If American Airlines can deceive this passenger, imagine what it can do to you

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By | February 21st, 2016

I’m not one to beat a dead horse, and after writing about American Airlines’ deceptive hold policy and following up with a convincing rebuttal to my critics, I could have sworn I saw that equine cadaver lying belly-up near a DFW cargo terminal.

But no.

Now, you know that after the slew of toxic comments from American Airlines automatons, I would probably be reluctant to wade back into these muddy waters. And I was — until I heard from Anna Eppink.

“I’ve found myself suckered in on American Airlines’ hold fare policy, rather than 24-hour cancellation,” she says. “Of course, they refuse to refund my ticket value. Nor does it seem they even read my complaints about how poor the hold option is implemented on their website.”

To recap, American is the only legacy carrier that doesn’t refund your ticket purchase within 24 hours. Instead, it offers a series of exotic “hold” options — which it’s allowed to do under Transportation Department regulations — designed, some say, to confuse passengers into believing they have a day to get a full refund. Instead, these passengers have made a nonrefundable purchase.

The arguments for American’s policy include:

  • It’s superior than offering a refund, since no money changes hands.
  • It existed before the DOT got involved in regulating this issue, and therefore represents the free market at its best.
  • The people who feel deceived by it deserve to have their money taken, because they don’t bother to do their research and are inexperienced gate lice.

I have my own opinions, of course. If it’s so superior, then why not offer both a hold and a 24-hour refund, and let’s find out how great customers think it is? What does the world’s largest and one of its most profitable carriers have to lose? The existing policy means absolutely nothing except that some of my critics don’t have anything better to do than study and memorize airline policies.

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But the one that really makes my blood boil is this notion that Ma and Pa Kettle somehow deserve to be taken by this policy because they aren’t careful readers. It’s the assumption that only inexperienced and stupid occasional fliers would get suckered by American Airlines’ “hold” policy.

And that’s simply wrong.

“I was booking flights from San Diego to Jacksonville,” says Eppink. “I did not know American had a hold option. Now I realize it’s on the far-right side of the screen on the payment page. I often split my screen, so I’m not even sure I would have seen the option. If the options are to pay or to hold, I would expect the hold option to be separate from payment options. Reading other articles online, it appears I’m not the only one.”

Eppink changed her mind on the flight, tried to cancel and discovered she’d paid for a nonrefundable ticket. Sorry, no 24 hours for you.

So why am I telling you about this? Because Eppink is no kettle. In fact, she’s a former airline customer service agent.

She’s also been long-time US Airways frequent flier, since before the airline acquired American Airlines and changed its reservation policies without so much as a notification. “I guess this is how they treat long time US Airways customers who have now converted to American,” she says.

So if you can dupe a former employee and a loyal customer, I wonder: Who else is being hoodwinked by American’s “hold” policy?

It’s time for the DOT to close the American Airlines loophole, when it comes to “hold” policies. It’s the right thing to do. Apparently, American doesn’t know right from wrong, so now the government has to tell it. What’s this world coming to?

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  • mbgaskins

    Whiners. I have used the hold option many times and find it very clear. This is just people being lazy and trying to blame everyone else for their mistakes. Sometime people just need to stand up and say I screwed up and it is my fault.

  • Rebecca

    I actually think the “hold” option is far superior to paying and then cancelling. American is 100% correct in their argument that no money changes hands. I wish all airlines did it this way. I’m also quite sure if they did away with the hold button, we’d all hear complaints that it’s gone and (like with everything else) that it took a few days to get a refund.

    Frankly, I just don’t agree with the argument here. I’m not a frequent flier (I fly every 2-3 months) and I’ve never worked for an airline. But no matter what I’m purchasing, if there’s some reason I may need to cancel, I check out the cancellation policy. That’s just common sense. It isn’t like it’s buried 5 clicks in here, looking for max 30 seconds before you click “buy” is not unreasonable for any purchase.

  • AAGK

    At this point in the debate, I have to agree with you. While I prefer the hold option and believe most consumers would, they need to know it is available. As these cases roll in, it is evident that AA’s website is not user friendly. One would think that AA would broadcast its superior policy loud and clear. The fact that it does not make these declarations and highlight the hold optio supports Elliott’s position that it may be trying to pull a fast one or at least confuse its passengers in some way.

  • John Keahey

    So now it’s “automatons” rather than “apologists” for the people who disagree with you, eh Elliott? Classy.

