This past weekend American Airlines expanded their test of letting customers prepay checked bag fees online in advance (between 4 and 24 hours prior to departure) to all 50 states for domestic itineraries. This should save customer and agent time at the airport, and ultimately save American money.
This is for:
- Coach passengers on :wholly domestic itineraries within the 50 U.S. states:
- It applies only to American Airlines-issued tickets (001 ticket stock) for American operated flights with American flight numbers (no codeshares).
- For up to 3 bags
This is not offered for travel from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or:
- Huntsville, Alabama
- Las Vegas
- Portland, Maine
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Des Moines
- McAllen, Texas
- Fort Hood/Killeen, Texas
- San Diego
- Fort Lauderdale
- Myrtle Beach
- Santa Ana
- New York JFK and LaGuardia
- Harlingen, Texas
- Oakland, California (I had to check to remind myself that American again flies here)
- Washington Dulles and National
- Westchester, New York
If you prepay for baggage and wind up with an agent who doesn’t think you’re already covered, here’s how it shows up in their systems:
Apparently pre-paid baggage gets tricky in irregular operations as the baggage payment can get disassociated from the itinerary.
Prepaid Bag EMDs are associated to the VCR, so when an itinerary is changed for a customer with PPBs, the EMD becomes disassociated. QIKCHK can adjust PPB EMDs when itinerary changes are needed for customers. Once the itinerary has been updated and the ticket reissued, QIKCHK will rebuild the AEs and EMDs as necessary in order to recognize the previously paid PPBs.
American used to let you prepay baggage over the phone for a flat $100 per bag, more than paying at the airport but exempt apparently from weighing the bag so it could save you money on overweight luggage. Now heavy and oversized bags are supposed to be checked by an agent. (Another prepaid baggage scenario that requires manual intervention by an agent is a pet checked as luggage. Not mentioned in the latest memo but most certainly also checking firearms would fall under this category.)