American Airlines doubles down on its deceptive ‘hold’ policy

By | November 25th, 2015

Want more proof that the world’s largest airline doesn’t listen to customers? I’m not talking about its controversial but long overdue loyalty program reforms. No, I’m speaking of the way it doubled down on its customer-hostile “hold” policy for tickets.

Really, American?

They know plenty of infrequent travelers are confused by the AA policy, which, with the government’s apparent blessing, goes against the industry standard 24-hour refund policy.

And you know something? It’s not getting any better, no matter how much airline apologists claim they “love” the hold policy. People are getting duped. American knows it. American doesn’t care.

Cary Liao is among them.

Liao recently booked two nonrefundable round-trip tickets through American Airlines’ website and paid $518, plus $83 for seating assignments.

About 10 minutes later, Liao noticed a better flight option was available and attempted to cancel the reservation through the website.

“During this process, I did not see any disclaimer warning me that I would be penalized by canceling or that I wouldn’t be refunded,” she says. “So I assumed that American was abiding by DOT’s 24-hour reservation requirement and proceeded with the cancellation and rebooking.”

American allowed her to continue believing all was well.

“I received immediate email confirmation of my cancellation, which also did not indicate I would not be refunded,” she says.


But after checking her credit card statement the following week, Liao noticed the total of $602 was still being charged, along with the charges for the new flight.

“While researching the issue, I found websites stating that American differed from other airlines in that the customer needed to select a ‘hold’ button during reservation, instead of paying for the flight, in order to be refunded within 24 hours,” she says.

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American must know that some of its customers are confused.

Now, some of you are saying to yourselves, “Serves Liao right. She should have paid attention.”

But you are not consumer advocates. You are advocates for your own cleverness and your ability to pay attention to the details. I wish we all could be as smart as you are.

Those of you who can see through American’s old policy and its new “hold” money grab, which it is testing, know that Liao is right. American really should offer a 24-hour refund. If it wants to offer a “hold” too, it can, but it has no business pocketing your money after a little more than 10 minutes. None whatsoever.

“By hiding the ‘hold’ button in the list of payment types, I believe American is not clearly displaying the refund policy in violation of the 24-hour reservation requirement,” says Liao. “This rule was created to protect consumers, and by trapping a customer into not being able to refund a reservation that was canceled 12 minutes later, just because he or she entered a credit card number instead of finding a deceptively placed hold button, it is my opinion that the carrier is not abiding by the spirit of the requirement.”

Liao has pleaded her case to the Department of Transportation, and that’s exactly where it belongs. It’s time for the DOT to shut AA’s game down.

Should American Airlines be required to offer a 24-hour refund?

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  • cowboyinbrla

    Often I find I’m not particularly sympathetic to posters, not because I think I’m so much smarter than they are, but because it’s clear the poster did absolutely no research on policies, fees, etc. before hitting that “book” button.

    But this is a case where a government regulation allows two interpretations by the airlines and when one airline is an outlier, that’s a problem. The regulation ought to be consistent. I know of maybe 5 people who even know what a hold is. If we’re going to allow people to change their minds within 24 hours, it’s insane to make people figure out that they have to declare that up front.

  • polexia_rogue

    yes, the hold button is there- but it takes people by surprise.

    have i ever fell victim to it? no because i only fly Virgin.

    do i have sympathy? yes.

    I work at target and while we have 90 day return policy (even if the item is open/used) if you try to return an appliance you only get 30 days if you buy a game or dvd it CANNOT be open. Forgot your target card? a newbie cashier will say “just come back later and we can give you the discount!”- in reality you have to come back in 24 hours or less.

    so yes; undisclosed suprises not nice.

  • joshie

    I believe they used to a have a prominent Hold button next to the Purchase button…too prominent for them I guess. Now it’s hidden in with the payment types, and it took me awhile to notice it there myself. People who seldom fly AA will likely not be aware of it. American certainly knows that, it’s no accident.

    There are some advantages to holding, mainly that your card won’t be charged and you won’t have to wait for a refund if you don’t buy, and that if you don’t want the ticket you don’t have to do anything. As was said, they could certainly choose to offer both. At a minimum they should make it much more obvious than it is.

