American Airlines, Are You Serious With This Flight Change?!

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American Airlines Flight Change

American Airlines Flight Change

One of the things we have had to become accustomed to, or accepting of, in this world of crazy travel is the schedule change. You book a flight a few months out and then wait for the 7 different emails telling you that your flight has been changed. This could be a time change, a rerouting or a cancelation all together. It can sometimes completely adjust a trip, like our recent visit to the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay. Southwest canceled our perfectly timed flight and we were left with two options, butt crack of dawn early or a redeye flight home. I recently booked a $9000 trip to Maui for $300 out of pocket for my wife’s birthday and that unfortunately included flights on American. They were by far the best price in business I could find, so I booked it with my fingers crossed. It didn’t take long for the emails to rush in and my first American Airlines flight change is laughable at best.

Is American Airlines Serious With This Schedule Change?

My original booking was decent, but not great, time wise. I was okay with it because with how crazy things have been I wanted a buffer on the layover so we wouldn’t have any issues. I have personally run into more delays out of Detroit (DTW) on American versus any other airline as well. So you could say I am going into this with a low bar of expectations.

Our original booking was as follows:

American Airlines Flight Change

A perfectly reasonable flight. I would have preferred leaving at around 12:30 out of Phoenix but this would mean we had a very slim chance of missing the flight out to Maui.

Here are the new flight details American Airlines sent us:

American Airlines Flight Change

26 minutes! They gave us a layover of 26 minutes. How does their system even allow that to be booked? Our resident aviation nerd, Ian Snyder, says he thinks the minimum connection allowed at PHX is 25 minutes, so that is why it went through.

In the best of times I wouldn’t trust this, but definitely not during the craziness that is travel right now. Everyone joked that the second flight will be delayed 10 hours anyway so we should be all good.

American Airlines Flight Change Options

This could potentially work in my favor if I am willing to put in the effort. My flights are in regular domestic business class and were only 50,000 AAdvantage miles per ticket. I could potentially find a route that has lie flat seats and see if I can get an accommodating agent to move me to that flight because of this unrealistic connection time. The new flight would likely cost more but they should have the power to move me over at no additional cost. It could take a few calls and a lot of time on hold.

Another option is to search and see if I can simply find a better flight out of Phoenix and change it myself online, assuming the same cost, or call in to do it.

Instead, I could just wait it out and see if they make any more changes to the flight. There is a chance I find a new, better option and that just ends up getting rescheduled anyway. This is the easiest of the options.

Lastly, I could just plan on taking the flight. With us being in business class, and first off the flight, we have a punchers chance of making it. We would need to carry on (our plan anyway) because baggage would likely not make it over in time. If we missed the connection we could also get some freebies from American Airlines and from our credit card (assuming the taxes were paid with a card with travel insurance). These are things my wife would not be happy with though and it is her birthday so….

American Airlines Flight Change

What Can You Do When Your Flight Is Changed: Final Thoughts

In this crazy world of travel issues are bound to arise. Sometimes they can open you up to something better if you play it right. Often it will just add a headache and wasted time to your trip. I find myself on the precipice of one, or both, of these things. I’ll reach out to American Airlines in the next week or so and see if I can finagle this into something better for me and the wife. Or, maybe I should take bets and see if we can make the connection mad dash style. Does 4 to 1 odds seem fair? Any takers? Ha!

Let me know what you would do in this situation or some recent craziness that has happened to you with flight changes recently down in the comments.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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36 COMMENTS

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36 COMMENTS

  1. There are several threads over on Flyer Talk about 30-minute or less connections in places like CLT or PHX. Apparently, this has been common for years. All I know is I’ve had gate agents give away my seats on tight connects when I’m not at the gate in DFW at T-15 only to arrive before the door is shut and forced to miss the connection.
    Your situation could be worse. I have an AA business award seat booked to the middle east for next spring. The original flight was STL-ORD-AMM-TLV on a Thursday but the latest change leaves the STL-ORD segment on Thursday but they moved only the ORD-AMM segment to the day before. It’s insane.

  2. I have this same connection headed to SJD. American actually called me yesterday to let me know about it and my flight isn’t until September. It is the very first flight in the morning so I’m debating just leaving it and seeing if I have good luck.

    • That first flight in the morning thing has me considering it too. I really don’t want to have to call in and wait on hold lol

  3. We’ve usually had good luck with AA. DL had a last minute change for a husband on a hellacious route MSP > YYZ > JFK > FCO > VCE. With a 37 minute stopover at JFK to get from one to another and be on board on time for an international flight.

