American Has a New Electronic System for Giving Out Hotels, Meals, and Transportation During Delays

American Airlines is in the process of rolling out a new “Hotel, Meal & Transportation (HMT) system” that will replace vouchers for hotels and meals during irregular operations with “a virtual credit card for hotels and meals.”

Vouchers can be emailed to customers or printed, so that vendors no longer need to return paper vouchers for payment.

This system launched a week ago and around 30 cities per week will begin using it through November with international American Airlines stations beginning to use it next year. This replaces the old voucher system, which will become unavailable once an airport brings on the new system.

Agents will enter customer emails into the system and trigger sending it customers. They aren’t empowered to issue extra vouchers (“The system is programmed to issue the correct number of vouchers per customer”) though they can reprint or re-email the same vouchers they’ve already issued.

When booking hotels the system pulls rooms from real-time inventory along with issuing payment vouchers, or when the passenger acts on the email offer they receive (if a hotel reservation is cancelled the room is supposed to go back to inventory).

Transportation vouchers are issued by this system but still work as old printed vouchers that are used today.

While there’s a new system for handling vouchers, the policy for what customers should be given doesn’t change and the likelihood of getting a meal voucher doesn’t increase. American rolls out carts of snacks to gates on long delays instead of giving customers money to spend inside the terminal.

‘Refresh and refuel’ carts by delayed flights replaced food vouchers for passengers

After American Airlines empowered flight attendants to compensate customers for inconveniences they had to walk it back somewhat because there were too many inconveniences. This change to a more electronic system shouldn’t increase the amount of compensation given, and may add more controls in addition to being more convenient.

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. The airport employees eat all of the food on those carts. I’ve even seen them put two and three sandwiches in their pockets. There’s also no sign that says the food is for the passengers so I don’t think many passengers even know it’s an option. But the EMPLOYEES sure do!

  2. So in a worse case scenario when there is no power or total IT failure I would be worried that this might not work as well. Hopefully I’ll never find out.

  3. 4 hour delay last month, they at first denied vouchers, but the food was never put out. I got the vouchers after walking to the gate and back to the club.

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