  • Thetine

    Normally I am with the “rules are rules” crowd, but this is a special case. I happen to adore the Hold option – because I learned about it on your website before using it! AA must explain Hold vs. 24 Hour Refund in big bold print or match the other airlines’ policies.

  • RichardII

    They should not be required to offer a 24 hour refund, especially when the “hold” policy is actually better for the consumer. But, they should be required (like in a info that must be acknowledged in order to continue) to clearly notify the customer who is paying for the ticket that it is not refundable once purchased.

  • sirwired

    I don’t see how it’s “deceptive” to offer an option the government explicitly allows as a way of implementing this.

    Despite your protests, the “Hold” IS the consumer-friendly option. (Especially for those using Debit Cards, who won’t have their checking account balance tied up.) The ONLY reason it’s confusing is because AA is the only airline that’s made this choice.

    But if they all chose “24-hour Refund” in concert, I’m sure there would be accusations they were colluding and all avoiding the better option.

  • Flywisely

    Not only is this an option given to an airline; but it is the first option in the rule.

    This notice provides guidance to U.S. and foreign air carriers regarding compliance with the customer service rule that requires carriers to hold a reservation at the quoted fare for 24 hours without payment or allow a reservation to be cancelled within 24 hours without penalty (the “24-hour reservation requirement”)

    Funny how this article does not mention this.

  • Flywisely

    People failing to read and their complaining loudly can actually usurp some of the more customer friendly options the airlines are planning to offer. For example Mr. Elliott provides a link to an article about AA giving us longer hold options for a small fee. I think that is a great option to purchase. It might prevent some of the problems often portrayed here.

  • backprop

    Christopher admitted in a private email that he likes misleading headlines. Those are his words.

    In my opinion, he has absolutely no integrity when he writes things like this, and calls people “airline apologists” for stating their preference for the Hold option over a Refund option. Many of us clearly spelled out the situations and reasons that we prefer a Hold option instead. Yet we’re called names when we present the opposite side of the argument.

    It would be very easy to advocate for a sentence or other tweak on the website to help make the Hold conditions clear for travelers. But he’d rather drag the airline through the mud for the sake of clicks and controversy.

  • technomage1

    The hold policy, by itself, is more customer friendly than the 24 hour rule because it requires action on the part of the consumer to book the ticket vs. action for a refund (which can take time to process). Where AA is failing is that they don’t make this clear enough on their website, which is necessary since they’re the odd man out on the policy. A pop up when purchasing needs to appear stating clearing that the 24 hour rule does not apply and all sales are final. I hate pop ups but that or a screen is necessary with positive action by a consumer (clicking a check box, etc) to proceed.

  • John Baker

    I voted no simply because I think AA’s policy is more customer friendly than the other airlines. You can hold an airfare for 24 hours while you search for a better deal with $0 out of pocket.

  • backprop

    Why aren’t the other airlines consistent with AA? After all, AA offered the option long before the rule was in place.

    (On the previous article, a comment pointing this out was deleted. Hmmmm.)

  • Alan Gore

    The “hold” rule actually makes more sense than the 24-hour refund rule, because it allows passengers to set up a complete trip before freezing the airline reservation. The problem is that when DOT originated the 24-hour cancellation regulation, it didn’t miss an opportunity to turn a simple policy into another frustrating booby trap: it gave each airline its own choice of hold or refund during the 24 hours. American happens to be the only carrier that opted for hold.

    It would be great if all airlines could be converted to 24-hour hold, but the software impact would be massive. In any case, isn’t American going away soon by merger? Much simpler to make American use the refund rule that is now an industry standard.

  • Alan Gore

    The deception part is that although the option to ‘hold’ used by be plain and upfront at purchase time, it has now been obscured on American’s site.

  • backprop

    That’s not the porblem according to these blog posts. The policy itself is “customer-hostile.”

    That’s what I don’t get. There could be a productive, positive discussion of making the option clearer for travelers. Obviously, many people (nearly 100%, if comments are to be believed) prefer the Hold option.

    So, there’s a lot of room to make a win-win. But for some reason, we just won’t have it.

