There’s debate over whether changes to the American Airlines Contract of Carriage (the adhesion contract you’re agreeing to when you buy a ticket) matter or not. The airline says they’re not obligated to put you on another airline when they cancel your flight, and won’t reimburse your hotel if you submit a receipt unless they’re legally required to do so.
It’s this system of providing hotel stays I want to touch on for a moment. The airline has been saying that the only way they will cover your hotel is if they provide you with a voucher.
The system that then makes a room available to you doesn’t always have inventory. Already-overworked agents are asked to call and ask for more inventory. Good luck getting them to do this, and good luck with it being successful.
In the past several months American hasn’t even been able to provide rooms to their own employees properly with flight attendants sleeping at the airport and a pilot without a room sleeping in a hotel lobby.
There haven’t been enough agents working at their outsourced providers, and there hasn’t been enough hotel room inventory either – people can find their own rooms, but American’s system will say there’s nothing available.
Internally, though, American even acknowledges that the system doesn’t always work in determining whether you’re eligible for a room in the first place.
This means you’re reliant on a sympathetic agent looking up details of what caused your delay, and risking being second guessed later for coding you as eligible.
If American was consistently and automatically able to provide people who should be provided with rooms with those rooms, saying they’ll only work through the app or else customers are on their own would be one thing. But they do not appear to be there at this point.
Of course you might not want to stay in the hotel that American is willing to provide for you. It’s often advisable to get your own anyway, and just be careful about what credit card you’ve used to purchase your ticket (one with trip delay coverage – which American’s Cit co-brand cards have eliminated) so you can send the bill to your card company rather than to American Airlines when your overnight delay is American’s fault.