One area where AA is not competitive... same day flight changes

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by Juanefny, Jul 31, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Juanefny

    Juanefny Silver Member

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    As many on this board know, I used to be a DL flyer. While DL has a much inferior frequent flyer program, their "same day confirmed" feature is much better than the complementary "stand by" that AA offers EXPs.
    Several months ago, I wanted to leave on an earlier flight since some plans had changed and I had the opportunity to leave earlier. When I inquired they offered for me to pay $75 for a confirmed seat on the earlier flight. Otherwise, I could try to stand by for the flight for free... and maybe get on the flight... and only get an upgrade after all the elites on the upgrade list cleared - even if they were only gold or plats. I ended up standing by and losing the upgrade.
    Does anyone else get annoyed by this? I think that the same day confirmed flight change should be free for EXPs. DL and UA provide this service free of service for their top elites. I know I could have emailed AA with this feedback, but figured I'd get your feedback here on this board first. What do you guys think? How do you handle your same day flight changes?
     
  2. Juanefny

    Juanefny Silver Member

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    FYI, The points guy talks about how useful the DL SDC service is:
    http://thepointsguy.com/2011/01/how-to-use-same-day-flight-changes-to-your-advantage/
    From the article:
     
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  3. DestinationDavid
    Original Member

    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Known issue with AA elite status, so I don't think anyone is shocked a recent DL transfer isn't happy with it.

    It's an area AA could improve a bit upon, specifically with the fee even for elites. I'd also note that the process doesn't always work the way you've listed above as there are some variations depending on the GA. Personally I've only needed to do a SDC once in my time with AA, and that was on New Years Day last year after my iPhone glitched and didn't set off my alarm for a 9 AM flight to ATL. I woke up at 815, called AA and paid the fee to move on to another flight. Would have been great if I could do that for free since space was available, but $75 wasn't too bad IMHO.

    All that being said, I'd gladly pay $75 for SDC in order to not fly with DL and collect SkyMiles. :D
     
  4. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    This policy doesn't make any sense to me. AA goes out of their way not to confirm and then upgrade EPs if you don't want to pay the 75 bucks.

    They're waaaaaay behind what their competitors are offering for top tiers. EPs need to be exempt from this fee IMHO
     
  5. Juanefny

    Juanefny Silver Member

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    Could not agree with you more. I used the DL program quite a bit. My plans often change and i need the flexibility. I'm not asking for automatic upgrade (if I was cleared already for the original plan) but only to be confirmed and be ahead of Golds and Plats on the upgrade list. I know some GAs and AAngels make exceptions to this rule, but it should not require an act of kindness from AA employees... it should be the policy.
    I know that AA reads MP and hope they consider exempting EXPs from this fee.
     
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  6. kw335
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    kw335 Silver Member

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    Agreed, but as EXP, I almost always cleared standby list with no problem.

    The only downside with standing by is the (lack of) chance to upgrade to F after clearing standby list. Then again, with complimentary food and beverage when sitting in Y, I may just be able to tolerate sitting in the back of the bus every now and then.
     
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  7. phuucnguyen

    phuucnguyen Silver Member

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    1 more vote for the SDC to be waived for EXP
     
  8. tommy777
    Original Member

    tommy777 Co-founder

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    It's a big downside. If you decline to pay the 75 bucks, they will clear everyone and their mother in to F before clearing you in to coach eliminating your chance to get an upgrade, even if coach is wide open. For a for example ORD-LAX, that's a loooooong time to sit in coach.

    In fact, they will even assign you a seat in coach in something they call a "pre-cleared seat", but you are not technically cleared from the standby list yet.

    It's a unique policy that doesn't make any sense. The ONLY reason they have it is to force you to pay the 75 bucks to get on the stand by list for F, but it's not even guaranteed that you will be in an F seat.

    They need to remove this fee to make EP truly exempt from fees. To force your best customers to pay 75 bucks like this is a really cheap way to earn a buck.

    Being a fairly new AA flyer myself used to United's 24 hour confirmed stand by policy for free for 1Ks this is my biggest issue with AA.
     
  9. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    While I agree that AA should not charge the fee, the thing that bothers me most is having to get behind gold and platinum members for the upgrade. I have twice given up an earlier flight after being called from the standby list as I would rather wait and have the upgrade unless it is a very short flight.
     
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  10. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Aa charging exps for benefits given free of charge to other airline mid tier elites is definitely a bit on the bizarre side.
     
  11. abk
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    abk Silver Member

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    Recently I was flying Lga-Stl with my no status assistant. We had a chance to get out early so I paid the $75 for her and I opted to standby since both coach and first were wide open. We both got exit rows at check in and I put us on the upgrade list. The AAngel said no problem for the upgrade but we would have to clear at the gate. Prior to boarding I asked the gate agent where we stood and she said she couldn't do anything regarding the upgrade until everyone had boarded as my priority was at the very bottom and even thought there were seats there were others who may decide to upgrade at the gate. She was such a snot about the whole thing that when they started boarding I said to my assistant that as we have already eaten lets spend the 60 bucks for your upgrade on booze and go sit in coach so that we know our carry-ons will make it. When we were boarding Ms Snot told me that we would probably clear but that if we boarded she would not come on the plane to upgrade us. A supervisor was there and I gave her a quick synopsis of the issue and got on the plane. 5 minutes later the agent came to get us and I said sorry we were happy where we were and she actually looked a bit distraught. The FA comped my drinks and we came out about 35 bucks ahead on the deal but the whole thing made me realize how one petty unhappy employee can ruin your fight.
     