    Instead, we see the following words used about the policy itself:

    – “Deceptive hold policy”
    – “The policy is bad for customers.”
    – The airline “had a chance to do the right thing” (but didn’t)
    – “customer unfriendly”

    I really don’t get why they want to bring AA’s overall more friendly policy down to the less-friendly policy of other carriers, simply for the sake of uniformity – when in fact a few customer-driven tweaks to the presentation could make it 100% crystal clear.

  • backprop

    American is going away by merger?

  • BMG4ME

    I’m confused. What American offers is better. It offers a 24 hour hold without having to pay. It’s been that way for years. I’ve used it many times. It’s not confusing to me at least. Are you saying that’s changed? If it hasn’t, I don’t see there’s anything to complain about (except for those habitual complainers).

  • Joe_D_Messina

    I can see both sides to this. If you’re in-the-know then American’s method is probably the best policy out there. But whenever your way of doing things is that different than how all your competitors handle it you only invite confusion because many people will incorrectly assume that your policies are just like everybody else’s.

  • Tanya

    I believe in personal responsibility. That being said, because AA is different from industry standard, they should be disclosing that they do not honor the 24 hour refund policy and instead offer a hold. It should be a check box when purchasing, and noticeable. Does it have to scroll across the page in big bold letters, no, but it needs to be prominent. I recently used the hold function, and it was nice being able to hold the fare and itinerary for the 24 hours with no credit card charges. But I read this site and knew of the AA policy. I feel bad for those who don’t know the rules, especially since AA is different from the rest.

  • KennyG

    By the logic usually expounded in this forum, the fact that “all” other airlines follow the 24 hour rule in exactly the same way [with American being the outlier], would lead one to believe that it must be better for the airlines [and worse for the consumers] to interpret and use the rule as all [sans AA] have implemented it. But yet here you are arguing that ALL the other airlines have the best interests of the traveler in mind when they implement THIS rule, but of course rake travelers over the coals in all other instances. Seems a bit [no actually a lot] like if someone gets hurt by not reading or taking the time to understand what they are agreeing to then the big bad airline [cruise carrier, hotel whatever] is doing it wrong. Never mind that in the prior article on this very same subject, a significant percentage of travelers all seemed to agree that AA does this in a more consumer friendly way than others. The only thing consistent it seems is the fact that once someone refuses to take personal responsibility for something, its time to dump on the service provider as the villain, which they are in many instances anyway, but kind of weakens the argument when they are always the bad guys.

  • cscasi

    Write DOT and see if they will change the rule for you.

  • ctporter

    Punishing those online purchasers that did their homework, checked out the FAQs, did all the needed research prior to making travel arrangements in order to aid the traveller that chose not to do that seems to be the unfair practice here. Perhaps we should not be able to make our own arrangements online as so many people get into trouble when doing so (just an option in place of taking away the valued benefit of the hold feature so many AA flyers value)? That said, I believe it is important to know the difference between AA and most other airlines, as such, I agree the hold policy should be made MUCH more clear, right up front. Shouldn’t that be the best consumer user approach?

  • cscasi

    How is it obscured? After you make your reservation, select seats, etc., it goes to a section, Review Itinerary And Pay For Your Trip. Right below that are six blocks each with a select button. The six blocks are labeled, Credit/Debit Card, 6 Month Financing, PayPal, Gift Cards/ eVouchers and Hold.
    It is pretty obvious Hold is prominently displayed along with the other five options. Same size lettering and same size box.

  • MarkKelling

    I have no problem with either option. My only complaint about AA is they do not indicate that if you purchase the flight you are stuck with it and cannot get a refund within the 24 hour window.

    I would be happy to see them have a pop up on the web site or some other disclosure when you are entering your payment info that simply says something like: “If you are not sure about this purchase, use the hold option instead and come back within 24 hours to purchase this flight at the same price.” Most of the airlines I fly do have statements on the purchase page where you enter your payment info in easy to read type that you have 24 hours to cancel the purchase of the ticket for a complete refund.

    Sure, if you are used to buying tickets with AA you are aware of this option. But not everyone flys that often and not everyone flys AA when they do. Who reads all the fine print when buying things anyway? And AA doesn’t even have this in their fine print.

