Reconsidering American Airlines' "Your Choice" Boarding and Flexibility Package

Back in June, I wrote a blog entry entitled American Airlines adds "Your Choice" service, i.e. pay for what used to be free. I was critical of AA's new "Your Choice" program, bemoaning that the airline was charging for what used to be free. Well, since then I've had second thoughts on the issue and booked the "Your Choice" package for a client today.

I still would like to see the standby and "discounted" change fee options offered for free, but for $19 I felt the extra cost worth it--especially because my client may arrive at his departure airport with sufficient time to catch an earlier flight to DFW.

He's a senior citizen so he'd get to board early anyway and at $101, I'd buy a new ticket before I paid the change fee, but the standby option is quite attractive and I can see where all three "perks" might be attractive in other scenarios.

I thought the other legacies would have matched by now, but AA is still the only major U.S. airline with a program like this.


Michael D December 5, 2010 at 10:41 am

Changing a flight on AA at DFW may mean a terminal change so keep that in mind with your elderly client. The Skylink is inside security at DFW and connects all terminals at two points. For me that means I am 15 min away from any gate at DFW if I run. Your elderly client may be 45 min away at a 2MPH pace if he or she knows where they are going.

I would think having free standby for all would be a smart business decision for all the airlines. In olden days of paper and paper hybrid reservations this might have presented a problem. But today it should be just a mouse click. Additionally if I am standing at the gate willing to give up my ticket on a later flight for a flight which has no possibility of selling any last minute high profit tickests they should let me on so that if per chance my original flight does sell out and there is the opportunity to sell additional high profit seats on it they can.

If all the airlines did do this it would be one less perk for 1K'ers though. You might not have to spend the $19 but you would have to register your request before all those who weren't but had twenty bucks to spend did.

Darren December 5, 2010 at 10:51 am

I didn't know about that program... seems like a tempting value for a non-elite on AA who wants a bit of flexibility. This is certainly a better package than United's "Premier Line." If I were to defect from United and do a challenge to get status on AA, I'd consider buying this in the interim.

@Michael: Indeed, my client has to change from mainline to American Eagle, but I have oredered a wheelchair for him. Someone should be waiting at the gate to take him over to his connecting flight.

Unfortunately, his layover his three hours long so he shouldn't have to worry about missing his connection! I do have an Admiral's Club pass for him, though.

I agree with you point--if the flight has empty seats, what does it hurt to send someone out earlier? That way, if a problem develops later like an oversell situtaion, you've got an extra seat on the flight.

@Darren: Right. I would never consider UA's Premier Line but this seemed to be a good deal. I probably wouldn't buy it for me, though--I'd try to sweetalk an agent (multiple agents if possible) to override the fee and get me on the earlier flight. I've never tried with AA, but I've had success on US, CO, and even good ol' LH.

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