American Schedule Changes, got to love them!


I dread getting emails from American Airlines. Well a certain sort – those that feature schedule changes. The latest arrived overnight for a trip in July to Chile.

So why do I hate them so much – you have to read them really carefully – they don’t always tell you the whole story upfront.

Take this latest example – ‘You are receiving this notification as a result of a flight number change’ it said, yes the bolding is Americans. Who cares about a flight number change I asked? As long as it’s on my Boarding Pass on the day, what difference does in make?

Well in this case, quite a lot. Reading through the flights helpfully listed below, I noticed that I was suddenly flying to Columbus, in Coach on my way to Miami. Now, I know I like the odd extra segment (for status purpose), but the one I had originally booked was just JFK to Orlando to Miami en-route to Santiago. Almost a straight line!

So what had AA done?

It appears American picked a random mid-west city, and thought I might enjoy 2 hours in a regional jet, going in the wrong direction, before nearly three hours in a regional jet, on the way to Miami.

I don’t think so!

Luckily the helpful agent that I called thought the same and booked me on an earlier, direct flight to Miami from JFK. Yes, it will cost me 60 British Airways tier points. All for the sake of my original flight connection dropping one minute below the minimum connecting time in Orlando.

So, check your emails, and if it’s from American, read all of it – carefully.


  1. I’m doing a similar route in August, luckily I’m going JFK-MIA-SCL, so no route changes. I did get the American Airlines schedule change email today though too. I wish they would say what the changes are upfront, rather than just listing all 10 flights on the itinerary! Luckily very minor changes for me; we get an extra half hour in NY, which isn’t a bad thing.

  2. Just to play devil’s advocate, sometimes this can work in your favor. I have to go PHL-MSY for a bachelor party on Fri-Sun in June. Direct flights were $800+ on AA and I didn’t feel like using miles, so I booked a $400 PHL-CLT-MSY-ORD-PHL, getting in Friday at noon and not getting home Sunday until midnight.

    Lo and behold, schedule change on both sets of flights, more than a few hours (I think one flight got canceled or moved), call AA line, get me switched to those $800 directs for free.

    Their scheduling system sometimes works out. May the odds be ever in your favor.

  3. I got one fixed this weekend too: Originally had MSP-CLT-JFK and on to CDG in August. Changed to MSP-LGA, then JFK-CDG, with an equipment swap 777-200 retrofit to 767 retrofit. Took some time, but it was easy enough to get an MSP-CLT-CDG, with an A330 on the long haul. That itinerary wasn’t available for award bookings when I booked, so I’m happy with the result. However, I can’t imagine how the average traveler would react to having that airport change added into their itinerary

  4. I used to fly AA all the time for work. Then my travel requirements changed and I ended up flying UAL for the last 4 years. Since last August, I’ve flown AA five times and had my return flight canceled 4 out of 5 times. Each time, AA has claimed it has been due to weather–which sounds reasonable until I checked (each time) and found that DAL and UAL were still flying, no delays. Three of these trips resulted in my flying home over 1-2 DAYS later because they could not rebook me any sooner, despite my calling immediately and being placed on hold for hours. Now I don’t have elite status on AA, but it seems they could do better. I’ve lost all confidence in them.

  5. When I used to be a corporate drone, I’d purposefully book a flight like JFK-CMH-MCO instead of JFK-MCO becuase, miles, of course, but also because nobody messed with my workflow while I was actively traveling.

    Now that I’m a consultant, I book as direct as possible because, if I’m not working, I’m not getting paid.

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