  • Alan Gore

    I don’t see a need to eliminate the hold policy, but to make it more plain on the booking site. Considered in isolation, a 24-hour hold policy actually makes more sense than 24-hour refund, and it was DOT which created the problem by not mandating one or the other when it formulated the 24-hour rule. As we found out last week there are foreign airlines departing from the US which also observe 24-hour hold, and if it were easy to tell which airline was which online, we would have fair competition between the two policies. I would love to see more airlines going to 24-hour hold.

    That said, you have a point in that people who love confusing rules so they can game them would like to see continued lack of clarity, for it gives them an advantage over hoi polloi.

  • MarkKelling

    The main issue with the AA hold policy is that is different than the industry norm, right or wrong. Sure it works great for those passengers who are aware it works the way it does, but if you are an infrequent flyer and an even more infrequent AA flyer it is very easy to overlook the hold button on the purchase page.

    I would have zero problem with the hold option IF AA were to make the hold option more prominent on the web page. Maybe they could have a separate line with just the hold button (they used to!) and maybe some text that does NOT require you to mouse over the button that said “Choose this option if you may need to change your travel plans.” or “For the 24-hour cancellation option, choose Hold.” The fact that AA does nothing on its webpage to identify the hold option as an option males me and most others out there believe they do this as a way to keep more money from uninformed customers, not because it works better for the customers.

  • jim6555

    People think that they understand the cancellation policy because every other US based airline has a 24 hour, no questions asked refund policy. Since American’s policy is different from all of the others, they owe it to the public to make their non-conforming policy clear to all ticket purchasers.

    Here’s an example of expectations and reality. You go to the mall during your lunch hour and want to purchase a pair of slacks. You find slacks that you like a store that you’ve never shopped at before. Because you need to get back to work, you decide to purchase the slacks and try them on when you get home. That evening, you do try them on and decide that they don’t look right on you. The next day, you’re back at the store and go to the service desk. The clerk says, “sorry, no refunds”. You say “what do you mean no refunds. Every other clothing store in this mall has a 14 day or more refund policy.I just bought these here yesterday” The clerk points to a tiny sign on the wall behind her that explains their refund policy. It says that the moment that payment is made, you own the item. The store will allow you to exchange your merchandise if you pay a $200 service fee. The slacks cost less than $50. You leave the store, thinking about which charity you are going to donate the slacks to so that, at least, you can salvage a tax write off. You believe that you have been cheated and vow never to return to that store again.

  • cscasi

    Or, when you are purchasing the slacks at the checkout counter, the prudent thing for you to do is ask the sales clerk what the store’s return policy is before finishing the transaction; especially since this is the first time you have ever shopped at this store.

  • Rebecca

    But here’s the thing. I would ask. Maybe that’s just me. But I think it’s common sense. Of there’s a chance I’d return something I bought, I would ask.

  • cscasi

    Good comments on what folks think AA should do to make the “hold” feature better understood/what it is for, making it more prominent on its website and why you feel it “hidden” and why you feel the website is NOT user friendly. So, how many of you have written American Airlines and given it a good explanation of why you feel it should make changes to better benefit those making reservations online on its website? If any have, what responses have you gotten back? Further, have any of you written to the American Airlines executive in charge of this area for his thoughts/comments? Just curious.

  • Mundane Lustrator

    Your compassion towards fellow travelers is noted.

  • The Original Joe S

    Thanks to all for this information. AA will be off my ‘scope.

  • pauletteb

    Thank you for using “hoi polloi” correctly; the term gets misused as frequently as “penultimate.”

  • Bill___A

    It should all be the same for every airline. I have said this before. And it should be the 24 hour full refund option.

  • Bill___A

    The hold option doesn’t tie up the customer’s money and although I don’t have a problem with the hold option being available (as long as the refund option is also available as an alternative not as a subsequent option), the hold option is more subject to possible abuse.

  • KennyG

    While the last go around there were many differing opinions on AA’s hold policy, and IMHO some valid points on both sides [personally I cannot remember the last time I flew AA], I have to say your opening salvo calling any comment disagreeing with your position as a “toxic comment”, and the disagreeing commenters themselves being called “American Airlines automatons” seems to be a bit off putting and derisive to anyone who might actually see value in AA’s policy and expressed it both then and now. Just one persons opinion of course, you are after all a consumer advocate, but some of the folks you spoke of in those terms are also consumers, some of whom find AA’s policy actually good for them. Perhaps I misread or misinterpreted your meaning.

