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Big changes at AA - think twice.


FlyerTalker
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I have always been sceptical about posts saying "Don't fly XYZ airline".  However, some significant changes have happened at AA that should give folks some food for thought before buying a ticket from AA.  These are new revisions to their contract of carriage.

 

A few highlights:

 

AA disclaims any liability when "we (or our partners) cancel a flight or route"

 

If AA "or our airline partner fails to operate or delays your arrival more than 4 hours, our sole obligation is to refund the remaining ticket value and any optional fees according to our involuntary refunds policy."

 

The simple upshot is that AA is saying that they are not responsible to get you to your destination, and your only recourse is getting a refund.  They also made changes to their policies on hotels etc when there is trip disruption, as well as on reroutes.

 

A blog article on it can be found HERE.

 

The original source tweet and thread can be found HERE.

 

Caveat emptor.

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There is also this:

 

"By the way American’s two co-brand credit card issuers Citibank and Barclays have stopped offering travel protections when you buy tickets on their cards, so it’s not a good idea to buy American Airlines tickets with an American Airlines credit card – you give up trip delay and cancellation coverage (and lost and delayed bag coverage, too)."

[emphasis added]

 

from:

https://viewfromthewing.com/american-airlines-updates-its-rules-has-no-responsibility-for-delays-and-cancellations/

 

All of this is truly hard to believe.

What, for example, of a minor traveling unaccompanied, just "left" at some intermediate airport?  Really?

 

I'm afraid that IF this stands (and I sure hope it won't) that other airlines will obviously follow along.

 

SO glad we did so much of our "To Do" travel list already.

We may end up cashing in zillions of points, something I never expected we'd do, given the value we get by using them for top international carriers in First or Business.

 

Time to see what destinations are available on non-stop flights??  At least the downsides are less risky.  (I think?)

 

GC

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1 hour ago, GeezerCouple said:

Ah, I wonder what third party travel insurance will start doing...  

... or charging.

They'd have a lot more exposure.


GC

 

And, that insurance has been expensive enough as is.  (Certainly not beneficial for us senior citizens!)  

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This is very sad.   There was a time when Americans could feel relatively confident, when booking the major domestic airlines, that they would find a way to get you to your destination (even if delayed).   Many felt there was additional security by using a major airline that was part of a group with their partners being another option if things went south.  But it would seem that AA is now saying that partner airlines are no longer in play.  And what makes it worse is that if you are able to fly part of your route (only part way to your destination) then AA might try to argue that you are only entitled to a refund for the prorated portion of your route that has not been completed?  

 

What makes this even worse is that AA is the victim of their own over scheduling.  Yes, we know they have problems with crew shortages.  But that should be a factor when the airline publishes their schedule.  I have wondered for some time whether the 330 day advance scheduling standard has become a complete joke and this latest AA change seems to make that the case.  

 

Hank

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AA was actually doing rather well in the last week or two with cancellations.  My trips on AA this weekend came in early.   Southwest is still by far the worst of the worst.

 

Time to use up all of the SW and AA points and go with Delta.

 

The AA card is good for baggage fees but apparently not much else anymore.

Edited by NMTraveller
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21 minutes ago, NMTraveller said:

AA was actually doing rather well in the last week or two with cancellations.  My trips on AA this weekend came in early.   Southwest is still by far the worst of the worst.

 

Time to use up all of the SW and AA points and go with Delta.

 

The AA card is good for baggage fees but apparently not much else anymore.

 

At least those AA awards can be used on a variety of other partner/network airlines.

Although we've used well over 7 figures of AA awards points/miles in the past few years (along with similar from Amex), we've *never* actually used them to fly ON AA.  We've flown on a variety of partner airlines, or "partner of partner" airlines: transferring AA awards to Airline B and then booking through Airline B for flights on airline C.

 

Indeed, I can't even remember the last time we flew on AA itself.  It might have been about 7 or 8 years ago, when we spotted a domestic early departure with "F" for less than coach later that same day.  So we bit, and even my small-ish feet could not fit into the "foot cubby".  Yes, it was flat-bed, but we agreed "never again", and we've avoided AA ever since, including on domestic, despite DH's lifetime elite status on AA.  Those top international carriers are sooooo much better!  JetBlue usually gets our cash business for domestic, and we tried MINT for one longer haul flight.

Note:  That AA elite status does help with priority premium class seat choices on our awards flights on some other carriers, so it isn't useless.

 

My far bigger concern, IF these new rules hold (and even if some of the "most objectionable" parts are dropped), is what will other airlines start to do... in their ongoing race to the bottom of so-called "customer service"?

 

GC

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Hmmm.  Maybe if you are flying on an AA partner booked through AA, the partner will get you to where you are going in a timely manner... ?  

 

It seems like AA says we are not responsible.  They will not put you on the next available seat just the next AA seat or partner seat.  If one line is having issues this means that they will not put you on another airline?  This would be a no go for international travel for myself.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, NMTraveller said:

Hmmm.  Maybe if you are flying on an AA partner booked through AA, the partner will get you to where you are going in a timely manner... ?  

