American Airlines Drops Most Traditional Airfare Sales – At Least for Now

FareCompare’s Deals Blog has publicized a wide variety of sales from U.S. and international carriers for nearly a decade but we have seen no ‘traditional’ flight-only airfare sales from American Airlines since December. What’s up? New marketing strategy.

LISTEN: Airfare expert Rick Seaney adds his 2+ cents.

American “Rethinking” Traditional Sales

FareCompare contacted American and received this response by email:

“We’re rethinking our marketing campaigns, knowing that our lowest everyday fares are available on aa.com. From time to time, we may choose to broadly promote batches of fare sales, but our primary focus will be on American Airlines Vacations packages and the lowest fares for specific routes.”

At the moment, American’s website offers no flight-only traditional fare sales (they say they do offer some last-minute deals) but there are plenty of mileage deals on the site including a U.S./Canada to Australia deal with up to 90,000 bonus AAdvantage miles plus numerous vacation flight+hotel package deals (see screen shot below).

Screenshot from AA.com 4-7-16
Screenshot from AA.com 4-7-16

Is American saying it doesn’t have the cheapest fares? Absolutely not. Sometimes American does have the lowest-priced tickets, sometimes Spirit does, sometimes Southwest, sometimes others do. No single airline always has the best deals which is why shoppers must always compare airfares.

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Other Airlines Continue Traditional Sales

If this is a trend, other airlines are not yet falling in line: Delta, United, Southwest and others continue to offer traditional fare sales on a regular basis and you’ll find them on the Deals Blog. It’s too soon to say if this strategy is working for American but if the airline returns to the weekly fare sales of yesteryear, we will post them. Plus you can find American tickets when searching for flights on FareCompare.

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Updated: April 13, 2016