American has publicly stated that they will honor the business class mistake fares between Washington DC and both Shanghai and Beijing that were posted on Tuesday.
We already knew they’d honor some of the tickets. They hadn’t made a public statement, but internally seemed to be saying they would honor the tickets that were ~ $20 plus taxes and fuel surcharges, but not the tickets that were $0 plus taxes and fuel surcharges.
No such distinctions here. All purchased mistake fare tickets on this deal will be honored. Congratulations to everyone that purchased these.
They seem to still be taking the position, however, that tickets which had merely been ‘held’ and not purchased will not be honored. (That’s the reference to ‘fully purchased’.)
Some people used American’s 24 hour hold feature, and had American cancel out their reservations prior to ticketing. The rule of thumb has always been that anything not ticketed won’t be honored. Failing to immediately ticket a deal like this, in my view, doesn’t leave one with much of a claim to the deal even when it’s being honored.
However, folks with held reservations contend that since American offers the hold feature as their way of complying with DOT rules (instead of allowing free cancellation and refund for 24 hours, on reservations for travel more than a week or more out) that they should have to honor these bookings.
I assume that they have consulted with the Department of Transportation prior to making a public statement and if their position is that they won’t honor unticketed reservations, that got DOT signoff.
And that seems fair to me. The DOT rule is a prohibition on post-purchase price increases and in the case of held reservations no purchase has occurred.
Ultimately I don’t think airlines should be forced to honor these fares, but if they’re going to be honored I think it’s ok to want to be one of the people that gets to travel on a deal like this.