American Airlines bans automated fare reshopping

Starting June 1, American Airlines will prohibit travel advisors from making use of automated reshopping technology to change and rebook airline tickets.

Advisors who engage in the practice could be subject to debit memos or having their access to portions of American’s content removed. They could also face stronger measures, such as suspension or termination of their authority to sell American inventory.

Automated fare reshopping has become a more enticing proposition since airlines such as American eliminated their standard $200 change fees early in the pandemic. It involves the use of an automated tool to rebook a ticketed passenger on the same flight and in the same cabin class in order to take advantage of a reduced fare that has become available. Savings from the rebooking go back to the passenger in the form of a flight credit. 

However, automated rebooking, which is also used for hotels, has been around since before the pandemic. Many OTAs and corporate booking tools have adopted the technology, often assisted by an airfare/hotel price-tracker such as Yapta or Tripbam.

American’s new policy has been added via addendum to the carrier’s governing travel agency agreements. American has also added the policy to its contract of carriage, which applies to all of its customers, including those who don’t use a travel advisor. 

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