It can be difficult to understand the dozens of different fares and booking codes on American Airlines, but what’s even more confusing is understanding the difference between Flexible and Fully Flexible tickets. AA doesn’t make this super clear on their website, or during the booking process, which is frustrating given how much more these types of tickets cost.
Two Types of American Airlines Fares
American Airlines offers two different fares that offer flexibility: Flexible and Fully Flexible. While they sound the same, there is nuance to the different fare types:
AA Flexible Fares
Flexible fares on American Airlines are changeable and refundable, but likely have advanced purchase requirements or other restrictions which is why they cost less than Fully Flexible fares. This means that while you can make changes to your flight, there will likely be a fare difference (especially if it is close to your departure date).
AA Fully Flexible Fares
Fully Flexible tickets are changeable, refundable, and also have no advanced purchase requirements which allows you to make a change up until departure without an additional charge in most cases. These are the most expensive fares on American Airlines.
How To View Detailed Fare Rules
To fully understand what is allowed with your flexible fare, you need to view the detailed fare rules for your ticket. AA doesn’t make this clear, unfortunately. You need to get to the very last step of the booking process and click Detailed fare rules which will open in a new tab or window on your browser.
That will open a window that looks like this:
The fare rules can be overwhelming! The two important sections to pay attention to are the Refunds/Reissue and Penalities sections. This will provide you with the exact terms of your ticket, and explain what is possible for a refund and show if a change or cancellation fee will be taken out of your refund.
The unfortunate truth is that it is important to read the specific fare rules for your ticket, regardless of how American Airlines markets it for sale. While a Flexible fare sounds like it should be… flexible… there may be a few restrictions that limit how flexible your ticket actually is. You need to look at the Penalties section of your Fare Rules at the end of the booking process to know for sure what changes are allowed.
Have you had difficulty understanding Flexible vs Fully Flexible? Leave a comment!