American Airlines has quietly added a new feature to their website that will allow the holding of tickets for longer than 24 hours, for a price.
The current system allows customers to place any ticket for travel beyond 7 days on hold for 24 hours. This is unique, as Delta and United both require payment, and will allow a refund within 24 hours. American allows a complimentary hold, that will automatically expire and doesn’t require any credit card details on the part of the customer. For flights within 7 days, you can purchase the ticket and refund it within 24 hours. Unfortunately, with the merger with US Airways, this hold only is applicable to American Airlines metal flights, and if your reservation includes solely US Airways, or a combination of AA and US flight, you won’t be able to hold it online.
Now, American Airlines is introducing a feature that will allow holds beyond 24 hours, for a fee. The fee depends on the market, but is estimated at only a few dollars a day. More lucrative markets, such as for flights departing JFK, will require a higher hold fee than for flights, say, out of Kansas City.
So, how does this work?
Let’s say you find a decent fare from DCA to LAX for $250 (a fare that’s been offered quite a bit lately). If you wait a few days, more than likely the fare will go up. In order to guarantee the $250 fare you can pay a fee during the “review and pay” portion of booking, and have it held for up to 5 days. This allows you more time beyond the complimentary 24 hour time period to make a decision, and will prevent the fare from increasing. If you decide to purchase the ticket, you’ll still pay the non-refundable hold fee. If you do nothing, the reservation will cancel, and you’ll still pay the hold fee.
Some important notes about this new feature:
- The hold is only available for 5 days, and is not available for flights within 7 days.
- The fee to hold the flights is charged per day and is non-refundable, regardless of whether you book the ticket or not.
- The first 24 hours of the hold will still be complimentary, and will not require a credit card to hold.
I think this is a great feature, and more than likely I’ll be using this on many flights to come since American is my preferred carrier.
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