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A couple of weeks ago, American Airlines launched a new feature letting passengers volunteer for the bump list on oversold flights right in the AA app. At the time, an AA spokesperson told me that this was just a first step, and the airline was working on dynamic solutions to reduce the number oversold flights.
One of the methods that AA said it was working on was a way to add confirmable offers right in the app. I figured that this was a ways off from being implemented, but we already have our first field report from TPG reader Ed that received compensation to switch to a different flight.
Ed was scheduled to fly on Thursday from Washington-National (DCA) to Dublin (DUB) through Philadelphia (PHL). As an American Airlines Gold elite, Ed was eager to check-in Wednesday afternoon right at 24 hours to departure to select a Main Cabin Extra extra-legroom seat — which is complimentary for Gold elites at check-in. When he did, he received an offer of $200 to switch to one of four alternative itineraries (two on the same day, the other two for the following day).
One of the itineraries left a couple of hours later than his original flight, connected in Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) and arrived in Dublin a couple of hours later:
This itinerary had times that worked better for Ed anyways, so he happy took the offer. He was confirmed on the new flights instantly and received an electronic voucher for $200 “within a minute of being confirmed on the new flight.” Seems like it couldn’t have been a more seamless process (and he’s even getting a chance to meet up with some friends in the Chicago Admirals Club!).
Ed’s takeaway: “I’m guessing I could have made more at the actual gate but this is effortless!” Sure, this is a way for the airline to save on having to pay substantially more to a volunteer at the gate. But, it’s also good for the passenger taking the new offer, as they have a chance to be confirmed on a new flight without having to change plans at the last minute.
From looking at Ed’s original flights, the pinch point seems to be the DCA-PHL flight, which was fully sold out — and possibly still oversold — about an hour before departure:
Out of curiosity, I checked Ed’s new flights to see how much space was available. Turns out that both flights are completely sold out — and potentially oversold — as well.
So, Ed might have another opportunity to volunteer for a bump. While he doesn’t see any offers to switch to a new flight in his app currently, it’s possible he could take another offer at the gate.
Featured photo by Alberto Riva/TPG
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