Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Valuable Vouchers

Question: Great blog! On my way home from the holidays, I learned my flight was overbooked and the airline was taking volunteers to give up their seats for a $400 voucher. I declined because I'd never heard of this. Is this legit?

Answer: Yes! This is a legitmate proposition. In fact, I often wish my flights are overbooked to benefit from the airline's deliberate situation. I say deliberate because the airlines actually overbook popular flights with the hopes someone will not show up or arrive late. Why? To capitalize as much as possible. But, when all passengers arrive, they have to make concessions. This a huge perk for you.

Interested in qualifying for the voucher? Here are a few tips:

  • Don't check your bags. For various security reasons, you cannot fly without your luggage. If you check your bags, you don't qualify. Customer service representatives often tell you if you go back to the check-in counter you MAY be able to retrieve your bags. This is not true. When you check your bags, your bag is shipped away almost immediately. Don't waste your time. It's not worth it. If you believe you're on a overbooked flight, carry on.
  • Get to the gate early. As previously mentioned, the airlines purposefully overbook flights (holiday flights to popular cities, for example) and if there isn't enough seats, they make the annoucement early. The practice of receiving vouchers is very popular and there are always people waiting to volunteer. The earlier you arrive at the gate, the better your chances.

And there are other perks. I once relinguished my seats on a late flight to Dallas which was the last flight of the day. I received a $400 voucher, a free night at an airport Hyatt, two meal vouchers for breaksfast and dinner, PLUS a first-class seat on the first flight out the next morning.

But, before you give away your seats, ask the customer service representative and yourself these questions:

  • How will this affect my own travel plans?
  • May I use this voucher for domestic and international flights?
  • Does this voucher include penalties?
  • Can I redeem it online or over the phone or do I have to travel to the airport?
  • What's the earliest flight I can get on?

Hope this helps!

* Have a question? Please send an email to or leave a comment.

No comments: