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AA automatically rebooks PAX on award tickets from AA to BA metal - and charges carrier fees for it

Tue Sep 29, 2020 12:24 am

There seems to be no official statement on this, but I have heard the same story from several affected folks, so it seems like a real thing. Apparently, AA has been cancelling a lot of transatlantic flights for the Christmas season throughout the past days. In many cases, they have rebooked people on BA metal. So far so good. But apparently, they have been calling people on award tickets, demanding that they pay BA's carrier fees (which seem to range anywhere between 500 and 1000 dollars round trip). If passengers don't agree, AA offers to waive the reinstatement fees (which are already waived due to COVID) and to cancel the ticket. In a few cases, passengers have also been offered alternative accommodations on AA between JFK and LHR, resulting in 4 and 5 segment itineraries, some of which involved overnight layovers.

I know AA is bleeding money, but this still seems like a surprising move on their part.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: AA automatically rebooks PAX on award tickets from AA to BA metal - and charges carrier fees for it

Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:15 am

Wonder what will happen if anyone takes this to court. AA is clearly breaking some laws here, they should not get away with it.
 
PI4EVR
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Re: AA automatically rebooks PAX on award tickets from AA to BA metal - and charges carrier fees for it

Tue Sep 29, 2020 4:05 pm

AA protects the bookings onto BA since they've canceled the AA flight, and BA charges much higher fees including a "fuel surcharge" and UK airport taxes for the roundtrip. As a joint venture partner, it is only natural for AA to "protect" their bookings with reaccomodation to BA, but their fees and surcharges have to be paid by the passenger. Taxes and fees range from $185 for Y to $1015 for J on award tickets, with flights offered on BA having the highest fees and taxes charged. In some cases, almost the cost of a regular Y ticket.
AA is giving the customers the option to cancel and redeposit their miles or try to rebook via a routing that will be flown on AA for the full trip. A lot of the October planning of service has now been canceled and extended to March, 2021 hence Christmas bookings would obviously be affected.
A tough spot to be in for AA and the customers, but an option to travel nonetheless.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: AA automatically rebooks PAX on award tickets from AA to BA metal - and charges carrier fees for it

Tue Sep 29, 2020 8:10 pm

PI4EVR wrote:
As a joint venture partner, it is only natural for AA to "protect" their bookings with reaccomodation to BA, but their fees and surcharges have to be paid by the passenger.


That may be AA's point of view, but I think a court would have a different opinion. Those passengers have paid a certain fare to AA to be taken to their destination and now the TOS say they need to be taken there. If they need to be reaccomodated, those costs are for AA.

I was reaccomodated once, free of charge. Granted, it was for a hotel booking instead of a flight, but the same principle applied. I had booked through Booking.com and the day before I traveled I was called that the hotel than I had booked was not available. They offered to rebook me in another hotel nearby for the same price. That other hotel was normally more expensive, but Booking.com paid for the difference. After all they had agreed to put me in a hotel for that price and that's what they did.

If it applies to hotels, it applies to airlines as well. They have agreed to get those passengers to their destination. How they do that is up to AA. Different routing? Different airline? Not the problem of the passenger, AA is to pay for it. And that they're bleeding money? Yeah, so what? Not the problem of the passengers.
 
IADCA
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Re: AA automatically rebooks PAX on award tickets from AA to BA metal - and charges carrier fees for it

Tue Sep 29, 2020 8:39 pm

PI4EVR wrote:
AA protects the bookings onto BA since they've canceled the AA flight, and BA charges much higher fees including a "fuel surcharge" and UK airport taxes for the roundtrip. As a joint venture partner, it is only natural for AA to "protect" their bookings with reaccomodation to BA, but their fees and surcharges have to be paid by the passenger. Taxes and fees range from $185 for Y to $1015 for J on award tickets, with flights offered on BA having the highest fees and taxes charged. In some cases, almost the cost of a regular Y ticket.
AA is giving the customers the option to cancel and redeposit their miles or try to rebook via a routing that will be flown on AA for the full trip. A lot of the October planning of service has now been canceled and extended to March, 2021 hence Christmas bookings would obviously be affected.
A tough spot to be in for AA and the customers, but an option to travel nonetheless.


Pretty easy solution: AA forces customers onto a heavy-fee alternative, AA should pay the fees. An award ticket that happens to cost over $1000 is a materially different contract than one without that fee. At an absolute minimum, the option to cancel with full redeposit should be the first thing offered before shifting the booking over. That's pretty outrageous.
 
PI4EVR
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Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:29 pm

Re: AA automatically rebooks PAX on award tickets from AA to BA metal - and charges carrier fees for it

Tue Sep 29, 2020 10:03 pm

The Sabre system automatically reaccomodates the customers affected by a schedule change and the bookings come up on a "Queue" for an agent to contact the passenger/s of the new schedule. AA has offered the redeposit of Advantage miles with all fees waived as an option to the BA flights or a new schedule using AA metal on various routings potentially less convenient. Customer keep the miles, no redeposit or cancellation fees and worse case is finding new flights/airlines to purchase a ticket. I'm not defending AA on the policy but aware of the process and why it has happened in this case.
AA is not contractually obligated to put the customers on BA and absorb all other costs.
 
