines when the delay is more than 24 hours.
There’s an ability for American Airlines agents to make exceptions to this policy, and these are important for passengers without status flying coach to know about and ask for. Say you’re flying to a funeral, for surgery, or to start a cruise!
Exceptions to the timeframe may apply to UMNRs, customers with disabilities, military on orders, no hotel availability, EC261 customers, or scenarios where a customer is travelling to a funeral, surgery, starting a cruise, etc.
There are a couple of caveats to be aware of here as well. American will not put you on another airline if you’re traveling to or from Cuba. And you can’t be double booked – having more than one trip in your reservation at the same time. They only allow this for Executive Platinum and ConciergeKey members.
In fact this is my favorite benefit of Executive Platinum status. I can get American to add segments to my reservation during irregular operations. If it looks like I might misconnect, they’ll give me backup flights rather than making me change flights. That lets me grab the next flight before space runs out, but still try to make it on the one I’m scheduled to fly. I can also add an earlier connection that I might make if I’m landing early without giving up the flight I’m on. Several times I’ve direct messaged American on twitter and had them add that earlier flight to my itinerary while I’m in the air, even when there’s just a seat or two left on it.