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American Airlines Strips Most Passenger Protections with Latest Changes

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American Airlines Conditions of Carriage

American Airlines Strips Most Passenger Protections with Latest Changes

American Airlines is making some big changes. The carrier has modified its “Conditions of Carriage”, taking away even more protections from its passengers.

All this comes as more people are traveling again, and the airline itself took in billions in grants and loans from taxpayers to survive the pandemic.

The changes were first reported by JT Genter who detailed them on a thread on Twitter.

American Airlines’ Conditions of Carriage

Here are some of the main changes that are the most important for passengers:

  • American Airlines says it is not responsible if a flight is delayed or canceled. “If we or our airline partner fails to operate or delays your arrival more than 4 hours, our sole obligation is to refund the remaining ticket value and any optional fees according to our involuntary refunds policy.”
  • When a delay or cancellation causes a missed connection, American Airlines will “rebook you on the next American Airlines or American partner flight with available seats.” This is a big change from the previous wording that said any “next flight with available seats.” In practice, AA has been doing this for a long time now. So this just makes it official. It also noted that you need “written authorization from American Airlines,” to book your own arrangements. Otherwise you’ll be “responsible to pay for your hotel, meals and other expenses.”


Passengers in the United States already have few protections when it comes to air travel. Even when airlines don’t follow the rules, it’s difficult to get any help.

Now American Airlines is stripping even more protections from its passengers. The airline now says that if something goes wrong, you’re on your own.

If you’re delayed for less than 4 hours, then there’s nothing you can do. Delayed for more than 4 hours? American Airlines can just refund you the price of the ticket and then you have to book last minute flights, if any are available.

It gets worse if a delay causes you to miss a connection. American Airlines will not rebook you on a different carrier, but can instead just pay you the remaining value of your ticket and again you’re left to scramble and figure out on your own how to get to your destination.

Check out the full details on the tweet below.

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Based in NYC. Points/miles enthusiast for years and actively writing about it for the last 6+ years at Danny the Deal Guru. I'm always looking out for deals. Making a few bucks is always nice, but the traveling is by far the best part of this business.

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  1. vax should be required to USA domestic travel. we’re vzexed w/ 3x booster, still not flying. too many highly infectious Delta spreaders in airport.

  2. On Thursday of this week, Biden will implement vaccine passports for flying. We’ll see how the airlines are doing in six months.
    And your virtue signalling is not necessary. The government is about to ban half the population from flying. Try to see this from the airlines’ perspective and consider it only in light of what other changes that detrimentally affect ‘passenger rights’ they may have to implement.

  3. Yes it states that in the contract but frankly AA will rarely cancel the connecting leg if you miss a connection. They will book you on a later flight (especially for elites. In over 8 million miles I have been out in a hotel by an airline when I missed and connection and had to spend the night twice! Both BTW in hotels I wouldn’t normally stay in. I have no problem booking my own hotel a d paying for it (points or cash). Not looking for an airline to handle that for me ever

    • More parenthesis please). I didn’t think it was possible to fly 8 million miles on Spirit a d Frontier, (TIL

  4. In AA’s defense, they did remove a lot of fees including the point redeposit fee and change fees. Also, their domestic award availability/pricing seems to run circles around United and Delta these days.

    One of the biggest issues I see here is the “remaining ticket value” wording. Does that mean if I have a flight from JFK to LAX connecting in ORD – and the ORD to LAX flight gets cancelled – AA is going to only give me what they determine is the appropriate value refund from ORD to LAX and leave me stranded at ORD?

    • Yes. Not that I’ve personally flown AA but when I fly UA & DL with connections, I’ve found that each segment is already priced & I can see how many PQP/MQDs I’ve earned by segment. I assume AA is the same.

  5. I agree that this is nothing new about American. But I will say that the part about booking on another carrier has always been somewhat hit or miss anyway. Plus they’re at the mercy of the other carrier having availability and opening it up to American.

    I’m not fan of AA and lord knows I was hoping Doug Parker was have been fired last year, but in all fairness I’ve even have Delta refuse to book me on another carrier when they’ve jacked up a route.

    Alaska is the only carrier I know that will go the extra mile to get you to your destination when they’ve caused an issue.

    But for most of us reading this article, we’re probably booking our airfare and travels on cards that provide 6 hour trip delay, cancellation, interruption, and other various travel protections so this may be somewhat of a non-issue anyway.


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