A refundable reservation on AA.com that’s not really refundable…

The other day, I had reason to book a refundable reservation for an upcoming trip. Let me the first to say that I rarely, if ever, book refundable reservations, but because this trip could change, and there’s a chance I need to cancel, it was worth it to me to lock a fare in place now, instead of the fare going up more as time goes on – and I needed that fare to be fully refundable and changeable.

On AA.com I found a pair of flights that would get me into Atlanta in my desired times, all on AA metal (this was not a US codeshare). Happy, I was quoted with the final price.

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I also confirmed the fare class of my ticket, which was in “M.”

Then, as I was attempting to put in my credit card information to book, I was presented with an error screen informing me that the price of my ticket had changed, now being $200 less than what I was quoted.

Happy that the price had gone down, I entered my payment information and booked the ticket. Wanting to double check that the ticket was refundable and changeable (sorry, I’m anal), I Tweeted AA, and was informed that the ticket was NOT refundable.

In frustration, I called the Executive Platinum desk for a resolution. They canceled the reservation without issue, and attempted to re-book it on their end, this time, again, coming up with the same fare, where I was assured it was refundable. Once I hung up, again wanting to be anal, I double checked with the Twitter team that this new reservation was as I intended it. I was unfortunately informed that it was NOT, and was again non-refundable. Uh oh.

Here’s what I had to do to fix this: I called the Executive Platinum desk and gave them the flight numbers and asked them to manually price the cheapest refundable ticket with their rates desk. It took a bit of time, as they needed to place me on hold, but after conversing with their revenue management and rates folks, we were finally able to prevent the tickets from reverting to a lower, non-refundable price. While I’m appreciative of AA attempting to inform me of a cheaper cost for my ticket, for this reservation, I needed to ensure that the flights could be canceled at any time without penalty.

What’s the lesson here?: Double check your tickets to ensure that they really are as you thought they were. If you call back within a few moments of booking, usually you’ll find a kind agent willing to help you and cancel it for you, if it was a mistake.

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