American Airlines offers a same day confirmed change policy whereby you can pay a fee to get a confirmed seat on an earlier or late flight so long as it is the same day as your original flight. When looking to change, you are looking for “E” class availability on the new flight. It is $75 for domestic flights and $150 for flights between JFK and London Heathrow.
The alternate flight must:
- Have the same origin and destination
- Be for the same calendar day of departure
- Be marketed and operated by American Airlines or American Eagle
The following groups of travelers will get their same day confirmed fees waived:
- Unrestricted Economy Class (Y fare), Business or First Class tickets
- American Airlines AAdvantage® Executive Platinum status and companions in same record
- AirPass® membership
- First and Business Class award tickets
- MileSAAver® & AAnytime® award tickets
- Choice Plus fares
Now, let’s see an example about how you can use this policy to get a cheaper ticket than you started with.
Let’s say I want to travel from Dallas to Austin, and I specifically want the 9:45pm departure, since I have obligations during the day and a dinner event that force me to take this flight.
Since I’m booking at the last minute, fares are pretty high. I’m noticing several $147 one-way fares, but those aren’t for my desired flight of 9:45pm. Unfortunately, the 9:45p flight is pricing in at $418 one-way. Yikes!
However, when I look up the same day confirmed options, I see that “E” availability is still open on the 9;45p flight.
So, here’s what I do:
- I booked one of the morning flights at $147, with no intention of taking it.
- As soon as I book it, and the flight becomes ticketed, I immediately call American and ask to be same day confirmed on the later 9:45p flight since I see “E” availability.
Now, there’s several things you need to note:
- This is only going to work for flights within 24 hours, since you can’t confirm into “E” class and the same day confirmed policy for flights farther out than same day. You can’t book a cheaper flight weeks out, knowing the flight you actually want to take is more expensive and expect there to be “E” space the day of – that’s way too much of a risk. Sure, you could do it, but I wouldn’t gamble on it.
- If you’re not an Executive Platinum, on a full fare ticket, or using one of the other exemptions, you’ll need to pay $75. Fortunately, even with the $75 charge, you’re still coming out ahead over the $418 one-way.
- This doesn’t take into account award availability. While I priced out Dallas to Austin as an example, you may find it worthwhile to use British Airways for a ticket, should space be available.
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