If you tried to buy an American Airlines flight recently, you might have noticed that the airline disabled their free 24-hour ticket hold. Though the airline had only temporarily disabled the feature as a test, it’s unclear what their long-term plan is for the policy.
The airline has long held the policy, which allows travelers to hold a flight reservation for 24 hours just in case they need the extra time to confirm.
Why the change?
What spurred the sudden tests was the number of calls that the airline’s reservation line was receiving. Flyers who wanted to purchase on-hold tickets would have to call the reservation line to complete a free hold flight purchase with flight credits. When customers buy tickets without the hold option, however, they can apply flight credits while purchasing online, so it seems the airline was testing how popular the hold option truly is.
Even if the airline were to get rid of the free hold policy, it would still be required to follow a 24-hour cancellation period. The US Department of Transportation requires that airlines allow flyers to cancel and receive refunds within 24 hours of purchasing their tickets if their departure date is a week out.
It’s uncertain what American will do after analyzing the tests it has run, but it’s historically been a very generous airline. They even dropped change fees for most tickets in late 2020. Here’s hoping that whatever the change is, it’s better for travelers.