AA extends coronavirus travel waiver to May 31, 2020

In a sign that the coronavirus pandemic isn't likely to end anytime soon, American Airlines has become the first carrier to extend their travel waiver past March 31 to May 31, 2020.  The waiver applies to the following:

  • Any ticket purchased prior to March 1 will not incur change fees prior to travel. Customers must pay any fare difference, if applicable, at time of ticketing of the new fare.
  • This is available for any of American’s fares for travel through May 31.
  • Customers are allowed to change their origin and destination cities as part of this offer.
  • The new ticket must be reissued on/before December 31 or 12 months from the original ticket date (whichever is earlier). Travel must also commence on/before December 31 or one year from original issue date — whichever is sooner.

Where this waiver extension can become problematic for some are those who booked their flights 11+ months ago and were scheduled to travel soon.  Since the new ticket would still need to be flown 12 months from the original ticket date, they would only have less than a month to travel.  If AA really wanted to be customer-friendly, then they could have followed Southwest's generous policy by extending all expiring travel funds to June 30, 2021.

Quick thoughts

With several states declaring lockdowns over the past day, AA obviously realizes that this ordeal is far from over and will only be getting started on March 31, when their existing waiver would have ended.  I expect the other carriers to also follow suit as they struggle to fill their planes and implement extensive cuts to their routes.

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