IADCA
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Re: AA automatically rebooks PAX on award tickets from AA to BA metal - and charges carrier fees for it

Tue Sep 29, 2020 11:03 pm

PI4EVR wrote:
The Sabre system automatically reaccomodates the customers affected by a schedule change and the bookings come up on a "Queue" for an agent to contact the passenger/s of the new schedule. AA has offered the redeposit of Advantage miles with all fees waived as an option to the BA flights or a new schedule using AA metal on various routings potentially less convenient. Customer keep the miles, no redeposit or cancellation fees and worse case is finding new flights/airlines to purchase a ticket. I'm not defending AA on the policy but aware of the process and why it has happened in this case.
AA is not contractually obligated to put the customers on BA and absorb all other costs.


I don't think anyone really cares how it happened, and everyone probably assumed it was by a path similar to what you described above.

I think what pisses people off - and you seem to be having trouble swallowing in an attempt to defend AA, despite claiming you're not - is that they are changing the booking and then trying to charge people extra for rebooking them on a half-decent travel option. That's just insulting your customers: you take away what they already paid for (in miles) and then try to charge them both miles and money for a backup plan. I'd much rather simply be offered a full refund than something like that. For an analogous example, I have been booked on a carrier and been bump-protected onto a different carrier on what I am assuming was a more expensive fare given that the rebooking was done day-of. Nobody tried to charge me money for that, and I'd have been steamed as hell if they had.
 
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Spiderguy252
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Re: AA automatically rebooks PAX on award tickets from AA to BA metal - and charges carrier fees for it

Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:55 am

Another example of mileage plans being junk.

Stay away from them and their intangible currencies.
Vahroone
 
FriscoHeavy
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Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 4:31 pm

Re: AA automatically rebooks PAX on award tickets from AA to BA metal - and charges carrier fees for it

Wed Oct 07, 2020 6:25 pm

Spiderguy252 wrote:
Another example of mileage plans being junk.

Stay away from them and their intangible currencies.


Silly comment. The miles I accumulate and use are very tangible and worthwhile.
Whatever
 
Chemist
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Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 4:46 am

Re: AA automatically rebooks PAX on award tickets from AA to BA metal - and charges carrier fees for it

Fri Oct 09, 2020 7:10 pm

1 - Not surprising given what AA has become
2 - I concluded about 5 years ago with the continuous devaluation of miles that I'd be better using a credit card for cash back rather than miles, and discontinued using my Citi AAdvantage card
3 - I'm a lifetime Gold million-miler on AA and now avoid them except when necessary
 
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Rajahdhani
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Re: AA automatically rebooks PAX on award tickets from AA to BA metal - and charges carrier fees for it

Sun Oct 11, 2020 7:14 am

As of yet - has anyone been able to produce a credible news source reporting on this issue?

Has anyone been able to produce a comment from the airline's representative?

Rather - let's look at what the airline factually provides;

https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-program/aadvantage-program-updates.jsp
Eliminating award change fees
We’re giving you more flexibility by eliminating change fees on AAdvantage® award travel within the U.S. and between the U.S. and:
Canada
Mexico
Caribbean
Puerto Rico
U.S. Virgin Islands
We’re also waiving change fees for all other tickets bought by December 31, 2020, for future travel regardless of fare type or itinerary.
Contact Reservations for help making changes to award travel.

Waiving award reinstatement fees for the rest of 2020
We’re waiving reinstatement fees on all AAdvantage® award travel ticketed by December 31, 2020.
If your trip is eligible, your miles will be automatically reinstated within 48 hours of canceling your trip online.
For all other trips, contact Reservations to have your miles reinstated.

AAdvantage® mile expiration paused for the rest of 2020
We‘ve paused the expiration of AAdvantage® miles through December 31, 2020.
If your miles were set to expire on or before December 31, 2020, they will now expire on January 1, 2021, if there’s no additional activity in your account before then.
We’re working to update member accounts with the new expiration date.
Rest assured if your miles expire before we make the adjustment, we will reactivate them.


Lacking definitive reporting that would contradict this, it behooves intelligent minds to look at the facts on the surface - and note that AA is indeed making changes to their program in the face of the unprecedented challenges that it, and the industry, and the global economy/healthscape faces. Their ability to not only do so, but to directly communicate that - demonstrates that the airline is willing to make changes that not only are meant to benefit their frequent flyers, but also assure them - in this time of mass uncertainty.
 
