Federal rules from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that airlines adopt at least one of two cancellation policies for purchased tickets.
Federal rules require an airline to either allow customers to cancel tickets purchased within 24 hours, or hold those tickets for 24 hours, however, these rules only require that when travel booked is more than 7 days away.
However, as of yesterday (March 26, 2014), American Airlines no longer lets customers place a reservation on hold if the flight is due to depart within 7 days from the booking date. This new policy, unfortunately, comes at a great cost to customers, especially to those customers who encounter an emergency which is either business or personal, in nature.
Last week I placed a reservation on ‘hold’ for a flight that departed within 5 hours, I placed it on hold until I got home because my credit cards were at home and I had to double check a few things before I made such a decision. With the new policy, the fares for the flight will probably skyrocket between the time you see the flight on AA.com and the time you get to actually reserve it, whereas before you were guaranteed the flight that you placed on hold.
All we can do now is hope that the ‘new American‘ reverses its decision and begins to offer holds again for flights due to depart within 7 days. Currently, US Airways does not allow you to place paid flights on hold, only award flights.