American Airlines has a new "Your Choice" program that is nicely sugar-coated to make you think that you are saving money.
The initial "Your Choice" offering is a "Boarding and Flexibility Package" that:
- Places you in Group 1 of General Boarding, which allows you to be one of the first groups to board the plane for your flight. (Group 1 boards immediately following PriorityAAccess(SM) customers)
- Provides a $75 Flight Change Discount, which means that if you need to change your itinerary, you’ll save $75 off the regular service charge when applicable
- Allows you to standby for an earlier flight on your day of departure at no charge
Introductory prices (based on n/s routing) will be available through the summer months:
- $9 for Dallas/Fort Worth to Kansas City, Mo.
- $14 for Chicago O’Hare to Boston
- $14 for Dallas/Fort Worth to Orlando, Fla.
- $14 for Miami to Washington, D.C.
- $19 for New York JFK to Los Angeles
AA plans to break up the package and allow the purchase of each "choice" separately later in the summer.
With the trend of increasing airline fees, this is not a bad deal. Still, it is sad that people have to pony up to standby for an earlier flight (free just a few months ago) and to board early (on an airline that has assigned seating). If AA closely enforced their carry-on policy, people wouldn’t feel the need to hastily board out of fear of overhead space running out. The discount on the change fee is nice, but it seems to me that most leisure travelers schedule trips on specific dates that will not require changing and business travelers purchase refundable tickets. Am I missing something?
Let’s see if the other carriers match this new program.