Starting today, American Airlines is changing its 24-hour hold process. Before you get worried, it’s not actually going anywhere.
The Department of Transportation requires all airlines that operate within the U.S. to offer a 24-hour get out of jail card for ticket buyers. Meaning, most travelers can cancel their ticket and are entitled to a full refund back as long as the reservation is booked seven days or more in advance (exact policies vary by airline).
American is changing how they approach this process. Up until now, every airline except American Airlines has offered this policy by requiring travelers to call or actively cancel the ticket after it has been bought. American Airlines previously differed by only offering a hold—once bought, you’re done—and has confused more than one person I know. After this, all the domestic airlines should be universally consistent on how they handle this DOT rule, so in my mind, it’s a positive step.
There are two minds of it, though. Ben Schlappig from One Mile at a Time notes:
I’d definitely consider this to be a negative change, though at the same time it’s something I really can’t blame American for — if I were running an airline I’d probably do the same thing. I hold revenue tickets on American all the time, and it’s such a handy feature. I know many people will hold tickets day after day as a means of locking in the price without having to ticket, and then seeing if the fare drops later… A 24-hour hold is easy since you can just let it expire, while most airlines which let you refund within 24 hours require you to call, which is a pain.
But depends on how you look at it.
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