  • MF

    Another ‘rules is rules’ judgmental kinda guy. The rest of us should all just admit that you are mentally superior, well at least more arrogant. Not everyone is as great as you, bubba.

  • JewelEyed

    Seriously? How would anyone ever make that mistake?

  • mbgaskins

    That’s the problem. I NEVER said I was mentally superior and Frankly I am not. I am NOT great just an average guy. Arrogant? Hmm. Well I guess I could be I don’t know. What I do know is that the policy is clear, the hold button is clear, the time of the hold is clear once you get the hold, and by the way I usually get until midnight the following day which is more than 24 hours, and I don’t have to give them a credit card for the hold… Only when I am ready to actually purchase. When you make a reservation you get three choices… Purchase with CC, purchase with an AA account, or hold. It’s that simple. Do you have to be superior or great to pick one of those options?

  • MarkKelling

    Yes, when I purchased a ticket on AA and needed to cancel, found I couldn’t, I wrote them a note from the online customer service page (after trying for over 4 hours to get someone on the the phone willing to talk to me and having no success). The almost immediate response was “Thank you for contacting American Airlines with your concern. We take all comments seriously and will fully investigate your issue.” Three weeks later, I got an email that basically said Too bad we got your money and we refuse to give it back. “We sincerely hope you will choose us the next time you fly.” I have not chosen them since.

  • judyserienagy

    I wish that people who are DIY booking on the internet would learn to scrutinize everything, be sure you’re looking at the full screen, double and triple check details before pushing that BUY button. I fly United almost exclusively, but the other day I was booking a short little trip on another airline, and their website was “very confusing”. No, their website isn’t confusing, I was the one who had to look 6 times at everything because it was unfamiliar to me. It’s not the airline’s fault, it MY responsibility to be sure that, to put it bluntly, I know what I’m doing. Don’t THINK you know what you’re doing, be SURE that you know what you’re doing.

  • MarkKelling

    Yes, I agree that you should never “assume” anything. But is there anything wrong with web sites more clearly indicating what options you have at purchase time especially if one of those options is counter to what nearly every other merchant in that category does?

  • polexia_rogue

    I agree AA using the 24 hour hold rule is legit and fair BUT allot of people use 3rd party sites and are like- “get me the cheapest possible price! is that it?- I’ll take it!”

    without realizing that AA is different. to me it’d like the mandatory resort fees at hotels. they are displayed, any one who does any kind of research knows they are there– but then there are those who scroll down to the “click the box if you understand”- then complain that they didn’t read.

    so either the gov will have to ask AA to get rid of the hold option or put it on the top of every page of every possible 3rd party travel site- like a banner ad in 200 pt font,

  • jmj

    There are 2 issues at play. Yours, is that bc aa is different the onus is therefore on them to explain their difference. Preposterous. This logic will lead to all sorts of nonsensical results.

    As the earlier commenter mentioned, it only takes a few minutes to easily find and understand the cancellation policies.

    The other issue at play is the one mentioned in the article: is American being deceptive? The anecdote itself mentions the error of the customer. “I often split my screen…” Should AA be held accountable when you shrink your screen too? How about if you didn’t scroll down far enough. This is a case of user error.

    There are plenty of issues to be critical of the travel industry. This is not one of them. AA’s hold policy is extremely clear and unambiguous.

    Consumers need to be wise without resorting to entitlement critiques.

  • jmj

    Why?

    All businesses strive to differentiate themselves from their competitors. This is AA’s way. being different is not bad.

  • You knew the hold option was there. For those of us who didn’t, and did not see HOLD at the end of the row (as the OP even states about the split screen,) it’s NOT as simple. I was relying on my knowledge of the fact that there is a 24 hr refund on cc purchases and now I believe AA takes advantage of this by putting the HOLD option last. If anything, it should be first, or it should be clearly stated at the beginning of the booking process. There’s no doubt in my mind that they benefit financially by being surreptitious about their hold policy.

  • I consider myself an educated traveler and it’s not the hold policy itself that upsets me, it’s the lack of clarity. I was duped by this just last summer, as I knew that there is a law about refunding cc flight reservations within 24 hours, but had no clue about American’s hold policy. The fact that it’s all the way over to the far right at the bottom of the booking page is not by chance, it’s absolutely misleading, in my opinion.