    AA had the hold option in place long before the 24 hour rule was mandated. It was just simpler for them to keep that then to change to a purchase-and-refund option.

    Which policy is better for who? Depends on how you look at it. I tend to like the purchase-and-refund route. I only have to make a single trip to the web site to book and pay for my flight. Usually, if I book a flight and pay for it it is almost 100% sure that I will fly that flight. If I do decide to change things, only then do I have to go back and go through the cancel process. With the hold-and-purchase-later option, I have to remember to hold the ticket and then go back later and purchase it meaning I have to take twice as long to complete the purchase process by making two trips to the web site. And the 24 hour refund is not anything like other refunds from airlines. You cancel online within 24 hours, you get your refund within 24 hours. There is no refund committee to decide if you qualify for the refund. There is no 7 – 10 days waiting for the refund to appear on your account. Many times the purchase never even makes it to your account. Yes, there is a hold on the funds but that expires within 48 hours anyway.

  • MarkKelling

    And you can cancel a purchase on other airlines if you find a better deal for $0 out of pocket as well. :-)

  • flutiefan

    i didn’t realize “[my] ability to pay attention to the details” was such an anomaly. maybe i shouldn’t do so anymore, and expect someone else to pick up the pieces when failure happens as a result of me failing to pay attention to details.

  • MarkKelling

    It was US Air that went away in the merger. It seems that all of their policies were replaced by those of AA.

  • Jeff W.

    I voted no for the simple reason that the gov’t in their infinite wisdom gave the airlines two options: hold or refund. It is not AA’s fault that they are the only ones using the hold option and everyone else uses the refund option.

    Could AA better explain or document the policy? Certainly. But don’t blame AA having a hold policy and not a refund policy. That is a choice AA made (and aren’t we all for choice?)

    If you don’t like the hold policy, then the group to petition is the DOT, to have them revoke the rule. As people had said above, there are people who prefer the hold rule for a variety of reasons.

    But AA is required to do hold OR refund. Not both. And it chose the former, per the regulations.

  • MarkKelling

    As long as those details are clearly noted in an easy to find format, I agree with you.

  • AAGK

    How are these infrequent travelers so well-versed in DOT rules? Most people become aware of that exception only after a booking mistake. If they were aware of the policy then wouldn’t they know a carrier could opt for a 24 hold instead?

  • sirwired

    If you’ve used a debit card, that money will be out of your account until the airline gets around to processing the refund (meaning if money is tight, you can’t purchase that other ticket for some amount of time.) You’ll be Net-Zero eventually, but that’s cold comfort if some good airfare deal slipped through your fingers because the refund hadn’t gone through yet.

  • Lindabator

    So you want a 24 hour FREE hold, and then an additional 24 hour REFUND period — or you prefer she book, cancel 10 minutes later, put in for that “speedy” refund, and keep repeating? American offers you a period to consider your options – and if she wanted to shop around, would have made sense to do so BEFORE purchasing, not after. This is a great policy for a lot of folks, as they can lock in a great fare as they finalize all their other reservation needs, before they pull the trigger. The only reason the others follow a 24 hour rule, is they never WANTED to offer a hold option in the first place.

  • Lindabator

    NOT undisclosed at all — when you choose the hold option, they have a tab which explains you may hold a ticket 7 or more days prior to departure for 24 hours without penalty, and that once ticketed, all fees apply.

  • Lindabator

    the hold button explains the hold, if anyone bothered to read it – and does state how once ticketed, all fees do apply, as it is nonrefundable.

  • Lindabator

    they actually do – when you click the button (or hover over it), you get a popup box explaining what the 24 hold is and how once ticketed, it is nonrefundable and all fees apply. but of course, no one bothers to read anything anymore, and just assumes things (never a good thing)

  • Lindabator

    when you click or hover over the hold button, the explanation of the 24 hour hold is right there just because most folks breeze past it is not a valid excuse. these are the same folks who didn’t “know” it was nonrefundable, there were additional charges for changes, seats, etc

  • Lindabator

    American IS the airline – USAir is actually the one going away

  • Annie M

    This is the way every airline should work their reservations. You hold the seats and pay 24 hours later, no reason to have debits and credits on your credit card. BUT AA does not explain what the hold button is for and that IS an issue they can easily correct by explaining the option before the consumer puts in their credit card number.

