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American Airlines changes to 24-hour refund policy on tickets

Travelers check in at the American Airlines ticket counter in terminal C at DFW Airport. The Fort Worth-based carrier has changed its policy to offer refunds within the first 24 hours after a ticket is purchased. Special/Brandon Wade
Travelers check in at the American Airlines ticket counter in terminal C at DFW Airport. The Fort Worth-based carrier has changed its policy to offer refunds within the first 24 hours after a ticket is purchased. Special/Brandon Wade Star-Telegram

American Airlines will offer full refunds on tickets within the first 24 hours after the ticket was purchased, starting on April 1.

The Fort Worth-based carrier has previously offered customers the option to hold a ticket at its current fare for 24 hours but did not offer refunds once the ticket was purchased.

With the refund policy change, American is aligning its policy with other airlines who currently offer 24-hour refunds.

“We’re making the switch to minimize the customer confusion that arose sometimes because our policy was different from those of other airlines,” the carrier said in a statement.

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation required airlines to offer customers two options if they book a non-refundable ticket more than seven days ahead of the scheduled departure: allow a customer to change or cancel the trip within 24 hours without penalty or allow a customer to hold the reservation at the current price for 24 hours without paying for the ticket.

Most airlines, like Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines, opted to allow refunds within 24 hours of the ticket purchase. American, instead, has offered the hold option.

The hold option will remain on American’s website temporarily as the company transitions to the new policy which will apply to tickets booked through its call center or AA.com.

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