One of the best features of American Airlines’ website is that it allows customers to hold flights for 24 hours without having to plop down a credit card. No other U.S. airlines offers this super handy function, which always made holding fares and seats on American quick and easy.
But unfortunately, according the Gary Leff of View From The Wing: “On Tuesday American Airlines removed the option to put a flight on a 24 hour hold, rather than purchasing it right away, for many – but apparently not all – customers. Competitors haven’t had this option for years. It’s one of the things that set American Airlines apart and made them easier to buy from.”
I just tried booking a flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to New York (JFK) on aa.com for a week from today, and sure enough, the hold option wasn’t there (see screenshot above).
However, when I tried booking the same flight but this time using my AAdvantage miles, the hold option was there (see screenshot above). So it appears American Airlines might have gotten rid of the hold function on cash tickets.
It’s really a shame because it made reserving flights and seats stress-free. Now, you have to put down a credit card and remember to cancel it within 24 hours if you change your mind. With AA’s hold function, it automatically canceled any flights on hold that weren’t ticketed within the required timeframe.
Remember, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has stated that all US and foreign carriers have to allow consumers the ability “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.” See link to the DOT’s full rule (PDF). However, if you’re booking a ticket with fewer than seven days before you fly, this rule doesn’t apply.
If you do book a flight and think there’s a chance you might want to cancel it within 24 hours, then I suggest using the free email service I use to send me reminders for whenever I want. All you need to do is forward an email for whatever time you want to be reminded. For something like this, I would set the reminder for 12 hours later. Here’s more on the service and how to do it.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.