IPFreely
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Re: AA automatically rebooks PAX on award tickets from AA to BA metal - and charges carrier fees for it

Sun Oct 11, 2020 3:11 pm

Rajahdhani wrote:
As of yet - has anyone been able to produce a credible news source reporting on this issue?

Has anyone been able to produce a comment from the airline's representative?

Rather - let's look at what the airline factually provides;


Thanks for the post. I figured this was thread was fake news, like most of them that start out "I've heard from some unknown guy that (select from AA/UA/WN/AS/B6) is using (insert reason) to screw customers", which brings out the standard litany of "that airline sucks, fly my airline" posts. Good to see someone confirm this with actual facts.
 
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Rajahdhani
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Re: AA automatically rebooks PAX on award tickets from AA to BA metal - and charges carrier fees for it

Sun Oct 11, 2020 5:48 pm

IPFreely wrote:
Thanks for the post. I figured this was thread was fake news, like most of them that start out "I've heard from some unknown guy that (select from AA/UA/WN/AS/B6) is using (insert reason) to screw customers", which brings out the standard litany of "that airline sucks, fly my airline" posts. Good to see someone confirm this with actual facts.


I hear exactly what you're saying. I am not going to critique the approaches, but we can see the result of the discourses. Admittedly, I can understand and empathize some of the frustrations of the issues raised above. That said, we also got some brilliant and insightful responses - case in point h/t to {whose brilliant summary/explanation enlightened me into the same boat here}.
PI4EVR wrote:
I'm not defending AA on the policy but aware of the process and why it has happened in this case.



IPFreely wrote:
I've heard from some unknown guy that (select from AA/UA/WN/AS/B6) is using (insert reason) to screw customers", which brings out the standard litany of "that airline sucks, fly my airline" posts.


...um, SHADE! (and I love you for it!). I see you, and your missing airline too!
 
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usdcaguy
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Re: AA automatically rebooks PAX on award tickets from AA to BA metal - and charges carrier fees for it

Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:27 am

This is just another example of BA not allowing AA to reprotect on them without consequences. They seem to have a holier-than-thou attitude and are again not willing to make themselves interchangeable with their oneworld partner. You’ll see this in fares to London, where it is often cheaper to connect on AA to AA metal than it is to take BA nonstops. AA should have chosen a less stingy partner years ago. Meanwhile, AA should be doing free involuntary reroutes for their award tickets instead of making passengers cough up dough to fly on a JV partner. Really hard to imagine such poor synergies when DL has such leeway with AF/KL.
 
GSPSPOT
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Re: AA automatically rebooks PAX on award tickets from AA to BA metal - and charges carrier fees for it

Tue Oct 27, 2020 11:31 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
PI4EVR wrote:
As a joint venture partner, it is only natural for AA to "protect" their bookings with reaccomodation to BA, but their fees and surcharges have to be paid by the passenger.

That is despicable. AA protected pax on BA, fine and good. But once the original transaction was done. Finis. BA's extra charges/fees are one of the costs of doing business for AA, not the passenger's problem IMO. AA chose to cxl their own flights. Not the passenger's free choice or fault. Period.
Great Lakes, great life.
 
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hongkongflyer
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Re: AA automatically rebooks PAX on award tickets from AA to BA metal - and charges carrier fees for it

Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:04 am

PI4EVR wrote:
The Sabre system automatically reaccomodates the customers affected by a schedule change and the bookings come up on a "Queue" for an agent to contact the passenger/s of the new schedule. AA has offered the redeposit of Advantage miles with all fees waived as an option to the BA flights or a new schedule using AA metal on various routings potentially less convenient. Customer keep the miles, no redeposit or cancellation fees and worse case is finding new flights/airlines to purchase a ticket. I'm not defending AA on the policy but aware of the process and why it has happened in this case.
AA is not contractually obligated to put the customers on BA and absorb all other costs.


AA is not contractually obligated to put the customers on BA, but they are contractually obligated to bring the customers to their destinations within the reasonable time.
To the extremes, even AA need to charter a private jet to bring them to the destinations, AA is still the party who need to absorb the costs.
 
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eta unknown
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Re: AA automatically rebooks PAX on award tickets from AA to BA metal - and charges carrier fees for it

Fri Oct 30, 2020 3:34 pm

GSPSPOT wrote:
PatrickZ80 wrote:
PI4EVR wrote:
As a joint venture partner, it is only natural for AA to "protect" their bookings with reaccomodation to BA, but their fees and surcharges have to be paid by the passenger.

That is despicable. AA protected pax on BA, fine and good. But once the original transaction was done. Finis. BA's extra charges/fees are one of the costs of doing business for AA, not the passenger's problem IMO. AA chose to cxl their own flights. Not the passenger's free choice or fault. Period.


Exactly. If the booking is ticketed, it's not the pax's problem- it's AA's problem- end of story. However, if it's un-ticketed AA might be able to demand the fees or provide myulti-segment alternatives.

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