Irregular operations (IRROPS) are a normal part of flying, and if you fly enough, it’s something that you’re likely to experience. I’ve had a few instances in my times of travel where my flights have not run as scheduled.
- On a business class ticket from Boston to Dublin, my flight was canceled while I was already sitting in the seat waiting for takeoff. We eventually got rebooked (in economy) the next day. Due to the EU261 law, I received $1306 from Aer Lingus (and 25,000 Avios)
- Why I sprinted through the airport for the first time – after my flight returned to the gate for mechanical problems, I sprinted through the airport to get rebooked on to another flight
- Just last month my daughter and I had an American Airlines flight to LaGuardia that was delayed and canceled. We ran through the airport and got rebooked on a flight that connected via Charlotte (delaying our arrival to New York by about 3 hours)
New American Airlines policy on rebooking
Now reporting from View from the Wing, USA Today and others indicates that American has sent out an internal memo detailing a change in the procedure on how passengers will be rebooked in IRROPS situations. In all cases, agents are encouraged to rebook passengers on American flights first, then Joint Venture partners (British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, JAL), codeshare partners and oneworld alliance members and only then on other carriers (if appropriate / possible)
- Passengers with Concierge Key or Executive Platinum status (or their equivalent oneworld status) will be rebooked in a way to get to their final destination as soon as possible, even if it requires rebooking on flights from other airlines
- Passengers with other elite status (Platinum Pro, Platinum, Gold or equivalent onewordl status) will be rebooked on other airlines ONLY if their American flight is delayed by more than five hours
- Passengers with no elite status with American should only be rebooked on American (or a joint venture partner)
So if you don’t have any elite status on American Airlines, you better hope that your flight isn’t delayed! As always, kindness and a calm demeanor can sometimes help and you may get a phone or gate agent that will stretch the rules for you, but according to the official policy, you may be out of luck! Agents can make exceptions but need authorization – examples of exceptions include customers with disabilities; no hotel available for overnight delays; traveling for a funeral or surgery.
Readers – what are your best (and worst!) irregular operations / rebooking stories? Leave them in the comments