American to offer in-flight compensation

There was an article released by the Chicago Business Journal which announced that American Airlines would be offering in-flight compensation for any “inconveniences.” The specifics of the announcement are as follows:

Called iSolve, the new software is expected to be loaded later this month on tablets American flight attendants carry with them on flights.

The new software will allow flight attendants to offer on-the-spot compensation in the form of AAdvantage miles when specific inconveniences happen inflight — that is if the passenger in question is enrolled in AA’s frequent traveler program.

Those inflight inconveniences might include such things as inflight entertainment issues, broken seats or meal shortages.

— Chicago Business Journal

I think the general consensus is very positive. American is now offering something that both United and Delta have been offering for years. So while I think it is a positive move for the airline, its more of a better late than never scenario. American catching up to the rest.

The one thing that struck me about this article is when they mention the policies of the other airlines. American is introducing a software available for their flight attendants to give compensation in-flight, and supposedly United and Delta are said to have their own versions of this software. I say supposedly, because as long as I’ve been flying Delta I’ve never once heard about flight attendants being able to give me miles in flight.

I have actually heard a few stories of this happening on United. To be specific, I have heard it happen twice. On two separate occasions I have heard of the in-flight entertainment not working — before the flight took off the flight attendant came over the PA system and made everyone on the flight aware they would see 10,000 points credited to their MileagePlus accounts upon landing. And like clockwork, it was there when wheels touched down.

For some reason, I had always assumed that Delta didn’t have a policy like that. As a Delta loyalist I had always thought that in-flight “inconveniences” were handled after the flight on Delta’s website. While this can obviously be a tedious, and at times worthless, process, I have never thought too much nor do I want to consistently request mileage compensation. This is a discussion for a different day, but I think anyone who consistently complains online is “tracked” by the airline. And ultimately, I think that will come back to haunt you some day.

But I was intrigued at this policy from Delta. From my personal experience, Delta seems to be reluctant to just hand out miles to an entire flight — but then again I have never been on a flight where my TV wasn’t working, or my seat was broken.

Most importantly, now I know that Delta FAs do have the ability to offer in-flight compensation for inconveniences. I don’t think I will be going out of my way to get compensated during the flight, but it is good to know in the event that something were to happen on a future flight.

The two major takeaways here are

1) Of course American is “catching up” to the rest of the US airlines

2) The reason that I don’t know about Delta offering this must be because there are never issues.

Bottom Line

While it is nice to finally confirm that you can be compensated in-flight, I don’t think I will be going out of my way to get compensated. In the event that a major inconvenience were to happen in-flight, it is only right that people expecting those benefits are compensated. I’m very excited though to learn about this, more importantly for Delta, though.


Tucker is an avid points and miles enthusiast. Being fully involved in the world of credit cards and frequent flying for only a few years now, he brings a very fresh and unique perspective to the world of travel.

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