 

It seems like AA says we are not responsible.  They will not put you on the next available seat just the next AA seat or partner seat.  If one line is having issues this means that they will not put you on another airline?

 

 

 

I was definitely wondering about the same thing.  Would Cathay Pacific strand F passengers, for example?

One problem is that being "awards" means not really being a prize customer of the partner airline, however it is that the airlines reimburse (?) each other for transferring awards-for-tickets, etc.

 

We do our best no matter what to find nonstops, but for many foreign destinations that aren't major cities, that's just not possible on any airline.

 

Let's see how this plays out, and also how it works for international anyway.

 

GC

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18 hours ago, Ashland said:

A bit hard to only do non-stop on certain route's as some don't exist like the flights I just booked on AA for my March 2022 cruise from LAX-SJU.

 

Depending upon one's home airport, the only non-stops available are to the airlines' hubs.

 

20 hours ago, Hlitner said:

I have wondered for some time whether the 330 day advance scheduling standard has become a complete joke and this latest AA change seems to make that the case.  

 

I think that is the reason that changes in one's flight reservations happen so frequently.  

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21 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

Depending upon one's home airport, the only non-stops available are to the airlines' hubs.

 

 

I'm a Kansas City-based AA ExecPlat. I can get to a lot more places than I used to on AA (DFW, ORD, MIA, PHL, DCA, CLT, PHX...LGA and AUS just started) but yeah, they're pretty much either hubs or "focus" cities (for lack of a better term). I guess I can seasonally get to Cancun, but otherwise I'm going through a hub to get most places in the US, let alone international. 

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It seems that these rules apply for domestic flights only and that international flights are governed by other rules codified in treaties.  Is my interpretation correct?  Does anyone know what the differences might be generally? 

 

Regardless, the race to the bottom continues unabated.  

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On 9/6/2021 at 12:04 PM, FlyerTalker said:

I have always been sceptical about posts saying "Don't fly XYZ airline".  However, some significant changes have happened at AA that should give folks some food for thought before buying a ticket from AA.  These are new revisions to their contract of carriage.

 

A few highlights:

 

AA disclaims any liability when "we (or our partners) cancel a flight or route"

 

If AA "or our airline partner fails to operate or delays your arrival more than 4 hours, our sole obligation is to refund the remaining ticket value and any optional fees according to our involuntary refunds policy."

 

The simple upshot is that AA is saying that they are not responsible to get you to your destination, and your only recourse is getting a refund.  They also made changes to their policies on hotels etc when there is trip disruption, as well as on reroutes.

 

A blog article on it can be found HERE.

 

The original source tweet and thread can be found HERE.

 

Caveat emptor.

Thanks for the info. We are getting ready to book flights to Florida for January so this is timely info for us. Of course many contracts contain such disclaimers but the carrier still comes through, this appears to be an attempt to limit possible liability. Still I won't be personally testing that theory as long as other options exist (looking at you, Delta).

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OTOH, there is a point of view that this is a good thing and was an overdue clean-up of some ambiguous legal language.  Check crankyflier dot com for an explanation.  Also read the comments.

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3 hours ago, Fairgarth said:

there is a point of view that this is a good thing and was an overdue clean-up of some ambiguous legal language. 

 

But, if I am flying on a route from A to Z through hub Q and get "stuck" at Q with few other airlines serving hub Q, is it good customer service for AA to say:  touch luck; no responsibility on our part to get to destination Z?  

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1 hour ago, rkacruiser said:

 

But, if I am flying on a route from A to Z through hub Q and get "stuck" at Q with few other airlines serving hub Q, is it good customer service for AA to say:  touch luck; no responsibility on our part to get to destination Z?  

 

Looks like you haven't read Cranky.

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I do not think that Flyertalker's warning can be overstated.  That new AA language is huge!  Consider that for decades, folks assumed that when they took domestic flights their airline would somehow get them to their destination even if there were significant delays, a necessary change in airlines (generally partners), etc.  If heading to a cruise (or any trip) one felt relatively comfortable of reaching their destination although many of us have long suggested that cruisers always fly-in at least one day early.  But now we apparently run the risk of not even getting to our destination or having to scramble (on our own) to book some kind of alternative transportation at what could be very high last minute cost.  

 

The question (FlyerTalker might want to comment) is whether this is simply a temporary trend or some kind of new long term policy. 

 

Hank

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My local paper's Business section today reported that AA pilots are unhappy and are starting informational picketing at some AA hubs.  SWA's also are unhappy as well from what the article said.  

 

I think I would avoid AA and SWA like Covid-19 right now!  

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I put the chance of either airline being hit by a full-bore walkout at about zero.  There are way too many legal obstacles that would need to be overcome.

 

Now, there may be a lot of "work to rule", which could result in flight delays and some chaos, but the airlines will keep running.

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42 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

My local paper's Business section today reported that AA pilots are unhappy and are starting informational picketing at some AA hubs.  SWA's also are unhappy as well from what the article said.  

 

I think I would avoid AA and SWA like Covid-19 right now!  

Unhappy about what? Trying to built leverage for contract negotiations?

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