American May Prohibit Changing Nonrefundable Tickets After Congressional Proposals

  • Skift Take
    You can see Doug Parker’s point, but that won’t stop passengers from getting upset — especially since the high fees that airlines charge annoy them already.

    American Airlines Group Inc. would consider barring passengers from changing nonrefundable tickets if Congress limits what carriers can charge for the adjustments, Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker said Tuesday.

    “That non-refundable ticket is of value to us,” Parker told reporters after speaking to a business group in Irving, Texas. “We knew that seat was going to be filled. It allowed us to do other things. We sold the rest of the airplane knowing that seat was going to be filled.”

    Doing away with changes to nonrefundable fares would make airline flights more like baseball games or concerts, where customers aren’t typically reimbursed if they buy tickets and can’t use them. Carriers currently consider the ability to change a nonrefundable ticket as a service that carries a cost. Such fees, which run up to $200, anger many passengers.

    The language limiting what carriers can charge for ticket changes is being supported by consumer groups as a bipartisan provision. It is in a version of an aviation-policy bill sponsored by Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota, who is chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Parker called the proposal “really bad for consumers” last week.

    While much of the bill has been agreed to by both parties, it hasn’t passed the committee yet as other issues are hashed out. The language on fees isn’t in a House version of the bill.

    American would have to assess how any changes to company policies would affect its competitiveness with other carriers before acting, Parker said.

    ©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

    This article was written by Mary Schlangenstein and Alan Levin from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

    Photo Credit: An American Airlines tail. CEO Doug Parker said the company might stop passengers changing nonrefundable tickets. Bloomberg
    Subscribe Now

    Already a member?

    Already a member?

    Subscribe to Skift Pro to get unlimited access to stories like these

    Subscribe Now

    Already a member?