Is American Airlines out of their minds? That was my first thought when I received an email (screenshots below in the photo gallery) from them two days before my flight from Los Angeles to Miami, asking, “Are your plans flexible?”

Let me preface this by saying that I bought the ticket in question in mid-February, when American Airlines had ridiculously cheap fares. I wrote about the deals and featured them in my newsletter (you can sign up for free here). And when I say ‘ridiculously cheap’, I mean $30 each way between LAX-MIA or New York to Miami or Chicago to Phoenix, both for $30.

Since I’m not yet fully vaccinated (I have 9 more days to go) and I’m concerned about the effects of the different variants on kids, I decided not to go. I just didn’t cancel my flight, waiting to see if AA was going to severely delay the flight or cancel it altogether so I could get a full refund instead of a travel voucher. I know it’s only $60 but times have been difficult so every dollar counts.

RELATED: How to Prevent American Airlines Miles from Expiring and Great News for Those Under 21

I also wanted to see if I was going to get upgraded. As an Executive Platinum member (to qualify you have to fly over 100,000 miles on AA and their partners in a year and have to spend a minimum of $15,000 (most of my tickets are purchased by clients), then you’re gifted all kinds of perks like a dedicated phone line, three free checked bags and more – but none more important than free upgrades on domestic flights when space is available.

Just for fun, I decided to see what American was offering in terms of a flight change. So I clicked the link that touted: “You can move flights at no charge. If your plans are flexible, we have a few options you may consider. This is an exclusive online offer that is limited to availability.”

I was already booked on a mid-afternoon 777 (one of American’s plushest planes) in Premium Economy (pictured at the top), which on the 777, is better than most of their narrow body domestic first class with the exception of the A321T, which usually runs exclusively between LAX/SFO and JFK. But since the pandemic, they’ve been moving them around a bit.

American was offering to switch me to two different flights. One later that night (11:25pm) and one the following morning at 6am but both had stops, almost doubling my total travel time and on narrow bodies in crappy coach seats.

Who in their right mind would switch, especially when they’re not being offered any compensation. Speaking of compensation, and being out of their minds, American Airlines was also offering me the option to volunteer my seat because they thought my flight was going to be oversold. They stated: “We’re looking for volunteers to move flights” and said that I could change my mind at any time but I would have to go to the gate to find out at the last minute if everyone had shown up or not. They gave me a selection of compensation levels that I was willing to take in $50 increments beginning at $150 and up to $300.

There wasn’t a chance I was going to the airport in the middle of a pandemic to see if I could get up to $300 to switch flights to one that will make a stop and double my time. Even the agent I spoke to when I called to cancel my flight (credit is good until December 31, 2021) chuckled when I told her AA’s offer and said the flight still had a couple empty seats. So like I said: Is American Airlines out of their minds?

Before you take American’s bait, be sure you to find out:
-What kind of aircraft you will be on
-What seats are available (you don’t want to go from a plush window or aisle to a middle seat)
-Will the new flight make any stops? The more stops you make during COVID, the higher your chances of exposure.
-How long will the total travel time be?
-Don’t settle for their website or app. Call and speak to a representative to see if they have better options.
-As a reader pointed out in the comments below be sure to check if they changed your destination airport. It could be one nearby like FLL instead of MIA.

KEEP READING: 12 Things in Travel You Need to Know Today

Johnny Jet
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7 Comments On "Is American Airlines Out of their Minds?"
  1. Anonymous|

    You were asked if you wanted to change, sometimes people’s agendas do to. Just say “no thank you”

  2. eusticetilley|

    Got an AA email earlier today offering me a $50 price cut on a cash flight in exchange for 6,000 AA miles. Might someone be slipping something in the water cooler at AA marketing?

  3. Larry WALKER|

    I stopped using AA about 15 years. I didn’t like their services and high prices.

  4. Sophia' Daskalakis|

    My experience with American airlines has not been very good three different times when I booked my flight and two were in first class my television screen did not work they offered me only $250 and this was in an international flight that I paid probably at the time cuz I only bought my trip back in first class I think I paid at least $1,500 and they would only give me that $250 that I had only a year to use it up mind you. The other two times the TV didn’t work they didn’t give me anything. I also booked a domestic flight to New Mexico early in 2020 in February and they totally pulled out of the airport ipt where I live and didn’t send me a notice and when I called them they said I had to drive either to Philadelphia and they would not reimburse me for long term parking or any money and offered for me to fly out of some other airports but I would have to get there again no long-term parking and they wouldn’t give me any money back. I paid to fly out of my own town eventually they only gave me $25 back and a voucher. Now they’re advertising the airport’s open we’re flying again I will never never fly out of Williamsport again enrich the chance of them sucking it to me. It’s their loss they’re losing 250-300. I figured you only going to pull that stunt on me once and I’m pretty sure other people feel the same way.

  5. Todd|

    Fell pray to their text message offering an 8:30am flight rather than 6:00. After all, who doesn’t want a couple extra hours of sleep. I did NOT unfortunately read all of the details. Since my flight was overbooked, they wanted me to fly into Ft Lauderdale rather than Miami. They are not the same thing. Imagine my surprise at check in! Moral of the story, the devil is in the details. Thank you AA. I will be booking my next flight with Monopoly money rather than real cash. After all, it’s almost the same thing.

    1. Johnny Jet
      Johnny Jet|

      Good tip. I will add it to the piece. Thanks

  6. ed laucella|

    Johnny,

    I flew on AA two weeks ago and was offered a great in-flight deal on their credit card. I was given an application and told I could submit at a later date, but needed the code that was on the app. I lost the app while vacationing, and AA seems to have no knowledge. I was referred to Citibank who had an offshore agent, for whom english is a second language, and also had no idea how to help. Can you? (AA was promoting 120,000 miles /four RT flights).

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