Well, it looks like American has added some restrictions to their same day confirmed change policy, which isn’t great.
American improved same day confirmed changes in 2015
American in many ways improved their AAdvantage elite program in 2015, as they’ve introduced complimentary same day confirmed changes for Executive Platinum members. Previously there was a $75 charge for making such a change, which all other passengers still have to pay.
This was more American playing catch up than anything else, given that Alaska, Delta, and United all have significantly more generous same day change policies. Though I suppose American’s policy is still better than US Airways’, as they only allow same day changes to an earlier flight and at the airport (US Airways should adopt American’s system when the reservations systems merge in October).
Current same day confirmed change policy is confusing
Truth be told, I really still don’t get American’s same day confirmed change policy.
Per the terms, all that’s required is that the alternative flight:
- Has the same origin and destination
- Is for the same calendar day of departure
- Has eligible seats available
Something they’ve never publicly defined is what constitutes an “eligible available seat.” While American in theory lets you make same day confirmed changes online, rarely do all options show up.
Then when you call it’s a case of “hang up and call again.” Some agents think the same fare class is needed to make the change. Others don’t. Some have claimed that the routing had to remain the same. Others don’t.
So the system was always a bit more complicated in practice than on paper, unfortunately.
New same day confirmed change restrictions
- Same-Day Flight Change is only available on flights operated and marketed by American Airlines or American Eagle.
- Same-Day Flight Change is non-refundable and non-transferable.
- Same-Day Flight Change is offered on select routes and is subject to availability.
- Customers using Same-Day Flight Change may only change to earlier or later flights that have the same routing, number of connections, and cannot change to a co-terminal in a multi city airport.
- Passengers who purchase Same-Day Flight Change and are unable to use it due to a flight cancellation, or missed connection due to a late incoming flight are eligible for a refund. For more information related to refunds please visit https://prefunds.aa.com/refunds/help.
- This offer is made at American Airlines discretion and is subject to change or termination at any time with or without notice to the customer.
That fourth bullet point is especially interesting, as it seems to be a fairly new restriction:
Customers using Same-Day Flight Change may only change to earlier or later flights that have the same routing, number of connections, and cannot change to a co-terminal in a multi city airport.
So now you can’t change the connecting point, routing, or change to a co-terminal airport.
For example, in the past I’ve changed a Dallas to Miami to Tampa flight to a nonstop Dallas to Tampa flight. And I’ve changed a Tampa to Chicago to Los Angeles flight to a Tampa to Dallas to Los Angeles flight. So no longer being able to do that is quite a negative change, especially when you factor in:
- Often weather is a motivating factor for wanting to change your connecting point (for example, in winter wanting to go through Dallas rather than Chicago)
- Many routes only have once daily service, so by not allowing a change in connecting points American is basically eliminating any sort of same day changes on those routings
This is no doubt a negative change. I’m not someone who uses same day confirmed changes a ton, given that you’re often less likely to get an upgrade if switching flights last minute. That being said, this will certainly impact me, as I’ve made several same day changes to routes and even number of stops.
What remains to be seen is how consistently these new rules will be enforced, given that there seemed to even be confusion over the old rules.
Will these changes to American’s same day confirmed change policy impact you?