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Tips For Delays and Cancellations


We expect, as you do, that American Airlines and American Eagle will operate flights on time. On occasion, the weather or other challenges can make it difficult, if not impossible, to stay on schedule. When a delay or cancellation does occur, our goal is to get you to your destination safely and as quickly as possible.

Getting On Another Flight
In some cases, when a flight cancels, our system may confirm you on another flight a short time after the disruption. You can check to see whether you’re confirmed on another flight and access the details in the following ways:

  • If you booked on AA.com and are able to access the Internet, visit www.aa.com and select "My Reservations."
  • If you booked your flight through a travel agency, call their office directly.
  • Call AA Reservations.
  • See an agent at the airport.

During busy travel times, there may be more customers waiting to be accommodated than there are open seats on the next flight. We manage these situations by creating a standby list. (Tip: You can do this on a Self-Service Check-In machine at some airports, or a customer service agent can place a customer’s name on a flight’s standby list.) Here’s what to expect at the gate if you are standing by for a flight:

  • Customer service agents will board passengers who have previously confirmed reservations and reserved seats.
  • About 15 minutes before departure, if seats are available, agents will begin to call standby passengers.
  • After the last standby passenger boards and the door at the gate is closed, agents need five to 10 minutes to finish up their work for the flight. Afterward, they will move all unaccommodated passengers, in order, to the standby list of the next flight. They will make an announcement about that flight’s gate and scheduled departure time.

Postponing Or Canceling Your Trip
If your trip can be rescheduled, postponing or canceling may be an attractive alternative to waiting for an indeterminate length of time.

  • If you decide to travel at a later date, call your travel agent or call AA Reservations as soon as possible for details on how to reuse your ticket. Generally, tickets must be used no later than one year from the date of purchase. Some changes may require a fee and/or an additional fare payments.
  • If your originally scheduled flight was canceled and you decide not to travel, you can receive a full refund. To arrange for a refund, visit AA.com, call your travel agent, or call AA Reservations.

Spending The Night Away From Home
When bad weather causes a cancellation and a delay stretches overnight, we can help defray some unexpected expenses. A “distressed passenger rate” voucher – good for a discounted rate at an available local hotel – is distributed by customer service agents to you for overnight accommodations. The discounted room charge and incidental charges (such as meals, telephone calls, transportation, etc.) are not covered by the airline and are at the traveler’s expense.

Other options available to you:

  • Check AA.com for overnight options in the area.
  • See whether the airport you are in has a phone bank for local hotel and transportation options. (Tip: Some hotels provide a free shuttle service to and from the airport.)

Retrieving Checked Luggage
When you have to spend a night somewhere other than where you had planned, having your bags with you can make the situation a bit more tolerable. In some cases, however, circumstances can make it impossible for us to retrieve your luggage.

  • If our airport people cannot retrieve your luggage, it will continue on to your scheduled destination and will be held there.
  • If we can retrieve your luggage, it will be made available in the baggage-claim area of the airport.
  • If you are spending the night in a local hotel, ask for an Overnight Amenity Kit.

Trip Insurance
Many travelers find trip insurance to be an affordable way to offset expenses associated with delayed or canceled flights. If you have purchased such coverage for your trip and you experience a delay or cancellation, please contact your insurance provider. If you are not familiar with trip insurance, please visit AA.com by accessing www.aa.com/tripinsurance to learn more or to purchase coverage.

American Airlines’ Website: www.aa.com
AA.com isn’t just for planning your trip in advance; it’s also a valuable resource during travel, especially when plans have to be changed. Visit www.aa.com/airporthelp for helpful information about the airports and cities we serve as well as additional tips and insight about travel on American and American Eagle. Here’s what you’ll find:

  • Flight schedules and Flight Status Notifications
  • Self-Service Check-In availability
  • Airport terminal maps and hours
  • Official airport websites (to learn about specific amenities at certain airports)
  • Weather information

About Safety
If it concerns your safety, American Airlines and American Eagle will delay, reroute, divert or cancel a flight, even if it means some inconvenience. We ask for, and very much appreciate, your understanding of our ultimate responsibility to you.