    There should be a message that appears advising exactly what the hold means. Thats all they need to do and they refuse to do it.

  • sirwired

    I just went to Delta’s site. They don’t make the 24-hour refund policy clear on the checkout page. Are they being deceptive for not letting their customers know it’s an option at all? The itinerary details simply list the fare as “nonrefundable”.

  • Lindabator

    I would also think the 24 hour hold is better for the client — so my clients are glad I am an agent, and can not only HOLD a reservation for 24 hours, but cancel and refund 24 hours after that same reservation was ticketed. :)

  • Lindabator

    read the 24 hold button explanation – tah da! problem solved

  • Lindabator

    open the 24 hour hold explanation box that pops up when you hover or click – amazing how that works – too many people ASSUME they know it all, and big surprise when they are wrong!

  • Pegtoo

    Maybe they should add a similar pop-up for the “purchase” option… explaining how their version of the 24 policy is different than every other airline, and give the details.

  • KennyG

    Actually, IMHO, they are not different than the industry standard. The standards are set by our government [another argument for another time], and AA follows them as laid out by our beneficent Uncle Sam. They have ZERO obligation to “honor” the 24 hour refund period because they have chosen the other, more consumer friendly option, allowing a traveler to put their itinerary on hold for 24 hours without having their credit/debit card hit for the fare, and then heaven forbid they are 1 minute late in cancelling, or they had a bad toothache and were in the dentist chair at the 24 hour mark , we would have the consumer advocates here saying Delta/United/ whoever should be ashamed, it doesn’t cost them anything anyway, and its good consumer relations. The way I look at it, AA isn’t different from the rest, the rest are different than AA.

  • MarkKelling

    Using a debit card for travel is a bad idea given the large amount of time most people purchase flights before flying.

    My personal opinion is that using a debit card for anything other than getting cash out of an ATM is something to be avoided.

    Use a credit card. Let the bank’s money be at risk.

  • MarkKelling

    OK, but why can’t they add some of this verbiage to the other purchase buttons too? Just something short like “Look at the HOLD option before you pay!”

    And I was surprised buying a ticket on AA and not being able to cancel it for a full refund like I could with every other airline in the entire world. But I wanted to buy the ticket, not hold it (other airlines also offer a hold option where you pay a small fee and they keep the ticket for you for a week or even longer which I would believe most customers would think that is what that button would give them and not even look at it if they are unfamiliar with AA practices). And then 2 hours later my plans changed suddenly. This meant that on AA, and only on AA, I would have to pay a change fee or lose the entire purchase amount.

  • Maxwell Smart

    the whole 24 hour hold idea is a huge joke. Luckily we don’t have such a stupid policy in Australia, as it simply means higher fares.
    Make a decision & stick with it. Why are you even looking for other fares AFTER you’ve book a trip.
    Only losers (like public servants) can’t make a decision.

  • sirwired

    Oh, I agree, and I never use them. But for some people, they are the reality, and the hold option is much better for them.

  • sirwired

    None of the other airlines even mention their 24-hour refund option on the booking page, so AA makes it a ton easier to find in comparison.

  • sirwired

    “OK, but why can’t they add some of this verbiage to the other purchase buttons too? Just something short like “Look at the HOLD option before you pay!”

    Businesses are not in the habit of actively encouraging you to reconsider your purchase and/or shop elsewhere.

  • cscasi

    Can you share how you are able to cancel and refund 24 hours after that same reservation was ticketed? I am speaking of ticketing on American. I thought it was that you could “hold” your reservation without ticketing it for 24 hours and then it would automatically cancel if you do not pay for the reservation (at which time it would be ticketed) and that once you pushed the button and paid for your ticket(s), it/they become non-refundable (unless you purchase a refundable class fare). Does American give travel agents special dispensation?

  • Michael__K

    We know it’s deceptive in practice for many passengers because we encounter a constant stream of them on this very site (in the articles and in the forums). AA’s no-24-hour-refunds policy may be the single-most common specific complaint on elliott.org.

