Cheaper American Airlines Fares Are About To Become Easier To Book

Vasu Raja is out at American Airlines, and with that his push to drive customers away – managed corporate customers, but also customers booking through travel agencies that weren’t adopting the airline’s preferred technologies – are going away, too. American no longer plans to restrict mileage-earning on certain travel agency tickets, calling off their “brilliant evil gambit.”.

According to CEO Robert Isom at the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference this morning, they’re going to “get back on the road” to sell to corporate customers. The airline has shed sales staff, and also support staff for agencies.

Another element of the shift in strategy to “more carrots than sticks” in getting agencies to adopt New Distribution Capability – selling American ancillaries like paid seats, and at lower cost – is that they will restore the lowest fares to all agencies.

American Airlines has limited access to its lowest fares from certain sites who weren’t using the airline’s preferred technology. Isom though says that they “have to make sure our product is for sale through all channels” and that this is something they plan to do quickly.

This matters a lot not just for corporate travelers, for whom American has frequently been too expensive seeing only more expensive fares, but also to frequent flyers when points booking portals (using points to purchase paid airfares) have shown only more expensive tickets on American, too.

We can expect that booking portals will once again have access to American’s lowest fares.

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 travel portal at my company stopped selling American Airlines fares (well not entirely, you just needed a special exemption to book AA). I found this to be ridiculous, because my company is based in PHL and we need to travel to other branches in SFO, ORD, MSP, DFW, ATL, CLT, and BOS, STL, and MCI. Half of those do not have direct flights on legacy carriers. Glad to see it may return.

  2. And what happens to the sloppy new AAdvantage business program?

    Can’t book two seats on one itinerary.

    Can’t book an open-jaw itinerary, which can mean MUCH higher fares for cities in Europe.

  3. Can’t say enough enough bad things about AAdvantage Business…staffed by bots and designed by people that don’t travel. A complete miss.
    Maybe someone will see the light and bring back a reincarnated AAirPass program. We can always hope…

  4. Any idea when these fares will be restored? I have a business trip I need to book in the next few days.

  5. Too much revenue going to UA and DL.
    Now, if they could only improve the onboard experience. That’s the key to repeat bookings.

  6. Being at war with your customers and your employees at the same time doesn’t work. I mean, maybe alternately like EA or even NW, but at the same time never works out.

  7. This is a good start. As @paperboardingpass says, improve the onboard experience.
    Maybe, Brady Byrnes is the next one on the chopping block.

  8. I wouldn’t look entirely at Vasu …..all this was pushed by Stephen Johnson more than likely — see his bio and background. + higher management certainly bought in on this. Ironic their annual meeting/shareholders meeting is today – 29May.

  9. Why would you want to book with Pedo American Airlines
    where they record your children in the restroom?

  10. The low fates hopefully will match their frontier airlines service already in place . Worst customer experience for a “major carrier”

  11. The lowering of their premium rates is a move to match their current discount airlines service already in place. Horrible customer service experience around the globe.

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