American Airlines Passengers Booked on Malaysia Airlines Codeshares Need to Change Their Itineraries

The FAA has downgraded Malaysia’s air safety rating. This is a judgment about the government’s regulatory operation, and not about any Malaysian airline.

However the ‘category 2’ rating given means that Malaysia-based airlines cannot start new U.S. service or add to existing service. It also means that US airlines cannot codeshare with them.

  • The only Malaysian airline currently flying to the US is AirAsia X which operates Kuala Lumpur – Honolulu via Osaka Kansai.

  • However American Airlines has codeshared with oneworld carrier Malaysia Airlines since 2013.

As a result of this regulatory ruling by the FAA, American Airlines has had to terminate codeshares with Malaysia Airlines. That move was made effective yesterday.

This means that American Airlines customers booked on American Airlines flights operated by Malaysia Airlines need to be rebooked – since there are no more American Airlines flights operated by Malaysia Airlines. American should be reaching out to customers, at least where they have contact information on file.

An American spokesperson tells me,

Customers will be offered the same itineraries (Malaysia Airlines prime). If the customer wishes to fly on another carrier, we will work to accommodate the customer on other airlines including our partners such as Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon.

In other words, anyone who wishes may keep their exact same itinerary switching to the Malaysia Airlines flight number for the Malaysia flight they were already on (this will change their AAdvantage mileage-earning).

However customers have the option not to fly Malaysia Airlines if they prefer, at least as long as American can move them to another carrier for their destination. That seems more than reasonable – generous even – a good job of taking care of customers.

I have no concerns flying Malaysia Airlines personally – at least not relative to flying other carriers like Thai Airways (Thailand is also an FAA category 2 country), Vietnam Airlines (Vietnam has been upgraded to category 1), or Asiana. The downgrade after all was with respect to the Malaysian Civil Aviation Authority and not any specific airline.

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. I have 2 AA award tickets with several MH segments intra-Asia. Called AA, they said there is nothing they could do because there is no availability on other flights (which I knew). So it seems to me that nothing has changed.

  2. OT: I love the view in the MH A350 pic – there’s something about sitting in the QF First Class lounge and being able to see the Sydney skyline that never gets old 🙂

  3. @Daniel – Those award tickets are likely unaffected here because they don’t generally carry codeshare flight numbers. Look at your itinerary and it will probably display MH flight numbers in which case the DOT ruling does not apply.

  4. @Doug: Thanks. I was just hoping to use this “excuse” to get switched to Cathay Dragon’s direct flight from the current HKT-KUL-HKG. I was hoping that because of this FAA downgrade they would open up award seats on Cathay Dragon. But of course: no. Oh well….

  5. @Daniel B.: Normally AA can’t get extra award inventory on partners. They can only open seats on their own flights (whether they do or not, in practice, I don’t know).

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