American Adds Ticket Rules

Carrier adopts use-it-or-lose-it rule for international flights, introduces EveryFare Web deal

American Airlines expanded its new use-it-or-lose-it rule on nonrefundable fares for international flights.

Effective for tickets issued on or after Sept. 17 for travel on or after Oct. 1, the rule applies to trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific, Mexico, Central America and South America nonrefundable fares for travel originating in the United States only. It also will apply to Caribbean, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands nonrefundable fares originating in either direction.

The new nonrefundable fare rule, under which travelers as of Jan. 1 will have to pay $100 to stand by for a same-day flight, also has been expanded for tickets issued as of Sept. 17. It now also applies to customers traveling to or from the Caribbean, Puerto Rico or the U.S.V.I.

AA also made a change in standby policy on refundable discount fares. For travel between the United States and the Caribbean, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, free standby will apply only to earlier or later flights for the day that the customer is ticketed.

In other AA news:

" The carrier announced a new program to offer its Web fares via travel agencies. Under the terms of the new EveryFare program, AA will provide traditional (non-Internet) travel agencies in the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S.V.I. and Canada the option to access and sell its Web fares, which were previously offered only on its own Web site and other Internet distribution channels.

In exchange for the access, travel agencies will provide AA with long-term distribution cost savings through a creative cost-sharing arrangement. AA initially will give agencies an allowance credit of approximately $4 per flight coupon. Agents then pay to AA an amount equal to their own GDS fees based upon their own choice of GDS services and products. The allowance paid agencies will gradually decline during the term of the contract to allow program participants time to seek lower GDS fees.

" AA said it will save millions by cutting back on free meals and lodging for stranded passengers. The airline also has capped the amount of compensation it will offer passengers to voluntarily give up their seats on oversold flights. AA said this could lead to more involuntary bumpings as passengers will be less willing to wait for later flights.

Meal vouchers are no longer offered to customers on domestic flights when a delay or cancellation occurs but customers won’t be required to stay overnight. International passengers are offered meals for delays longer than four hours that are caused by problems within AA’s control. All passengers will receive $10 for breakfast or lunch and $20 for dinner. Hotel rooms will be given for delays or cancellations within the airline’s control.

If a passenger is bumped, the compensation will be up to $200 and a seat on the next flight. The amount will double if there is no alternative available. For voluntary bumping, the compensation will be no more than $300 for domestic flights, $500 for transcontinental flights and $800 for Hawaiian, Alaskan and international flights.

" Effective Nov. 1, the carrier will offer free in-flight entertainment to customers on all audio/video-equipped flights. Passengers may use their own headsets or purchase them for $2 each.