American Airlines is adding a degree of automation to the procedures it uses to get travellers to change their travel plans when flights are overbooked, the Phoenix Business Journal reports.

In the past, the airline would call passengers on overbooked flights to dangle offers of compensation in exchange for changing flights. If the initial round of appeals was not successful, airline representatives would call back with progressively more generous offers until the overbooking situation was relieved.

“It didn’t allow us as airlines to be able to reach as many customers as we’d like,” said Julie Rath, vice president of customer experience, innovation and delivery at American Airlines.

“We want to reach every customer, if at all possible, prior to getting to the airport so that we’re valuing the customer’s time.”

The airline’s new Overbooked Flight Automation tool allows customers to be contacted via email or American’s travel app to alert them of available overbooking incentives. The airline also plans to change its incentive program next year, offering travellers the choice of receiving travel vouchers for changing flights (as is the current practice) or taking compensation in the form of AAdvantage frequent flyer miles.