Same Day Changes Now Allowed on American Airlines International Flights

I had heard several recent rumors that this was coming, here’s the first confirmation I’ve seen that American will now allow same day travel changes for international flights.

Just off the phone [with American’s Executive Platinum] desk and they advised of new policy eff[ective] today that will enable pa[ssengers] to make same day changes to int[ernational] long-haul flights for $150 (waived for [Executive Platinums and their] companion). This is strictly for [American] flights only, no codeshares, no other carriers incl[uding] US [Airways].

This change is not yet listed on American’s same day change website page. That still indicates same day travel changes are limited to “flights in the U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and the Caribbean”

In the main this is helpful for those limited number of routes with multiple international flights a day, like Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and New York JFK – London or New York JFK – Paris.


American Airlines Boeing 787

I haven’t seen the internal rules for changes, but (assuming all that is required is the same origin and destination cities and not the same routing) it could also be helpful to same-day confirm for planes that American has flights from multiple cities, for instance one might same-day confirm onto a Chicago – Tokyo flight rather than connecting through Los Angeles.

Presumably, as with domestic itineraries, the flight you want to confirm a change onto will have to have availability in the special “E” fare bucket (which can be searched at ExpertFlyer.com).

I don’t know what the original reason for restricting same day changes to domestic flights only was. Perhaps:

  • The difficulties with checked bags and their having to fly with the passenger.
  • Concerns over interfacing with DHS systems to gain authorization for passengers to travel

I don’t know at what point any such issues were resolved. Positive bag matching hasn’t been a requirement for domestic flights in a decade (concomitant with bag screening) but passengers still have to travel with bags internationally.

Whatever issues at American that led to the international exclusion, those have apparently been scratched. And we can now same day confirm changes when traveling internationally. I’m surprised by the hefty fee, but pleased that it’s waived for Executive Platinum members.

Update: Speculation that so far this may only be in place for New York – London Heathrow

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Thanks Gary;

    This would be especially useful on award tickets, given that if you can find a TATL ticket from LAX, it usually involves a domestic connection or, worse, two.

  2. Thanks Gary, great news! Question question please.

    I booked a flight from ATL – DFW – NRT using a SWU and had an equipment downgrade to the old angle lie flat seat. So if I am reading this right, for instance, I can try on the same day to route through ORD and try and get on the 787 instead?

    Is same day 24 hours out or do you need to be at the airport to change?

    Thanks

  3. Just wondering, is this only useful if, on the day of travel, you want to take an earlier (or later) flight to the same destination?

  4. Looks like they are matching UA’s policy on same day intl changes.

    The problem at AA is that they are very unclear whether same day changes apply to F tickets and particularly Yup tickets (often the cheapest biz/F fares are UP fares domestically). Every agent will tell you something different.

  5. @Omar American domestic flights allow same day changes on first class tickets, including UP fares. You just need availability in the fare class you’ve booked into. Discount first class books into “A” and so you just need A space to be available on the flight you want in order to same day change and keep your cabin.

  6. the fee is indeed very hefty for anyone other than EXP, and no discounts for any other elites.

    a more logical solution is to have a cheaper fee for change-to-earlier flight (reducing spoilage) but heftier fee for change-to-later flight.

  7. Gary, just curious, if I have a codeshare on Cathay from HKG – JFK will I be able to same day confirm onto AA metal from HKG-DFW-LGA?

  8. Someone reported that this benefit is only for JFK-LHR right now. We will see.

    Personally, the SDC benefit is difficult for me to use due to the new routing restriction rule that was added sometime in the last several months that requires exact routing. Works good for those starting/ending a trip at a hub, but for everyone else not so much.

    I have complained about the restriction before and hopefully they will remove that restriction to offer their members more flexibility and options when using SDC. This benefit is definitely one thing I miss the most about UA.

  9. Tried to change my flight tomorrow to Beijing, said only TRANSATLANTIC flights at this time are eligible…oh well

  10. Gary, if the terms are the same as domestic SDC, would your Tokyo example work? I thought the same number of connections is required–i.e., you can’t SDC from NRT-LAX-ORD to NRT-ORD.

    @Golfingboy — Totally agree with you.

  11. I thought this was already in effect. OLCI allowed me to change a GRU-MIA flight for no charge (exp) 2 weeks ago.

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