Always looking for incremental fees to increase revenue, the airlines have been pretty creative lately. The most recent fee conjured out of what used to be a standard benefit offered to customers is the ability to hold a non-refundable ticket at a certain price point but not be committed to buying it at that price if you choose such. Back in the good old days fares would commonly come with the ability to hold the ticket for 1, 3 or 7 days before ticketing was required – no charge.
These days, as airlines look to secure as much revenue as possible, the airlines are mostly moving to a scheme that requires immediate ticketing with the ability to refund within 24 hours (or by midnight the following day or only 4 hours, depending on the carrier) if you change your mind. This certainly closes more transactions as folks are less likely to go back and cancel then they are to remember to go back and complete the purchase.
But the airlines do still recognize that customers want the ability to reserve a fare before they have to pay for the ticket. Whether for squaring away PTO requests or hotel arrangements or any number of other reasons, this is a service that customers want. And apparently they’re willing to pay for it. Continental Airlines was the leader in this space, introducing their FareLock product back in December. FareLock allows for up to 7 days to confirm the purchase, depending on the fee paid.
The American Airlines option is, at least for now, in addition to a free 24 hour hold that the company still offers and it is quite a bit less expensive than the Continental FareLock option:
At only $5 to lock in the fare the deal isn’t all that bad. Not likely something I’m keen to pay on any reservation anytime soon, but it is a reasonably priced option for folks looking to secure a fare for a few extra days.
It is available by clicking on the "Hold" button in the reservations process on AA.com, right after you get past the option to purchase priority boarding, free standby and discounted change fees.
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