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How long is an unused non-refundable ticket valid???

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I bought a couple nonrefundable American Airlines tickets in July, 2003, for a departure date of October 29th.

I had been under the previous belief that my non-refundable tickets would be able to be applied towards new tickets, less perhaps a $50 change fee per ticket, for one full year after my original travel dates. I had hoped to use the credit, in this case about $160 per ticket after the $50 change fee, towards the purchase of other tickets prior to the expiration.

However, after reading American Airlines website, I am not so sure that I can get anything out of these unused tickets. If I read AA website correctly, I only have one year from the DATE OF PURCHASE rather than one year from my original travel dates.

Anybody have any experience with this issue?

Thanks.

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