    To all those commenters who use it often, yes, it’s easy for you to see because you know where it is. For those of us who never used it before, it’s NOT clear. Why would I expect to see anything other than credit/debit card choices at the bottom if I don’t know about a “hold policy”? God only knows how much money AA has made off this policy (I know they have $150 from me, and what about those who possibly reserved four international flights for a family, for example). After calling AA and getting an absolute “no” on a credit (I didn’t even ask for a refund), I wrote to several “higher ups” listed on Elliott.org explaining my situation, only to be completely ignored. Does this endear me to AA? I would love nothing more than to never give them another penny in future. I’m disgusted.

  • This is a good analogy, except I would say that you’re aware that the mall has a 14 day refund policy and that’s why you wouldn’t ask at the checkout “what’s your return policy?” You return the next day to discover that there’s a loophole in that return policy. Then the analogy would be even better.

  • Agreed. Now that I know about the hold policy, I prefer it, since there’s no cancelling a credit card transaction. However, AA definitely is being sly and deceptive in its lack of clarity.

  • Yes, I have (see my comment above). They completely ignored me, not even a “we received your email” email! Just another mark against them in my book.

  • At least they responded to you. I did the same and got nothing.

  • jim6555

    If the policy is “clear and unambiguous”, then why are consumers contacting Chris Elliott to say that they didn’t understand it when they booked their travel and asking for help getting a refund?

  • just me

    1966 Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, adopted by many states within their respective statutes, defines a deceptive trade practice if it:
    – …engages in any other conduct which similarly creates a likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding.

    In Covenant Radio, Justice Parskey of Connecticut wrote:
    “For a trade practice to be deceptive, it must have a tendency and capacity to deceive the consumer.”
    “Subjective intent to deceive on the part of the individual or business engaged in the challenged practice need not be established.”
    “Additionally, the consumer must be deceived in his initial contact with the challenged practice.”

    So for the uber-mensh @mbgaskins – there is no requirement for me to be smart like you – all it takes to break the written and common law is that my dumb self is confused for the company to be engaged in the unethical and illegal practice.

    And you uber-mensh @mbgaskins stop bragging how uber you are.

  • jmj

    Just because someone contacts Chris does not make their case legitimate.

    Chris does fantastic work. One of my favorite blogs. I’ve learned a lot how to navigate through travel. The biggest take-away? Read everything before purchasing!

  • Mel65

    I usually use a corporate travel agency, but the few times I’ve booked myself for vacation, etc.. it has seemed pretty clear, as I’m deciding on which flight to take and clicking on my choices in the box, a note pops up or is at the top of the fare selection to the effect that, “You can hold this fare for 24 hours without pentalty” or some such thing. I much prefer holding a fare an NOT putting a hold on my credit card and having to wait for it to fall off. But, that’s just me. I do find it odd though, how many people just BUY things without looking fully into the purchase–especially somethng as potentially expensive as an airline ticket.

  • mythsayer

    Here’s the thing…when you see the hold button, if you saw it, does it say “the DOT allows you to HOLD this ticket for 24 hours before you pay. If you don’t come back and pay, the seat will be returned to inventory. If you complete the purchase NOW, the ticket is purchased and non-refundable. If you are unsure, HOLD the ticket instead of purchasing.”

    The reason I ask is because people could also think that they DO have two options. A hold option in no way means the 24 hour purchase rule isn’t also in play. The only way you’d know that is if you knew the content of the law allowing either one. And it’s unreasonable to expect people to know specifics like that UNLESS THEY ARE SPECIFICALLY TOLD. And the airline is the one who needs to tell them. With other airlines, I have ONE option – purchase. If I need to cancel I’m covered. As soon as I have TWO options, I’m entitled to a specific explanation of each from the merchant.

    Anything less is a misleading business practice.

  • Lindabator

    there are five buttons to choose from: credit/debit card — 6 month financing — paypal — gift card/evoucher — hold —– NOT deceptive at all, just lazy

  • Lindabator

    what COULD be clearer than 5 options, with one being HOLD?

  • Lindabator

    merely “hover” over the hold button and it explains the policy — not too difficult. as if it WAS different (no one else offers to hold), wouldn’t you take a second to check?

  • Scott Fagen

    I’ve placed two images in this post. The first is “full width” showing the price and the “hold button” underneath. The second is what happens when you squash the browser so you can’t see everything to the right.

    Note that when you cannot see the hold button, you also cannot see the price; you _must_ scroll to the right to see the price, which will reveal the hold button, as well.

  • MarkKelling

    What COULD be clearer is to have the HOLD option listed separately from the PURCHASE options. Put a note on the web page next to the HOLD button that says “IF you feel your plans may change, chose HOLD instead of one of the purchase options as purchases are final.” Give us idiots a little help.

