American Airlines is in the process of rolling out a new “Hotel, Meal & Transportation (HMT) system” that will replace vouchers for hotels and meals during irregular operations with “a virtual credit card for hotels and meals.”
Vouchers can be emailed to customers or printed, so that vendors no longer need to return paper vouchers for payment.
This system launched a week ago and around 30 cities per week will begin using it through November with international American Airlines stations beginning to use it next year. This replaces the old voucher system, which will become unavailable once an airport brings on the new system.
Agents will enter customer emails into the system and trigger sending it customers. They aren’t empowered to issue extra vouchers (“The system is programmed to issue the correct number of vouchers per customer”) though they can reprint or re-email the same vouchers they’ve already issued.
When booking hotels the system pulls rooms from real-time inventory along with issuing payment vouchers, or when the passenger acts on the email offer they receive (if a hotel reservation is cancelled the room is supposed to go back to inventory).
Transportation vouchers are issued by this system but still work as old printed vouchers that are used today.
While there’s a new system for handling vouchers, the policy for what customers should be given doesn’t change and the likelihood of getting a meal voucher doesn’t increase. American rolls out carts of snacks to gates on long delays instead of giving customers money to spend inside the terminal.
‘Refresh and refuel’ carts by delayed flights replaced food vouchers for passengers
After American Airlines empowered flight attendants to compensate customers for inconveniences they had to walk it back somewhat because there were too many inconveniences. This change to a more electronic system shouldn’t increase the amount of compensation given, and may add more controls in addition to being more convenient.