With American’s New Policy, Flight Delays Are About to Get Worse

Not an elite traveler? Prepare to be stuck.

October 2, 2018 9:00 am

When a flight is delayed or canceled, it’s usually in the best interest of the airline to get you where you’re going, even if it’s with a different carrier.

Not if you fly American Airlines. According to a new policy, you may not get rebooked on another airline during a major delay unless you have a ridiculously high status with the airline.

According to posts by Twitter user JonNYC (and published on Boarding Area), in the case of “irregular operations/schedule irregularity,” elite status passengers will get priority for rebooking on other flights or carriers. As reporter Gary Leff breaks it down, only 75,000-mile elites and above will be re-accommodated on other airlines in case of a delay, along with three-cabin first-class passengers. Other elites and business class/domestic first-class passengers will only get placed on other airlines if there are delays of five hours or more.

Everyone else (and not just Basic Economy) is stuck with American, no matter how long it takes.

While this seems like awful PR, the blog Cranky Flier says its not quite as bad as it seems. American’s agents can still rebook passengers on partner airlines, and the “policy is made for exceptions.” As well, the policy isn’t technically “new” — the airline didn’t have a set policy for accommodating passengers, and now they at least have a framework, terrible or not.

Still, even with a wide list of exceptions — pretty none of which I’d meet, ever — this is a potential nightmare, particularly as we head into holiday travel and the weather turns for the worse.

Photo: Tevin Belasco/Creative Commons


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