  • PolishKnightUSA

    I like the intent but I don’t know how AA designs the system. Do they set it up to allow the “hold” to either expire or result in a purchase of the ticket? The “gotcha” here is that people may fear that they “hold” a ticket, get busy the next day, and the hold expires and they lose their seat.

    So the solutoin is clear in this case: American should design the hold to be the default with the customer choosing whether to allow the hold to expire if unused (and the option to cancel sooner to be a good consumer) OR by default to charge the CC after 24 hours.

    American clearly knows that would make the system more consumer friendly hence they didn’t set it up that way. They want customers to worry they’ll hit a snag during the final process so they agree to buy the ticket outright.

    All that said, technically, whether the hold exists or not does NOT excuse American from its obligations. The LAW says that if you BUY a ticket, you get a 24 hour opportunity for a refund. Period.

  • PolishKnightUSA

    And better yet… PRINT IT OUT and take with you. Print out the TSA guidelines so if a particular agent argues with you about whether your 3oz tube of toothpaste has to be factory sealed or not, you’ll win that argument. If your flight is delayed, cancelled, or bumped, have a copy of the contract of carriage relevant to your situation. Even if it gives you little leeway, at least having it should impress a recalcitrant gate agent to get help get some better treatment.

  • PolishKnightUSA

    I miss our resident legal expert. He could be persnickity, but he was a good source of truth on the law.

    If the Law says that refunds in a particular case need to be offered after payment, then all the hidden print in the world doesn’t change that. A company usually cannot void a right except under the most special of circumstances. For example, why not hide in fine print that the planes won’t have seatbelts? Federal LAW says there’s a refund after 24 hours of payment. If American’s “hold” is voiding that, then they’re (probably) in violation of the law.

    I’m chuckling because this particular example (slacks) reminds me of a famous legal case in DC where a federal judge decided to fight a local drycleaner over his lost pants and sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

  • Mondo Earnhardt

    what the?

  • BMG4ME

    I can’t understand how having the money deducted from your credit card and then having to request a refund and having faith that will actually happen, can be better than having the option to hold the ticket without having to pay, when we have dealt on this site with so many airline horror stories of broken promises. I’d rather force all the airlines to do it this way, rather than forcing American to end this very convenient option. Rather than trying to end the hold practice, instead lobby for a hold button that makes it crystal clear what it’s for.

  • BMG4ME

    Exactly. How is paying for the ticket and waiting for a refund better than holding the ticket until you are ready to pay?

  • BMG4ME

    When this option was first offered, no other airline allowed you to hold the ticket with a locked in fare. The other airlines decided to implement the 24 hour rule in a much less desirable way that involves parting with money and then awaiting a refund. It’s ironic that because American was the first airline to offer the ability to lock in the fare, they are now the bad guys. I feel strongly about this even more because I use Delta more than American and I long for the hold button when buying Delta.

  • MarkKelling

    I have cancelled purchases within the 24 hour window with United, Southwest, Frontier, and Continental. In most cases, no money was even moved because I cancelled before the airlines closed their business for the day meaning the posting of the charge never went through. Nothing even showed up on my credit card statement for these transactions. In the few cases where I missed their posting cutoff, the refund did make it to my card within 24 hours. I never had to wait for the money to show up or pursue the airlines in order to receive the refund. So I don’t see a problem with this approach since I don’t cancel flight purchases that often.

    I can’t speak for other airlines and their refund policies for these types of cancellations.

  • BMG4ME

    I did it with Delta and it was charged to my account. Yes it did get refunded quickly, but I still don’t see how this is better than not paying for the ticket until you want it, while still having the fare locked in for up to 48 hours (since you get until midnight of the next day), which is more than 24 hours unless you happen to hold the ticket just before midnight. If you hold it just after midnight you have nearly 48 hours.

  • MarkKelling

    Unfortunately, not Period. :-)

    The law states that either option is acceptable and that an airline must offer EITHER a refund within 24 hours for a purchase OR allow a 24 hour hold on the price and flights to be purchased later.

  • MarkKelling

    Many other airlines now offer a HOLD option as well with a button to click. But those holds are for a price ($10 to hold it a week, $25 to hold it 3 weeks or something like that). And they are clearly indicated on the web page, no hovering required.

  • PolishKnightUSA

    I edited my statement to reflect what you just aid. I went to the transportation.gov website where they make the clarification.

    I stand corrected.