  12. Juanefny

    Juanefny Silver Member

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    I had actually forgotten that Golds on DL also got SCD free of charge... you're absolutely right.

    I know AA reads this board and hope they realize what a big issue this is for EXPs. This and allowing EXPs to use SWUs on other airlines are my two biggest requests of the program.
     
  13. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    This is the issue right on the money. I recognize this exact situation. Not good at all
     
  14. Travelsavant
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    Travelsavant Gold Member

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    Just this year I made ExP after being 1K for years. This same day change fee for ExP's came as a bit of a shock to me & I can't see why the AA program does not keep pace with DL or UA. Worth sending email to Suzanne @AAdvantage, which I'll be doing.
     
  15. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    It's not just delta. UA as well, post-merger. Even US's partial SDC program is fee-waived for all elites I think. AS for midtier elites and their companions on the same PNR. AA is a massive outlier on this (but they are also an outlier with their SWU policy, so take that as you will).
     
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  16. mrredskin
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    mrredskin Gold Member

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    I've used it a few times as a DL Gold. It's real, and it's spectacular!
     
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  17. ballardFlyer

    ballardFlyer Gold Member

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    Agree with you all. The paid CFC is the biggest EXP issue for me. Otherwise EXP is a really spectacular experience that is close to effortless and incredibly consistent. I don't have to worry about ANYTHING else while I'm flying AA. EXP delivers near 100% upgrades, free meal in either cabin, great service in-flight, on the phone, and on the ground, nice IRROPs coverage, plus a good club network with Amex Plat access, etc.

    But day of travel changes and this $75 CFC wrinkles a lot of my trip experiences. I end up going standby because I can't charge my employer or clients this $75 fee with AA. Once I go that route all of that smooth EXP experience is shaken up. I still know I will (almost certainly) clear and get a BOB sandwich/drink, but everything else is a crapshoot. I might be middle seat row 30 on a 738.

    Comparatively, I often SDC on DL flight so I can get home early, avoid bad weather in ATL, JFK, etc. In fact, I'm about to SDC in a little bit here to get home 6 hrs earlier. My upgrade will re-clear almost certainly. On this trip, I would have flow AA, but I knew that my plans might change to get home earlier so I flew DL where the change to an early flight is free.

    CFC should be free for EXP or worst case should be discounted to no more then $25 (if their goal is to cut down on rapid changes in last minute inventory that makes it hard for their GAs/operations).
     
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  18. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    The ability to confirm the last seat available is especially nice. The SDC policies of all of the major US airlines differ significantly, with positive and negative aspects for most relative to the others. The comparisons are somewhat interesting.
     
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  19. Quasiconvexity
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    Quasiconvexity Gold Member

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    I cannot agree more with the sentiments of the OP. As a UA 1K, free SDC has been possibly one of the most beneficial perks of status (along with upgrades and fee-free award cancellations), and I would love for that to be implemented at AA (I am a newly status matched EXP).
     
  20. TRYING2BPLAT

    TRYING2BPLAT Silver Member

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    I havent flown since March but I always change my flight without any change fee, did aa change the.rule on same day change?
     
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  21. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    There's still a free standby option, you just go to the gate and get on the list and see what happens.

    There's a fee associated with confirming a seat on a different flight without having to get added to the standby list and playing the open seat "lottery" where status and IRROPS come into play.

    So if you want to guarantee the seat, pay the fee. If you want to avoid the fee, add to the list.
     
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  22. Juanefny

    Juanefny Silver Member

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    ... and if you don't pay the fee you only get the upgrade if after everyone on the upgrade list is upgraded there is still an empty seat...
     
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  23. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Barring any GA shenanigans, yup. Not an ideal system at all, but it's what we work with for now.

    I'm a leisure traveler so I almost never need to change my flight. Even when I travel for work I am on government fares and those don't have fees to make changes, so this has very little negative impact on me.

    For your average business traveler with a flexible travel schedule, meetings to get to, and families to see? Not an attractive policy. :confused:
     
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  24. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    The rule has not changed in quite some time to the best of my knowledge. You can always change flexible fares, and can stand by for alternate flights as an elite for no charge.

    Standing by can get you on another flight, but you 1) need to get to the airport and be ready to go with no guarantee of a seat, 2) likely won't have any chance to clear an upgrade, 3) Are at risk of IROPS filling up your flight at last moment, possibly denying you a seat, etc.

    Contrast that with the experience on Delta of calling up within 3 hours of the new flight departing, and being confirmed onto that flight if there are any seats in Y (or F if you booked a first class fare) being sold. True last seat availability, confirmed in advance.

    Of compare to UA where you can call up a full 24 hours in advance, and can choose any flight within 24 hours of the request, as long as your original fare bucket is available (so people on bottom-feeder fares may need to pay a fare difference with today's high loads.)

    Two very different policies that are both notably better than AA's. DL's is much better for getting onto an earlier flight and getting home early, even with packed planes and IROPS to contend with. UA's is nice for great flexibility in making changes well in advance of your desired flight when plans change.

    I've very frequently confirmed onto full DL flights with at most Y1-Y2 availability. This is great if you really want to get home early, and probably fruitful for bump-fishing as well if that's your thing.
     
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  25. 7Continents
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    7Continents Silver Member

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    Not to start a commotion, but this falls into the AAdvantage "something for everyone" way of giving out benefits. By not giving every bennie to the top tier for free, some tidbits are left for the Plats and Golds. Just saying...
     
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