    Calling got it fixed to fewer stops and long enough layovers.

    Had to do the same last year, again going to VCE (our daughter lives near there) with AF, when a flight change from CDG to VCE was going to have us leaving Paris before we landed there.

    Sigh. We do what we have to, don’t we?

  4. When flying domestically, I refuse to take a flight with connecting flights unless I have no choice whatsoever. Absolutely not worth the stress for me. Of course I have the choice of not traveling. And of course the airline could change the non-stop flight etc.

  5. Any tips on booking business class to Hawaii with points? I’m struggling to find availability in American or United home from Hawaii.

  6. Mark, as you know, Terminal 4 has four concourses for AA. Your inbound flight will come in at A14 — way at the end of the second concourse. Your outbound flight will leave at A30 — way at the end of the first concourse. The 26-minute connection time is reduced by the door closing 15 minutes prior to departure. So, you only have 11 minutes to run down the entire length of the one concourse, cross over, and run down the entire length of the other concourse. To relieve your stress, don’t forget to stop at the Admirals Club next to A7 to get hand-made guacamole from Maria — it’s excellent. By the way, happy birthday to your wife.

  7. AA sure is banking a lot of time on the DTW to PHX leg. I’m assuming this trip is after most of the country other than Arizona and Hawaii falls back, but even still, they’ve banked nearly five hours for a flight that, wheels up to wheels down, is like 3 and a half. For a first-thing-in-the-morning flight, I think you’ve got a good shot at getting into PHX early and won’t need to sweat the connection time.

  8. AA seems to be one of the worst when it comes to overly frequent flight changes. I’ve booked a couple of family trips in the past year on United and they haven’t made any changes to any of them. One domestic, one Latin America, one Europe. I booked one AA flight with miles about 5 months ago and got changed 3 times in the 4 weeks between my booking and the trip.

    Given these data points, I must conclude that AA sucks.

  9. Every.Single.Time with AA. In my experience, it’s usually 30 minute connecting times out of Charlotte.

    I’d be interested to know if people actually buy tickets that offer such tight connections because American sure as hell offers them this way on a regular basis.

      • I had an interesting one where I was given a ticket connecting out of Charlotte with a 30min connecting time, so was not my choice but it worked out due to the plane coming into Charlotte was the same one going out of the same gate with a different flight number.
        I even had the same seat so I wished I could just stay onboard.

  10. I have been looking at DTW-OGG flights for a while and there is a lot of saver space for that flight with the 25 min connection.

    Personally I decided to fly to DFW the night before the DFW-OGG flight. Now I’m a little worried about schedule changes though.

  11. Good luck getting changed to lie-flat! I flew AA lie flat business from Kona to DFW coming back from our honeymoon in 2021. It was a great experience! 45K miles to book it, because that was back when strict Covid testing requirements had somewhat depressed travel demand for Hawaii.

  12. My wife had one of those tight connections going from SN-PHX-STL. turns out her PHX-STL was delayed 2 hours. You just never know.

    • That is what I would be banking on – a delay out of PHX for sure. Seems kind of likely at this point (even though mathematically not so lol)

  13. I had Lufthansa cancel a flight on me, and I was offered a new flight with a 10 minute international connection … I was actually tempted to leave it and see if the airline would figure out this impossible connection on their own. In the end I decided to call them up, and found myself on a 6am flight instead …

  14. I’ve booked a LOT of flights with AA over the last year, and many of them have had some sort of schedule change. I’ve gotten in the habit of just booking the cheapest flight (that would work, even if it’s an inconvenient time or routing) and then wait for the inevitable schedule change so I can rebook to a better itinerary. For example, I was able to snag a cross-country flight for 6K miles (inconvenient routing with 5 hr layover in ORD arriving super later) and then later change it to the flight I really wanted (middle of the day, 1.5 or 2 hr layover in DFW) that cost 30K miles one way at the time of booking.
    Good luck getting rebooked on lie flat out of DFW. Hope it works out in your favor! 🙂

    • That is a very solid plan of attack these days. I can’t remember the last flight that didn’t have a tweak at some point before the trip.

  15. I would just get to PHX the night before or try to lie-flat out of Dallas. 26 minutes is ridiculous and would cause too much stress. Aye, I’m already breaking out in hives thinking about that connection.

    • The entire flight would be stressful for sure. What if it gets there on time but we have to wait for a gate etc. I would hate every minute of it

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