Here’s How American’s New Passenger Compensation System Works

A few weeks ago I wrote that American is giving flight attendants a new tool to hand out onboard compensation for service failures. If something bad happens during your flight, they can give you AAdvantage miles on the spot.

We now know something about what situations are programmed for miles (and what will get you bupkis) and how much you can expect to get. Via The Forward Cabin:

It’s hilarious that American believes eliminating seat back video altogether is ‘Going for Great’ yet a non-functional seat back monitor deserves compensation while non-functional internet does not even though it’s internet that they claim is important for customers. You’ll get no compensation for planes that lack seat back screens at all.

If American runs out of food in first class you’ll be compensated. If they forget to board a special meal you’ve ordered you’ll be compensated. (If you just don’t get your first choice of entree you won’t be.) However if American runs out of food to sell you in coach you won’t get anything (other than going hungry).

However if a flight attendant spills something on you that would require dry cleaning they’ll give you miles. I assume that’s instead of paying for your dry cleaning.

In general Forward Cabin believes that standard compensation will be based on elite status:

  • No status or Gold: 5000 miles
  • Platinum or Platinum Pro: 5000 – 10,000 miles
  • Executive Platinum: 10,000 miles
  • ConciergeKey: 15,000 miles

Bear in mind that American says they’re tracking customers who abuse compensation. Customers who receive too much compensation at other airlines and hotel chains — even for fully legitimate issues — have been ‘fired’ in the past.

Broken Armrest on United

Of course if American needs your seat prior to departure the compensation amounts can really add up.

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, 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. will be interesting to see how they handle couples traveling together; one with CK or EP, while the other has None or Gold, and the latter actually experiences the service issue.

    It’s also telling to see that Gold status is worth exactly as much as none.

  2. I flew AA from Miami-Barbados in Business Class a couple of years back. My seat back was broken and couldn’t be locked in the upright position. The aircraft was full and the cabin attendant shrugged her shoulders. I wrote to AA Customer Service – they refused compensation. I wrote to the CEO – his office simply forwarded my letter to Customer Service who refused again.

    So my One World Emerald status (AA Executive Platinum) counted for NOTHING.

    By bye AA….!

    I now fly Jet Blue to Barbados – what a great airline. Thank you Robin Hayes for bringing consistency, quality and honesty back to air travel 🙂

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