American Airlines is already a lot stricter with same day confirmed changes than their competitors are.
- Only Platinum Pro, Executive Platinum and ConciergeKey members can same day change for free, everyone else pays $75.
- You have to keep the same number of stops and keep the same connecting city or cities. You can’t connect in Dallas instead of Chicago. You can’t move to a non-stop flight from a connection or vice versa.
And you can only make a same day change when specific inventory is available. That’s the ‘E’ fare bucket. So there may be seats available, and seats even if the same fare class as your ticket, but if American doesn’t make specific inventory for same day changes available you won’t be able to do it.
Historically reservations agents have been able to confirm you with a same day change even if some other rules aren’t met. The website won’t offer this to you, and kiosks wouldn’t either, but phone agents might do it.
Consistent with the American’s overall move to limit agent flexibility they’ve changed how reservations agents process same day standby.
There is no de jure change here, but a de facto change in what reservations agents will be able to do for customers. They’ll no longer be able to ignore other business rules when E inventory is available. According to a spokesperson,
Overall, we have not changed the policy or criteria regarding same day flight changes.
What we did do was change the way the system used by Reservations checks for availability on same day flight changes. Previously, the system always checked whether E inventory was available [update: along with “other criteria”]. Now it checks the full list of requirements, such as whether the itinerary (with connections) was available, had bags been checked, etc.
The end result may be that some same day flight changes that might have been allowed by reservations previously, are not being allowed. In cases where it may not be available, reservations can offer and complete transactions for same day standby. Previously for same day standby, the customer had to check at the airport for same day standby.
Kiosks and airports already checked availability using the same policies, nothing has changed there.