They called it a merger but in reality US Airways acquired American Airlines. And while I’m hopeful that at a macro level Doug Parker and Scott Kirby understand the new business airline they’re running is different than the carrier with weak domestic hubs and needs to be run differently…
… Even if that is the case there will be changes. And real scrutiny will come to all aspects of the airline.
I noticed myself searching for flights, and then saw it mentioned at TravelingBetter that American no longer offers to ‘hold’ reservations within 7 days of travel.
Federal rules require an airline to either allow customers to cancel tickets purchased within 24 hours, or hold those tickets for 24 hours, but the rules only require that when travel booked is more than 7 days away.
Most airlines go beyond this and allow cancellation beyond this 7 day window. You know who doesn’t? US Airways.
Incidentally, the US Airways refund rule “does not apply to Dividend Miles award tickets.” (US Airways allows awards to be held for up to 3 days.)
I believe that many online travel agencies will cancel US Airways tickets within 24 hours of purchase even within that 7 day window — here is Priceline’s policy which spells out exceptions and doesn’t list US Airways as an exception.
If you booked a disclosed itinerary reservation within the past 24 hours, please phone us prior to 11:30 pm ET (and at least one 1 hour before departure or check-in) and we’ll give you a full refund on unused tickets with no cancellation fees from priceline.com or the airline. Refunds are subject to airline approval and do not apply to tickets booked on Air India, JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, tickets booked using our Name Your Own Price ®, undisclosed itinerary or Vacation Package services.
So what am I afraid of next?
Well, I’m concerned that even though – for now – US Airways is aligning itself to American’s meal policies, I expect both airlines to become less generous with first class meals come the fall. Remember, US Airways elites are hungry.
And purchasing a ticket on the US Airways website last night I was reminded that even top tier elites are charged for some coach seats!
Mind you American has extra legroom seats (US Airways announced that they will add the same). Coach seats on a US Airways flight generally aren’t ‘better’ other than being a window, aisle, and/or closer to the front. And yet a US Airways 100,000 mile flyer can’t reserve just any coach seat for free.
Orange seats are ‘preferred’ seats that elites can book for free.
Green seats are ‘choice’ seats that elites have to pay for.
This certainly isn’t what I’m used to. And I really hope it doesn’t spread to American.