American Airlines files for bankruptcy protection — What does it mean for AA customers?


Last October, I wrote a column predicting the bankruptcy of American Airlines sooner than later. This morning the axe fell. AA has asked for protection from creditors with a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

In response to customer questions about the filing for bankruptcy protection by American Airlines, the airline has published this series of Frequent Asked Questions. Basically, from a customer’s point of view, nothing changes.

According to AA:

    American Airlines is operating normal flight schedules, honoring tickets and reservations as usual, and making normal refunds and exchanges. American’s AAdvantage® frequent flyer program is not affected. American remains part of the oneworld® alliance, of which it is a founding member, and all of its codeshare partnerships continue, enabling customers to earn and redeem miles on convenient flight options worldwide.

There have already been significant management changes at AA as part of this bankruptcy — the old CEO is gone and a new one has been appointed. Otherwise operations in terms of passenger service and flights proceed normally.

Can customers continue to depend on American Airlines for their travel plans?
Yes. We remain deeply committed to delivering outstanding customer service, and we are committed to meeting customers’ travel needs with the same standards of safe, secure and reliable service. Equally important, we remain committed to providing a superior customer experience with a focus on delivering what our customers value most ? the newest fleet with our upcoming aircraft deliveries, network strength in the important cities of the world and world-class products, service and technology.

We expect to continue to operate our regular schedule of flights, and there are no immediate changes to our service or schedules as a result of the Chapter 11 filing.

Will American Airlines tickets be honored during the entire Chapter 11 process?
Yes, we expect to continue honoring all tickets and reservations in accordance with our usual policies. We also expect to make refunds and exchanges in accordance with our usual policies.

Are non-air travel items that customers have already paid for through American as part of their travel still valid and available (AA Vacations, car, hotel, etc.)?
Yes, we expect that AA Vacations packages, as well as the hotel/car/activities components of our customers’ purchase will remain valid. In addition, we expect that items such as preferred seats and One Day Admirals Club passes also will remain valid.

Will we plan to change ticket prices?
Our ticket prices are not expected to change as a result of the Chapter 11 filing. We expect to continue to offer competitive ticket pricing.

Will AAdvantage miles go away?
No, we intend to maintain our AAdvantage program and ensure that all miles and elite status earned by members remain secure and intact. As usual, AAdvantage miles do not expire as long as customers have qualifying account activity at least once every 18 months. Qualifying account activity is defined as any AAdvantage mileage accrual or AAdvantage award redemption.

Elite qualifying miles and/or elite status, Lifetime Gold or Lifetime Platinum status, and earned upgrades and other elite benefits will not go away.

What will happen to the AAdvantage program?
The AAdvantage program, including the elite program and its various facets such as lifetime status, upgrades, and bonus mileage, are intact and we expect they will not be changing as a result of this Chapter 11 filing. We intend to honor AAdvantage miles in accordance with our normal policies.

We look forward to introducing even more enhancements to the program such as partner award booking online, new credit cards, and new redemption opportunities available only with AAdvantage miles.

Can customers continue to use my AAdvantage miles for travel awards, upgrades, and Admirals Club membership?

Can customers still accrue miles and redeem mileage awards through oneworld and American’s frequent flyer air partners?
Yes, we expect that our partnerships with airlines such as British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines (JAL), LAN, Malév, Qantas, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines and others remain unchanged as a result of the Chapter 11 filing.

Can customers still accrue mileage by using the services of AAdvantage participating companies such as rental car partners and hotel partners?

Will the Chapter 11 filing have any effect on Citi® / AAdvantage® credit cards?
No changes to Citi® / AAdvantage® credit cards are anticipated as a result of this Chapter 11 filing. However, Citi® / AAdvantage® credit cards will continue to be subject to their usual terms and conditions.

What will happen to AA’s participation in the oneworld Alliance and its relationships with its codeshare partners or other partner airlines?
We expect our participation in oneworld and our relationships with our other partners to remain unchanged.

Will elite status with AAdvantage still be recognized by oneworld Alliance partners?
Yes, we expect that elite status with AAdvantage will continue to be recognized by our oneworld partners, and that the benefits customers receive when flying with them will not change as a result of the Chapter 11 filing.

We expect that all benefits with partner airlines will remain intact.

If an AA ticket has a customer flying on another airline for a segment of the trip, is the ticket still valid?
Yes, we expect that all tickets involving other carriers (sometimes called interline tickets) will continue to be accepted and that our agreements with our partner airlines will remain unchanged as a result of the Chapter 11 filing.

Are the Admirals Club facilities open?
Yes. Our Admirals Club facilities are open around the world and operating as usual.

We remain committed to operating a worldwide network of Admirals Clubs, and plan to continue modernization initiatives currently underway, including extensive renovation of the New York LaGuardia club in Concourse D and construction of a new Admirals Club in Concourse C. Additionally, we are enhancing Admirals Club memberships by providing access to more lounges worldwide. Through expanded access agreements with select oneworld and other partner airlines, Admirals Club members are now able to experience premium lounges in destinations where American flies but does not have an Admirals Club, including Seattle, Portland, Budapest, Delhi, Beijing and Shanghai.

Will customers still have access to oneworld and codeshare partner lounge locations?
Access to partnership lounge locations will not change.

  • online tourism survey

    Analysts said all airlines will benefit if American reduces flights.

  • Umar Waqas

    We intend to honor AAdvantage miles in accordance with our normal policies.

  • Frank

    NOTHING changes for the customer.  Of course NOT.  Now who’s the REAL VICTIM here:

    Workers GET SCREWED again!