American Introducing New Next Flight Guarantee Benefit

next-flight-guarantee

The other day, we saw some major changes to American’s Concierge Key program, whereby it would receive priority on upgrades and on waitlists, but wouldn’t necessarily be another status level (odd, I know).

One of the perks that was rumored to be coming out was a “Next Flight Guarantee” benefit, but we really didn’t know the details on this or what it would mean for flyers. Now, we know.

Thanks to the ever reliable JonNYC, he’s posted the full details of the Next Flight Guarantee program on his forum, Traveling Better.

In January, we will announce a new service recovery tool for our ConciergeKey members — Next Flight Guarantee.

We want to do whatever it takes to effectively serve these customers and providing a seamless customer experience at every interaction, including service recovery, is very important.

What is Next Flight Guarantee (NFG)?

If a flight is cancelled or delayed more than three hours, we guarantee to accommodate the ConciergeKey member and one companion on the next flight.

  • The departure time of the next flight must be more than 60 minutes from the time of the reaccommodation request
  • Next Flight Guarantee applies to mainline and regional flights for both domestic and international travel
  • The guarantee is for the coach cabin only

Why are we doing this?

  • ConciergeKey members have indicated it’s a very valuable benefit they desire.
  • It ensures our best customers get out on the next flight in the event of a disruption
  • It matches a benefit United Airlines already offers
  • It’s a low cost benefit to introduce

How does it work?

Most requests will be handled by the ConciergeKey Desk in Reservations. However, you should proactively offer this to any ConciergeKey member and one companion who are affected by a cancelled or delayed (more than three hours) flight. The ConciergeKey member shouldn’t have to ask us to deliver on this benefit.

If the next flight is full, contact Customer Planning’s Day of Departure Desk (DOD) at [redacted] to confirm the customer on the next flight.

So, I’m really intrigued with this benefit. I can actually name several scenarios off hand where I could have used this benefit as an Executive Platinum, so I can only imagine how much benefit this will have to Concierge Key members. Even if the next flight is sold out, it looks as if American will force the Concierge Key member and a companion onto that flight, albeit only in the Main Cabin. I do find it somewhat odd that that the delay has to be more than 3 hours long, since there are many scenarios with flights being delayed less than 3 hours, but there still being an earlier scheduled departure time on another flight, but I’m sure American has done their legwork on this to see how they can best implement it.

My Take

Personally, I’d find great value in this new Next Flight Guarantee benefit, and I’m not Concierge Key, so you can tell American did something right here by offering this to their customers that spend the most. That said, I’m not thrilled that people will now likely be ahead of me on the upgrade list, waitlists, etc., and that getting on later flights during a delay may prove more difficult, especially in large hub cities, if Concierge Key members will be taking up the last few seats via their guarantee. All in all, a huge win for Concierge Key.

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