American Airlines Delay Policy is Not Great for Coach Passengers

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American Airlines Policy May Negatively Impact Coach Passengers

American Airlines Policy May Negatively Impact Coach Passengers

Earlier this week, Gary Leff at View From the Wing wrote about a new American Airlines Policy that could potentially affect many travelers. As explained by Gary, when major airlines run into issues that prevent them from making scheduled flights, they often place passengers on another airline’s flight pursuant to agreements between the airlines. For example, if a mechanical error prevents a United flight from keeping to it’s original schedule, it may place passengers on Delta flights with empty seats as an accommodation to the passengers. American Airlines has now limited the situations in which it will provide these types of accommodations to it’s passengers.

Policy Details

American Airlines will not re-accommodate passengers on non-partner or affiliated airlines if such passengers are flying coach and have no elite status. In other words, this rule does not apply to you if you hold status or are flying in premium cabins. There are also several exceptions for things like unaccompanied children and situations where time is of the essence.


In light of this policy, it might make more sense to fly United or Delta if you’re flying economy. Another way to insure yourself against this issue is to use a credit card that offers generous trip delay benefits. Also consider trip insurance.

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  1. You really peaked my interest when you wrote,

    “Another way to insure yourself against this issue is to use a credit card that offers generous trip delay benefits. Also consider trip insurance.”

    Maybe there is a write-up in the archives that I could search for on the topic of credit card trip delay benefits but if you are looking for a future topic idea, please write an article on this area as I do not even know if I already have a card with some of these benefits already or if I should have one just in case!

    A summary of the best trip delay cards to own as well as a analysis of the offset of any loss from using a particular card for just the delay benefit vs typical high value cards used for travel expenses.

    Thanks in advance!

    Oh, BTW, thanks for letting us know about AA screwing over passengers – we definitely need a strong passenger bill of rights in this country to protect against this type of BS or skimping on the part of the airlines. I am surprised every time I encounter a delay of some sort – the airlines here act as though they have never experienced anything like it and are too frozen to do anything and can never handle a simple flight delay adequately within a reasonable amount of time or at least take the time to “manage passengers expectations”.

    • You got it! I’ll add the trip delay and travel coverage to my Guide to do list.

      The way delays are handled is pretty bad in general but they should definitely try to do a better job of letting people know differences like that


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