    It’s counter-intuitive that providing a credit or debit card number (the first “payment option”) translates to forfeiting 24-hour flexibility, versus not providing a card number. I’m not sure why anyone would intentionally choose to forfeit 24-hour flexibility for a reservation more than 7 days in advance, unless they were concerned about their internet access or availability to get back online before midnight the next business day to enter payment info.

    It would help a great deal if the “Hold” option appeared as a fully-explained standalone option, before the “Payment Options” section, instead of as the last entry under “Payment Options.”

  • Michael__K

    AA’s policy is great for those who completely understand it. The large number of passenger complaints about this exact issue on this very website prove that it’s very confusing to many people.

    One can choose to mock those people for not completely understanding the DOT rule (reading AA’s contract word-for-word doesn’t really help, because if one misunderstands the DOT rule, one will easily interpret the relevant contract language incorrectly).

    However, when it’s very clear that so many of their inexperienced customers are genuinely confused, a consumer friendly carrier might want to take some “personal responsibility” and look for ways to reduce the confusion.

  • sirwired

    Just because some people that write into this site don’t pay much attention as they should doesn’t mean something is “deceptive”. The “Hold” does exactly what you would think it does (makes a reservation without having to pay for it just yet, just like having a store set aside an item behind the counter); that’s the exact opposite of “deception”.

  • RichardII

    I just tried it. Got all the way to where I enter my credit card info without any warning. I think the warning should pop-up if I select: credit/debit; 6 month finance; or PayPal, and require I click an ACCEPT TERMS button to continue. Just like they require contact info, etc.

  • Jeff W.

    In this person’s case, she was looking for other fares and I somewhat agree with you. Once you book a fare, be done with it.

    But sometimes a hold is valuable. Maybe one is coordinating travel with other people. Or now that you have the airfare down (the price of which can change at a moment’s notice) you can work on hotels or rental cars. The reasons are numerous, and it is a nice feature to have IF you need it.

  • Michael__K

    It’s enough people — hardly a week or two goes by without another case — that it’s a problem too big to hand wave away as simply a matter of people who “don’t pay much attention.”

    Many of them read the small print terms and disclaimers and that does little good. They do see that:

    “When you make a telephone reservation with American Airlines or when you make a reservation via AA.com, the fare quoted will be guaranteed for 24 hours or until 11:59 p.m. Central Time the following day, whichever allows you more time.”

    They do not see — because it’s not clearly explained — that this won’t apply unless they select the last “Payment Option.” Which is not where a newcomer would expect to find the “Hold” option.

  • MarkKelling

    United does on the Purchase page. Right where it says “You will have up to 24 hours to change your mind.” :-)

    As does Delta on their purchase page: “Once your ticket is purchased, Risk-Free Cancellation may apply.”

    And Alaska, also on the purchase page: “If travel has not yet commenced, you may make one change to this itinerary OR cancel and refund to original form of payment with no fee within 24 hours of original purchase.”

    See screen shot from United.:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6ba165ec7675287a689213d87c2b6f56913522a466efbaf294f7f080aa9d6da4.png

  • MarkKelling

    But if the hold instead of purchase option is so much better for the customers, they should be using every option available to inform their customers how great it is.

    I still say this option makes more money for AA than the purchase and refund option because once the customer purchase a ticket, they are stuck with it unless they pay more to change it

  • MarkKelling

    My point exactly.

  • Michael__K

    It’s interesting that once upon a time (i.e. 2009) AA gave their customers a clear choice between “Purchase” versus “Hold”.

    That user interface was much clearer. Why did they change it?

    http://web.archive.org/web/20091211073943/http://www.aa.com/i18n/utility/hold_mktpg.jsp?

  • KennyG

    AA’s policy is great for those who choose to open their eyes and ears and read. The large number of travelers on this forum that like this policy of AA’s prove its value to people that take the time to understand what they are agreeing to and appreciate the flexibility that AA’s policy gives them.
    No one needs to read and understand the DOT rules, or read AA’s contract of carriage word for word [that is a complete deflection from this issue], they simply have to pay attention to what they are clicking on and should be reading on the web site they are purchasing something from. If they can’t or won’t do that perhaps they should be calling a reputable travel agent to book their flights.
    When it’s clear that every other airline chooses to do business the “other” way, they might want to take a look at how AA does it since it is more consumer friendly than forcing folks to take an affirmative action to cancel to not be hit with charges for flights they don’t want.
    Surprising that in this case you believe that all the other airlines are looking out for the best interests of the consumer. Quite a different position than on many other airline/cruise line/hotel/resort complaints that you invariably characterize as fleecing the consumer. But then again, every one is entitled to their own opinion, and to change that opinion. Its nice to see that you have “evolved” on the issue of how common carriers do business and now believe that when they all do things the same way, they are doing it for the benefit of consumers.

