American Airlines May Now Give Away Your Seat When You Run To Make A Connection

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Last month American Airlines fully rolled out a new tool called AURA, the “AUtomated ReAccommodation” tool to rebook passengers when their flights are cancelled or delayed.

But this tool does so predictively. As American describes it in internal documents,

AURA utilizes a concept called discovered inventory, in which it identifies passengers that are certain to misconnect and utilizes that available inventory for protecting other passengers who may need that space.

They take passengers off of flights who haven’t missed them yet, but where the airline is ‘certain’ they will misconnect, in order to give those seats to other passengers. “PRNG Update” in a reservation means that AURA tool has run:

As I wrote in May when revealing the plan, people occasionally have flights where it’s ‘obvious’ they cannot make their connection and then something happens at the last minute so that they do.

  • The connecting flight gets delayed!
  • And they run between flights and make it, just before doors close!

Now they might find themselves without the connection, even though circumstances lined up so that they could have made it if American hadn’t given their seat to someone else instead. American said this wouldn’t happen but it appears to be happening.

A reader shares their experience this past weekend flying from Portland, Maine to Chicago and on to San Diego in first class.

  • Their first segment was delayed half an hour, and they share “it looked like I was gonna misconnect, even though the second leg was also delayed.”
  • They were removed automatically from their connecting flight prior to touchdown at Chicago O’Hare.
  • He “hustled from [gate] L10 to H16 …and made it there while they were still on Group 4. Of course my [boarding pass] no longer worked so I had to speak to the” gate agents.
  • He was told,[Y]our seat has been reaccomodated twice so it’s no longer available. We have an exit row or you can fly first tomorrow.

The passenger noted he’d “paid for first” and asked for his seat back from whomever was upgraded into it. That was declined. He asked for downgrade compensation and was told to contact customer service. At that point he was willing to overnight in Chicago to fly up front to San Diego the next day, and the agent was willing to provide a hotel room.

However another first class passenger, who wasn’t automatically removed from the flight by AURA, misconnected. He was given their seat and, he says, flew on the flight he’d originally intended. But this new tool will mean situations like this happen more and more.

Source: View from the Wings