On Tuesday evening American published fares of $0 and $22 plus taxes and fees for business class between Washington DC and both Beijing and Shanghai.
For the most part, the expectation has been that:
- American would honor the fare for those who ticketed
- American would not honor the fare for those who merely held the reservattions but did not ticket.
Indeed, American had cancelled reservations for most people that had held the flights but hadn’t issued tickets. Wandering Aramean got his cancelled tickets which had been held reinstated. Apparently that shouldn’t have happened.
- American intended to cancel merely held reservations, and agents were instructed not to reinstate those as American’s intention was not to honor them.
- $22++ fares between DC and Shanghai are being honored.
However, there’s an open question it seems regarding the $0++ fares between DC and Beijing. Traveling Better suggests:
For the zero dollar fares WAS-BJS, rule 5 states we do not intend to publish zero dollar fares. Unless revenue management advises otherwise, the zero dollar fares will not be honored.
However, this goes on to suggest that in the case where the Beijing fare isn’t being honored, American’s headquarters would have unconfirmed the space. If reservations are still intact, they have not done this and indeed the statement was contingent on weighing in by American’s revenue management.
This information was updated as of Wednesday morning. American hasn’t made public statements on this issue as yet. My guess is that the Beijing tickets will ultimately be honored despite a zero dollar base fare (based solely on the fact that they haven’t been cancelled yet) though that is merely a guess and it’s interesting that the internal thinking seems to have been that they not honor the Beijing tickets — but that the Shanghai tickets would be honored.
The distinction between $0 base fare and $22 base fare tickets for business class to China is an interesting one to ponder.
And it’s an interesting discussion now about whether fares that are held but not ticketed are in fact guaranteed or can be cancelled as American has been doing. Developing…