There’s a celebration currently underway on Twitter as American Airlines has just announced in the last half hour that they will honor all of the mistake fares to China that were actually ticketed. The following Tweet (or some variation of it) is now being replied to anyone inquiring to @AmericanAir about their purchased tickets.
Still unclear as of this hour is what will happen to the reservations that were on “hold” using American’s 24-hour hold system and which were (mostly) unilaterally cancelled in the following hours. (Yes, I am aware I just used the words “mostly” and “unilaterally” right next to each other in the same sentence to describe the same thing. Yet I believe that’s accurate.)
Clearly American believes they have the legal right to cancel those holds, otherwise they would not have done so. It’s also clear that they decided they had to honor all the ticketed fares, whether they had a base fare of $20 or $40 or $0. That’s certainly logical, but regardless, it’s undoubtedly what American’s lawyers told them they had to do.
What’s less clear is what the DOT will think about the hold cancellations. If the holds are theoretically supposed to be a replacement for the consumer’s right to a 24-hour cancellation, then the fare should be guaranteed. Otherwise it’s not the same thing. But I have to believe that American wouldn’t have cancelled the holds without checking with their counterparts at the DOT first. United seemed rather certain of their position when they cancelled the Danish Krone tickets last month, so it seems likely American feels the same. But we will see. In any case, most people expect the DOT to weigh in on the holds issue within the week.
To those of you who successfully booked and ticketed these mistake fares, congrats and safe travels!