American Will No Longer Be As Flexible With Same Day Changes When You Call Reservations

American Airlines is already a lot stricter with same day confirmed changes than their competitors are.

  • Only Platinum Pro, Executive Platinum and ConciergeKey members can same day change for free, everyone else pays $75.

  • You have to keep the same number of stops and keep the same connecting city or cities. You can’t connect in Dallas instead of Chicago. You can’t move to a non-stop flight from a connection or vice versa.

And you can only make a same day change when specific inventory is available. That’s the ‘E’ fare bucket. So there may be seats available, and seats even if the same fare class as your ticket, but if American doesn’t make specific inventory for same day changes available you won’t be able to do it.

Historically reservations agents have been able to confirm you with a same day change even if some other rules aren’t met. The website won’t offer this to you, and kiosks wouldn’t either, but phone agents might do it.

Consistent with the American’s overall move to limit agent flexibility they’ve changed how reservations agents process same day standby.

There is no de jure change here, but a de facto change in what reservations agents will be able to do for customers. They’ll no longer be able to ignore other business rules when E inventory is available. According to a spokesperson,

Overall, we have not changed the policy or criteria regarding same day flight changes.

What we did do was change the way the system used by Reservations checks for availability on same day flight changes. Previously, the system always checked whether E inventory was available [update: along with “other criteria”]. Now it checks the full list of requirements, such as whether the itinerary (with connections) was available, had bags been checked, etc.

The end result may be that some same day flight changes that might have been allowed by reservations previously, are not being allowed. In cases where it may not be available, reservations can offer and complete transactions for same day standby. Previously for same day standby, the customer had to check at the airport for same day standby.

Kiosks and airports already checked availability using the same policies, nothing has changed there.

(HT: xJonNYC)

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. Kinda makes sense, but still bad that they’re such sticklers for rules that are out of line with their competitors.

  2. Plat Pro get free same day change too, unless they are stripping that benefit away too?

  3. @perryplatypus – yes, correct, thanks. i have the name “platinum pro” so much i just have a block against it I think

  4. Gary, do you know if I’m booked on an “i” fare and there is “i” space later in the day I would be able to confirm on to that flight? Or would there have to be “e” AND “i” space available in order to SDC my discount biz fare to another discount biz fare? I did this for a recent JFK-LAX flight and am hoping to change to a later flight that day.

  5. One thing that really annoys me with SDFC is that ‘day’ is (or at least was last time I came across this situation) defined as midnight to midnight rather than 6 am to 6am which American use in other cases (such as Admirals club day access). This means, for example, that if you’re booked on the 12:30ish am SFO->DFW flight and want to move to an earlier one you can’t.

  6. Sad to see further dehumanization of AA’s human resources. It’s no wonder that some the front line folks we encounter every day so often seem crabbier than their counterparts on some other airlines. Moves like this are management telling their human employees (well at least the front-line ones) that they are respected and trusted and, at the end of the day, valued no more than a machine.

  7. this is one aspect where UA definitely shines above all competitors – the others “offer” a benefit that is nearly impossible for all conditions to be met, while UA’s SDC is far more flexible.

    one of the best uses would be pre-emptively re-routing yourself against poor weather at a connecting hub. If ORD looks bad, UA’s SDC lets you go DEN or IAH if there are seats (they require your bucket too but those actually open up instead of being phantom), while AA’s version is forcing you to go to ORD, and deal with the issue there, alongside the dozens or hundreds at the rebooking desk.

  8. Another day…another reason why one should NEVER pay their hard earned money to fly this crappy airline!

    Yet another example of the penalties/onerous cost arising from a lack of meaningful competition in our country’s cartelized skies.

    Don’t worry, they’ll be even more fees, penalties, punishments and cartel “taxes” that we all pay for allowing this desperate lack of competition to continue unchecked and unabated.

    Only fools, or of course, the the profiteers whom are benefitting from these abusive pricing practices and oligopolist business models, see nothing wrong with having this critical sector of our nation’s economy hijacked by those who’s idea of “competition” is defined as who can screw their passengers best – and get away with it – instead of who can offer the best product possible for fair fares!

    As the past has shown, airlines as horrible as American now is would fail…but because American has limited, if any, meaningful competition to worry about, it gets away with literally having planes so awful, even the CEO doesn’t want to fly ‘em bc options are so few, and the need is there even if the product offered sucks bigly.

    Which, of course, begs the question: if the CEO doesn’t bother flying the crappy planes he’s buying (when he flies for free!), why should ANYONE else bother flying the crappy planes at his crappy airline?

    Just sayin’ 😉

  9. When we thought an industry low couldn’t go lower…

    AA’s standby and SDFC sucks. I have only been able to use this benefit once in 4 years as EXP. being based in PIT pretty much rules out this benefit 95% of the time for me.

  10. instead of whining, you should be saying “Thank you sir, may I have another!”

  11. Actually @Joseph as you’ll see the information in this post WASN’T on Flyertalk, and the Flyetalk thread you link to cites this post as having new information on the topic!

  12. I am always amazed when an airline lets empty seats fly with people willing to fill those seats left behind at the gate. Such huge win-win to fill seats. Next flight could have a mechanical. Next flight’s seats could be sold. Goodwill for the airline with the customer who got home early.

  13. There goes a prime reason to choose AA over cheaper competitors on JFK-LAX/SFO. I’m no longer loyal to AA, but preferred AA due to the schedule and the ability to easily change to an earlier flight if I am able to make it to the airport earlier than expected. If I can’t do this, I might as well fly Jet Blue or Virgin . . . especially since I haven’t had an upgrade clear on this route in donkey’s years (I have like 90 unused upgrade certs in my account).

  14. @Gary the news that you “reported” is the exact same thing that is said in the first post of the FT thread. “When she came back, she told me that an update went into effect June 8 in which CFC availability is dictated by some automated system rather than E availability.”

    The FT thread cites this post after it was published (obviously). I can’t see what exact time you published the article, but JonNYC offers a much more detailed explanation than what you offer from the AA spokesperson.

    Is it that hard to cite all your sources?

  15. @Joseph – 1) no, it isn’t. 2) i report detail that wasn’t in that thread (which i hadn’t read when i posted this) 3) i cited jonnyc 4) i wrote this before he shared additional details though 5) there’s stuff here in this post that isn’t in his tweets

    Not sure why the nuance escapes you here.

  16. What do you report in detail? That the process changed? (The exact same thing that the thread says?)

    I cannot comment on whether or not you read the thread before posting or on timing issues because there is no timestamp on the post.

    In the thread, Jon reports exactly what the new options are (as does his tweet). The only thing stated in this post is that an AA spokesperson confirmed the change (that SDFC no longer only correlates to E inventory being available.)

    In any event, I do not think we will see eye to eye on this.

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