American Airlines offers a very valuable benefit for flyers – even with the recent clarifications – to allow same day flight changes for a fee (free to top-tier Executive Platinum flyers).
From AA.com, here are the rules:
For $75* on domestic flights, or $150** on flights between New York JFK and London Heathrow, you can confirm a seat or standby on a different flight as long as the alternate flight:
- Has the same origin and destination
- Is for the same calendar day of departure
- Has eligible seats available
For our Executive Platinum members, both same-day standby and confirmed flight changes are complimentary. All other elite members receive same-day standby at no charge.
You can look in your reservation on AA.com to do the change online, but I often find this tool to be broken and not display any option, so I never use it. I find searching for this same day change space easier on ExpertFlyer, a paid subscription service that can provide invaluable information.
On American Airlines, you’re looking for “E” Employee Travel and Confirmed Flight Changes.
In ExpertFlyer, go to Award & Upgrade Availability Search.
Then, type in your flight details and search for “E” space. Keep in mind, when you search for this space, you are looking for confirmed space and not standby space. Confirmed space means that if you pay the fee, you will then receive a confirmed seat on that new flight.
Here how the search results will show up.
Some things to note here:
- Because American requires the same routing rules on your flight, even though there is 1 E seat on the DFW to MIA, and then MIA to DCA flight, you won’t be allowed to change to this if you’re originally booked on a non-stop flight. It’s worth noting that many American agents are mis-informed and will change your flight regardless. I would call anyways to see if they’re willing to change it. It’s worth a shot.
- Not all flights will display, so you may need to narrow it down to time of day, or non-stop vs. connecting to provide more specific results.
- Common sense says that more popular flights will have less or no “E” space to confirm into. Not a ton of people want to land in Washington Reagan at 11:56p, so there’s more “E” space for availability.
- “E” space is in economy. If your upgrade already cleared on another flight, you’ll have to be re-ticketed in coach into “E.” You’ll then be placed back on the upgrade list, and have a chance to clear again. I’ve generally found that if there’s “E” space available, there’s usually a good chance of my upgrade clearing later on, especially as a higher tier elite.
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