American Airlines Passenger Loses First Class Seat Due to AURA Rebooking Tool

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The recent rollout of the American Airlines AURA tool, an automated rebooking tool based on predictive models, has already caused a few red flags by travelers who immediately noticed the change. While some posts can be attributed to early adopters rushing online to post negative feedback, there’s a long list of travelers who have experienced the real-life effects of the new technology.

The AURA tool was launched back in May to make booking more efficient. The tool uses an automated system comparing flight arrival times with departures of connecting flights. Flights “predicted” to arrive late and potentially miss a connection will automatically be booked to a later flight.

One of the biggest complaints about the tool is that predictability does not always reflect reality. Certain factors like delayed connections or even sprinting through an airport can all change the outcome of whether or not you make your connection. We’ve all seen people running through the airport to their gate so we know passengers have no issue defying predictive models and showing that it is indeed possible to make a tight connection.

Our goal is to help our readers to navigate some of the common issues travelers have faced when flying with American Airlines. From customer service issues to technology blunders, these user-submitted posts show what you may encounter yourself and possible solutions to rectify unpleasant travel experiences:

Customer Experience:

A reader contacted us with the following message about her recent experience with American Airlines:

“This happened to me in Charlotte. We landed at the gate adjacent to my departure gate, and I would have made the flight had they not reassigned my seat to someone on standby. First class seat [was] given away. I had to fly standby and did not get [a] first class seat on the flight.

I’ll happily share my update. I have EP status and was shocked when they called down to the crew only to hear they couldn’t remove the person who claimed my seat. 

I sent a message to the AA customer service team via the app and haven’t received a reply. I will gladly circle back when I have a response.

Thanks – Reader”

As an AAdvantage Executive Platinum status, we expect first-rate customer service accommodating their most loyal travelers. However, this passenger was treated the very opposite. The airline showed no apparent urgency in getting the passenger on their flight, even after arriving. 

Image Sourse News AA

Experiences like this show that the AURA predictive model has flaws—such as recognizing adjacent gates. We followed up with the reader for more context of the situation and any resolutions offered by the airline. Here is her response:

“I fly 3-4x a week, and I’m fairly savvy with navigating myself through cancellations. I was not expecting to be rebooked based on a hunch my connecting flight would not arrive in time. I just logged in to reconfirm the routes. This multi-leg trip was a combination of award and credit rebooking. The SFO-LGA-YYZ-CLT-SAV didn’t have first/business across the entire trip at booking. The connection in CLT was an EP upgrade to SAV. 

I was automatically rebooked to a different flight mid flight from Toronto. The first flight with confirmed availability was at 9p or approximately 8 hours after my scheduled flight at 1p. I asked an agent at the original flight departure gate to check if they would let me on the flight. They were still at the gate, and [the] door was about to close. They filled all seats with standby passengers. He placed me on standby for the next flight to Savannah leaving at 330p. My status moved me ahead of the others, and I sat in an economy seat to Savannah.

The gate agent told me to keep the printed tickets for future query and to note that they are using predictive technology to estimate if passengers will arrive within 45 minutes of departure. Those within that range are automatically rebooked to a new flight. A few others on my flight from Toronto received similar updates in the app. However, it was unclear if they received the same fare type (i.e., woman next to me paid for an exit row seat.) Personally, I would love the ability to opt-out and roll the dice on timing a connection. However, the app simply sends you a message stating you are expected to miss your upcoming flight, and they have offered you a confirmed seat on “x” flight.”

Thanks to our reader, we have details about how the predictive model works and what to expect if you’re subject to getting rebooked.

  • Passengers are automatically rebooked if their connection flight does not arrive within 45 minutes of the next flight leaving. Flight delays factor in late arrivals and can be the reason your connecting flights are rebooked.
  • Passengers are alerted via text once they arrive that their flight has been rebooked. You’ll get an alert confirming your flight details. Rebooking does not factor into your fare seat since you’re bumped to standby status.

Having the option to opt out of being automatically rebooked is a great suggestion to avoid any future negative feedback from customers. Travelers familiar with frequent routes and navigating airports have more confidence in making their regularly scheduled flight instead of being delayed hours waiting for another. Making the feature option would likely have a cost to travelers who opt out but miss their connecting flight.

Since the rebooking tool is still new, we expect several other travelers to experience the adverse effects of the AURA tool. We’ll continuously update this article with more reader-submitted feedback about their experiences on American Airlines.

We’d like to hear your story if you’ve been recently rebooked on your American Airlines flight! Leave a comment or email us your experience, and we’ll share it to help travelers just like you.

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