Friday, November 6, 2015

American Airlines has a new reservation
option—and a new fee.
The Department of Transportation requires all airlines to
allow customers to hold an airline reservation—at the quoted fare—for at
least 24 hours.
Consumers also must be allowed to cancel a booking within 24
hours of payment and get a full refund, without any penalty.
But what if you'd like to lock in a quoted airfare for a longer period of
time without committing to buying the flight? According to USA Today,
American Airlines is testing a new option that lets passengers lock in a fare
for up to one week—for a price, of course.
The fee structure requires a
customer to pay $7.99, $9.99, or $11.99 for a hold that will keep an airfare
valid for three, five, or seven days, respectively.
Essentially, the fee is a
way to hedge the risk of the airfare rising between the time you make the
reservation and a few days later, when you get off the fence and decide for
sure whether to pay for the flight.
The new fee/service is being tested only on select routes such as Miami-Los
Angeles, though it could expand if American Airlines likes where the
experiment goes.
American and other airlines have shown plenty of interest in
tweaking the standard flight product, which is generally nonrefundable,
requires payment within 24 hours, and is extremely costly to change once a
booking is final.
Two years ago, American introduced a new bundled fare
structure in which passengers paid extra upfront in exchange for the option to
change reservations later without a fee.
In 2014, Delta launched a new
"Basic Economy" ticket that doesn't allow any changes or refunds
So as you can see, airlines are constantly fiddling with different
permutations of airline tickets, all with the same goal in mind—maximizing
profits, usually via upsells and fees.
Speaking of which, the fee that
customers pay to American Airlines to lock in a flight for three to seven days
is totally nonrefundable.
But you probably guessed that already.
This story originally appeared on Money More good reads from Money:
• There's a Mysterious Drake Billboard in Toronto
• This Is the Richest City in America
• Sam's Club Has a Pre-Black Friday Sale Starting Nov.

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