  • MarkKelling

    Well, when I shop for a ticket and purchase a ticket, I want it. I don’t want to have to remember to come back later and actually buy it because I want to be done with my transaction now. It is a rare instance where I need to cancel and try again. That is why I feel the purchase and refund is better.

  • MarkKelling

    I do agree with all the points you made.

  • BMG4ME

    If you want it then you don’t need a refund so then buy it right away. Then you won’t need to come back and pay for it.

  • MarkKelling

    Yes, but if I buy it right now because I feel it is the correct flight for me and then discover it is one of the rare instance where it is not, on AA I am stuck with it and have to pay change fees to correct whatever is not right. On other airlines I simply cancel and request a refund and then book the flight that is correct.

    We will have to agree to disagree on what is the best way. The AA approach works best for you. The other approach works best for me.

  • PolishKnightUSA

    Funny story. I’m filling out visa paperwork for my father-in-law. I carefully read every part of the DS-160 form and sent him a copy of the confirmation page.

    2 days later, I realized I made a critical mistake. I had requested the non-ideal form of the visa (business AND pleasure) rather than just (pleasure). he had previously had a combo visa before but I wanted to be ideal so I redid it. All the items in the form.

    Then, darn it, I realized that I had answered when it asked: “Is your financial supporter living at the same address as you”, I had answered “yes”. Since I was filling out the form, I thought it meant “me” when it meant HIS address. So I had to fill out hte darn form again and answer “no”.

    I did the form like 6 times.

    Granted, it’s a longer form than airline tickets but it’s amazing how tough this can be. Name spelling, expiration dates (get 11-3-2016 mixed up with 3-11-2016) and you have a sever gotcha. Not just for the customer but the airline as well may not want to have to resubmit and change all the records in their system.

    So I like what AA is doing. Give 24 hours to fix everything before getting the CC servicer involved. But then I have to wonder when my “hold” is released. At zulu the next day or exactly 24 hours later? Probalby pretty clear in disclosure but as challenging as I find it to fill out this stuff and read, I wonder what the average Joe and Jane goes through.

  • BMG4ME

    OK agreed to disagree!

  • Tricia K

    This subject has come up multiple times regarding AA and to be honest, I’ve never used their website and didn’t know how they were set up. My usual comment about it has been that as long as they are informing people of the difference, it’s ok. I am a college educated woman who makes a lot of travel arrangements online and I read the fine details carefully. I went to the AA website and looked for a flight. I got all the way to the point where you pay, and yes, the hold option is offered, but I couldn’t find anything that said it was in place of the 24 hour refund. If they are going to do it, they need to be like other websites that make you check a box that you understand this.

  • jim6555

    What federal law does is allow an airline two options:

    1. If a ticket is purchased for a flight more than seven days from the reservation date, the airline must issue a full refund if the flight is cancelled less than 24 hours from the time of purchase.

    2. An airline can instead of the above policy hold a passenger’s reservation for 24 hours. If the ticket is not purchased within 24 hours, the reservation is cancelled.

    Every airline except American has opted for option 1. American has chosen option 2. Passengers who don’t read the fine print expect their policy to be consistent with Delta, United, Jet Blue, Virgin America, Spirit, etc.

  • The hold expires as there is no cc required to keep the seat. The gotcha is for those of us who actually book a seat, thinking that we can get a refund within 24hrs then it isn’t possible.

  • Jason J Olson

    While I can understand the perspectives offered below regarding AA being different from the rest of the industry, so “they” should post notice of their difference. Two things come to mind: (1) AA was first to market, before the DOT mandate with a much more flexible booking/hold process compared to the other carriers; and (2) it was the other carriers who changed their polices, not AA, and while they followed DOT regulations, were actually more restrictive and anti-consumer versus AA’s longstanding policy. With those in mind, is it really AA’s responsibility to advice passengers that their hold policy is better, and that “non-refundable” really means “non-refundable”???

  • scottsbiz

    although not related to the story, if you think American treats it’s passengers badly.. you should try being an employee.

  • William Leeper

    I will point out that the hold is not really 24 hours either. It would be almost impossible to get busy and forget about it. Your reservation is held until 23:59:59 the day after you hold it, so if you make your hold at a minute after midnight you are actually getting 47 hours 58 minutes of hold.

  • William Leeper

    The hold is released at 23:59:59 local time (to the address you provided) the day after you make the hold.

  • I think you missed my entire point: I didn’t SEE the HOLD option. Period. Apparently, I’m not the only one, either.