American Airlines’ New ‘Flat Tire’ Rule Helps Passengers Who Arrive Late and Miss Their Flight

By Kurt Stolz on 24 April 2021
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American Airlines agents at the new LaGuardia Airport

Airlines have long had what are commonly referred to as “flat tire rules,” a policy that, for individuals who show up too late to get on a flight in a timely fashion, allows passengers to standby for another flight the same day or be placed on such a flight, although this varies by airline.

American Airlines has now told its agents to rebook passengers who arrive at the airport after the check-in-cutoff but within 15 minutes of the flight’s actual departure as confirmed passengers on the next flight, based on availability.

Previously, American would put that passenger on the standby list.

The Fort Worth-based carrier told employees that the change “will help reduce mishandled baggage and lengthy priority lists, while providing an elevated customer experience.”

The airline is giving agents the latitude to rebook the passenger onto a flight to a different airport at the same destination, a co-terminal in airline parlance, and to route the passenger via a different connecting city, if required to get the passenger to his destination.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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