  • Michael__K

    they simply have to pay attention to what they are clicking on and should be reading on the web site they are purchasing something from

    This is false.

    This was true once upon a time when AA had a Hold button and a Purchase button side by side.

    Today, there is no Hold button. Hold is the last Payment Option (even though Hold is logically not a payment option, as AA itself understood, once upon a time).

    As for the rest of your post, please stop putting words in my mouth and telling me what I believe.

  • KennyG

    ok, if my statement is false as you say, then not paying attention to what is on the screen is the best way to go? Not reading on that Payment screen that Hold is an option for payment [which logically it is, since its purpose is that it delays your need for payment for 24 hours] better serves the consumer? Blindly clicking the purchase button is the better option for the consumer? Telling that the only part of my statements/questions in my response you chose to address is simply that you dont believe that “Hold” is a valid payment option. As far as the rest of your post, you have told us what you believe; if all airlines [sans AA] do something a certain way, then it must be best for the consumer.

  • Michael__K

    There’s absolutely nothing to read on the payment screen about the Hold option unless that option is actually CHOSEN as the Payment Option.

    Is every customer supposed to click on every Payment Option (and every other option everywhere) , to look for Easter Eggs?

  • KennyG

    Only if they still believe in the Easter bunny.

  • Tricia K

    I don’t have an issue with them allowing a hold option IF (and I do mean if) the person is informed in clear language (and has to acknowledge it with a check box online) that the hold option is in place of their right to a refund within 24 hours. They should also have to explain in clear terms (and again, acknowledged by the customer) that if they chose the pay now
    option, they forgo the right to a refund. That said, I think the government messed up in offering this option to airlines, and given that this is the only airline to handle it this way, they need to go to the same 24 hour refund policy every other airline is using.

  • BMG4ME

    I’ve been using this option for years. Unless you don’t know what “Hold” means, it’s obvious what it’s for. Nobody told me what it did when I first used it. Every airline should have such a customer friendly button. It’s way better than being told that you “might” qualify for a refund, which Delta and others do, then holding your breath when you try to cancel in case this is the one time you don’t qualify. Also the Delta policy charges you then you have to wait for the refund. Not only does the AA button hold it for free, but it gives you more than 24 hours, it gives you to just before midnight of the next evening, which can be up to 48 hours. I’ll take the AA hold button over the Delta policy any time, and I’m currently a bigger Delta fan than AA fan.

  • BMG4ME

    How do you know what American certainly knows? Do you know the people that designed it that way?

  • BMG4ME

    No way, don’t take away the hold button please!

  • BMG4ME

    I don’t understand why you need a warning. You know what “Hold” means. Either you hold it for free, which no other airline offers, or you pay.

  • Michael__K

    I’ve been using this option for years. Unless you don’t know what “Hold” means, it’s obvious what it’s for.

    A few years ago, it was obvious because AA presented a “Hold’ button and a “Purchase” button side-by-side (see image below). And there was also no DOT 24-hour reservation rule at that point.

    You need to see this from the perspective of passengers whose familiarity with AA’s Hold option does not predate the DOT rule.

  • BMG4ME

    I see your point but even then it would seem they favored the purchase option by having it stand out in red!

  • RichardII

    You don’t need a warning on then”Hold” button. You need one on the Pay Now button. The problem being people who elect to Pay Now still think they can cancel within 24 hours. The fact that there is a hold button, does not imply that the 24 hour cancellation policy does not apply to paid tickets.

  • BMG4ME

    I like that. I certainly don’t want them to take away the superior hold button. Warning people that’s the only way to not be locked into paying is a great idea in my opinion.

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