Holding airline vouchers for canceled flights? They may be about to expire

Terms vary wildly; expert says read the fine print, call customer service

SAN ANTONIO – A year after the pandemic forced Lisa Kopecky to cancel her flight, she’s finally ready for takeoff.

“I’m going to New York for a little work trip and to see my daughter and little grandbaby, and I am about to do backflips all the way to check-in,” she said while arriving at San Antonio International.

It’s time, Kopecky said, to cash in her travel credits from that canceled flight.

The airlines have been mostly generous in handling customers’ changes, often offering vouchers for future travel. But one year since the lockdowns began, some of those credits may be about to expire. So what should you do?

“My biggest and best advice is read the fine print,” said Scott Keyes, who runs Scott’s Cheap Flights.

Because travel vouchers, rules and extensions vary wildly among airlines, and even within the same airline, Keyes says go directly to your voucher and look for three things.

First, look for the expiration date and how that is defined.

“Does the expiration date refer to when you have to travel by or just when you have to book the flight by?” he said.

Next, look for the terms of what you can use it for, such as if it’s good for any destination or if it’s transferable to another passenger.

And, third, find the phone number for customer service.

“The airlines are actually being fare more flexible and accommodating than their reputation,” Keyes said. “But, you have to call and ask for your voucher to be extended and not necessarily wait for them to do it unilaterally.”

And get it in writing as insurance that your money won’t be the only thing scheduled for departure.

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