There was no recent "suspension" of buddy passes. I started with American in Sept. 2000. We were not allowed to give out buddy passes (officially a D3 pass) until we completed probation (6 months). So, what's new about this?
American doesn't want anyone using D3 passes if there is no employee to take responsibility for the D3 traveler's behavior. And, during probation (especially with flight attendants) they can fire you on the spot because they don't like the way you part your hair. There is no union protection for probationary employees.
Actually that's not true. I started with AA in 2017... I was able to use my D3, Buddy passes right away. The new policy was just recently implemented. We just hired 6 new people at our station and they JUST made the cut off date.
That's incredible. While I was working for AA (I retired in 2017), every time you turned around they were reducing the non-rev travel benefits. Last major cut was to start charging extra for First Class for D3 travelers. (Prior to that I always listed my D3 travelers for F/C because the charges were the same whether you got F/C or not.) They seemed to have kept that "benefit." I just listed a friend for a trip over July 4th. F/C cost an additional $28 for DFW-CLT (and additional $28 for CLT-DFW). Of course that assumes that he gets F/C which is always pure luck if you do.
E, you and I must have started with AA about the same time. We had been told in our interviews in June, 2000 that we would get D2 travel privileges upon joining the payroll which didn't happen until the day after graduation and D3 privileges upon completion of probation (6 months). In late August (about 8 weeks into training) a manager came into the classroom one day and announced there had been a change in travel policy and we would not get travel benefits (D2) until we had completed the 6-month probationary period. (I later found out from a flight attendant who had transferred to Flight Service from HR that the 6-month policy was decided on in January of 2000[!!!], but would not be implemented until September 1st, 2000. Flight Service management was aware of this change in January yet quoted the old policy to us in June. My class was the first class to graduate after September 1st. My official hire date was September 7, 2000.
I always suspected that the change to 6-months was because there was no union job protection for probationary flight attendants. They could fire you for the way you parted your hair. With the change they didn't have to go through the folderol of employment hearings and appeals, etc if you or a buddy pass flyer misbehaved in any way on a flight. I didn't realize until you posted the above that it (completion of 6-months probation) applied to every new hire, not just flight attendants.