DALLAS — On November 30, American Airlines (AA) announced the end of its AirPass Program after 41 years.
The AirPass program which started in the 1970s after airline deregulation allows companies and travelers to pre-purchase tickets on AA at fixed rates. The airline said that it will no longer accept new memberships for the program and there has been no indication of any program to replace AirPass.
Some of the perks of the AirPass program were the ease of changing travel plans at the last minute, Admirals Club access, premium seating, and other amenities. In 2021, the airline also added new perks to the program, including complimentary Wi-Fi subscriptions and the ability to book AirPass flights on partner airlines including Japan Airlines (JL), British Airways (BA), Finnair (AY), and Iberia (IB).
If travelers paid enough money, they could get elite status, ranging from AAdvantage Gold to Concierge Key, depending on the amount of money paid.
According to the carrier’s website, “As of November 30, 2022, we are no longer accepting new memberships. Thank you for your loyalty and business, and we look forward to seeing you on board soon. Please visit aa.com to purchase tickets and learn about our suite of elevated offerings to enhance your travel journey.”
According to the airline, existing customers who already have an AirPass account can request a refund or use the remaining funds in their account. Existing memberships will not be renewed, but those who purchased a lifetime membership will continue to have that honored.
A Changing Landscape for US Airline Perks
The move by AA reminds us of Delta Air Lines (DL), which, to combat overcrowding at its signature Sky Club lounges, made major changes last week regarding who could purchase a Sky Club membership.
Delta passengers with non-elite medallion status will no longer be able to purchase a lounge membership. Also starting January 1, membership fees are increasing by US$150 for individual memberships and US$650 for Executive memberships.
Additionally, starting February 1, individual memberships using the Choice Benefits Program will no longer be offered. Furthermore, the Executive membership will cost three choice benefit credits instead of the previous two.
Featured image: American Airlines N118NN Airbus A321-231. Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways