Ryan O. flagged for me that American is testing offering ‘extended hold’ options for sale on reservations.
It didn’t appear as an option for tickets I had booked this morning. It came up for him Miami – Los Angeles, and I was able to replicate that.
So far it does appear to be just a test, with limited availability.
- There are 3, 5, and 7 day options at different price points.
- It’s only available for American and their regional flights, not for partner airlines.
- It’s only available on certain routes, for instance I tested it on Miami – Los Angeles but it didn’t appear on Dallas – San Francisco or DC – Dallas.
- It’s only available on paid tickets. Awards already get 5 day free holds if reserved in advance anyway.
Extended hold is “subject to availability” and I haven’t yet determined whether that’s a function of advance purchase or inventory on a given flight.
The hold must be placed for all travelers on a reservation, if you only want to hold tickets for part of your party then put them on a separate reservation. (I prefer booking separately under most circumstances anyway, if there’s only one ticket available at the lowest price you won’t get that price for either passenger otherwise.)
American will only charge for the extended hold after 24 hours, so if you select extended hold but purchase or cancel within 24 hours you won’t be charged for the optional hold.
They’re hardly first to this party, it’s been offered by other airlines including United. This is actually something I like to see — it’s added fees, but for something that wasn’t already offered free, it’s truly optional, and it’s added value.