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Here's my story, it's sad but true...please give me your help in using US Airways vouchers.

Here's my story, it's sad but true...please give me your help in using US Airways vouchers.

Sep 3rd, 2007, 11:14 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 5,150
Here's my story, it's sad but true...please give me your help in using US Airways vouchers.

OK, I've just sent off an email to US Airways Customer Relations and will follow up by phone tomorrow. I thought I'd get advice from the experts (you) before I make that call. I've posted this in the US section too, so please answer wherever it's most convenient for you.

Here's my email. I've given it to you verbatim except for our names because I worked hard on explaining the problem as clearly as possible:

September 3, 2007

I hope you will be able to help me solve a problem in booking flights by using US Airways vouchers.

On December 30, 2006, my husband and I were flying from Ft Lauderdale to Toronto (our home city) and when passengers were solicited, we volunteered our tickets for stand-by passengers. At that time, we were issued two vouchers for free flights anywhere US Airways flies in the continential United States.

Please note these points:
1) The vouchers were issued on December 30, 2006. We were told by the US Airways employee issuing the vouchers that we could use them to book tickets up to one year from that date (therefore to December 30, 2007), and

2) that as long as the flights were booked before that date, they would be valid for a flight through the following year, that is, to December 30, 2008.

Today, I attempted to book two tickets on a flight from Toronto to Florida on December 26, 2007 (flight 306), returning from Talahasee to Toronto on January 4, 2008 (flight 2258).

I called the number we were given at that time, 1-800-428-4322. and spoke to a US Airways employee named Sue. She was very helpful in trying to book these flights for me and has put them on courtesy hold for me while you and I try to solve this problem.

It seems that these vouchers may not be valid or usable for these flights because of the time of year we wish to travel.

Please note that when we were offered the vouchers we were told by the US Airways employee:
- that there would be no limits on our travel,
- that the flights would be free,
- that we could fly within the continental United States until December 30, 2008, as long as the tickets were booked before December 30, 2007,
- and that there wold be no constraints regarding time of year or holiday season.

In fact, it was Christmas time when we gave up our tickets and during the transaction, we were chatting with the gate employee about the fact that we would be using the vouchers the following year at Christmas time. She indicated that this would be no problem.

We had planned from the start to use these tickets Christmas time and would not have given up our original tickets if we'd known at that time that there might be problems with using the vouchers.

You might be thinking that your employee gave us incorrect information at that time. I don't think so because while the transaction was being completed, we (the gate employee and ourselves) were also in conversation with two other passengers who were being issued similar vouchers and they were being given the same information by a second gate employee.

I understand from Sue that the system has now changed and these vouchers are being issued electronically. I would greatly appreciate your help in correcting this error and booking us on the flights that have been held for us. The information is as follows:

- The courtesy hold confirmation code is EYP11M and today's date is September 3, 2007.
- The flight number from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale is 306 on December 26, 2007.
- The return flight number from Talahasee to Toronto is 2258, connecting to 1688 on January 4, 2008.
- The two names to be booked are (me) and (SO).

I understand that your office is closed today but I'll call your office tomorrow to follow up on this email.

I very much appreciate the time Sue put in on the phone with me today and she has told me that I'll also get the same good service from your office. This is clearly a misunderstanding as I don't believe that US Airways would misrepresent these vouchers in any way when they solicit travelers to give up their existing flights.

I look forward to speaking with you and having this problem solved.

hdm is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 12:41 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,923
Do the vouchers say they are only valid for the continental US? If so, that might be your problem since Toronto-Fort Lauderdale is an international route.
hills27 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 01:24 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,032
You stated above: "At that time, we were issued two vouchers for free flights anywhere US Airways flies in the continential United States." And also, "we were told by the US Airways employee...- that we could fly within the continental United States."

Your reservations are to Canada; not in the continental US. Thus the voucher should not apply.

There also may be blackout periods which could affect things, but you should be able to get around that because you were told explicitly, several times, that would not be a problem.

But I can easily see US not wanting to apply the voucher to an international flight.

I don't believe US misrepresented themselves. They offered a domestic US freebie and that's what you got. Although you may feel so because you were on an international flight and may have expected the compensation to be an international flight. But not everyone in such circumstances would expect an international flight as compensation (I assume they did accommodate you on a later flight at no charge).

Nonetheless, good luck with them and let us know how you make out.
NoFlyZone is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 02:56 PM
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Posts: 5,150
No, the international thing isn't the problem. That wasn't even mentioned. And even if that were the case, we could easily solve that problem by flying from Buffalo.

No, she was very clear (after speaking to her supervisor) that the problem was that it was the holiday season, that flights were getting booked up, and even though there were seats available, they wouldn't want to give away 'free' seats that they would be otherwise able to sell.
hdm is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 02:59 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
USAirways is showing a lot of contempt for its customers in recent months, from various online forums I've read. I doubt you'll get a positive answer from them. You may want to cut your loses and consider it a lesson learned.
rkkwan is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 03:07 PM
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Well, this will put an end to any plans I had for a Florida vacation at Christmas. If I can't get satisfaction from them for December/January, do you think they might at least extend the voucher for a year so I can use it sometime in 08?
hdm is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 05:37 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Okay, let me say something about volunteering to give up your seat for a voucher in general. I am not talking about anything specific for the OP's case, just in general for everybody, as I've heard a lot of stories/complains about what happened after one gives up the seat.

- First, you may feel like you're doing the airline (or other flyeres) a favor volunteering for a seat. Please discard that notion first and foremost. To the airline, it's nothing but a simple transaction. They get your seat, you get your compensation and a rebook. That's the end of it. Your rebooked flight may be canceled, may suffer horrible delay. The hotel they put you up to may be a total dump. You will not get any preferred treatment. Don't tell anybody "But I volunteered!" It meant nothing.

- Second, there are lots of fine prints and restrictions. The gate agent may not know them all, and may not have the time and patience to explain all to you. Their main job is to get enough people to give up their seat and send the flight out. Their words basically mean nothing.

- Third, because of the restrictions and fine prints, please don't feel that you've hit the jackpot. They are good for people who have flexible plans, and would enjoy an extra trip, sometime, somewhere. Most useful for people who fly that airline a lot. Otherwise, you're setting yourself up for a disappointment.
rkkwan is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 06:00 PM
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Well, I certainly didn't feel I was doing the airline a favour -- I was entering into a contract with them that would benefit both of us. They got to seat passengers with a more restricted schedule than myself and make them happy so they will probably fly US Airways again. I was willing to put up with the inconvenience of waiting for another flight so that I got free tickets at another time. It's a deal -- we should both benefit.

Regarding fine print and restrictions, they have to either tell you about them, post them somewhere where you can find them and they've done this. Their policies on vouchers are clearly posted (well, you have to search a bit, but there they are) on their website. I've read them. I understand them. There's nothing on there prohibiting them from giving me these seats.

My only mistake here, as AJPeabody has informed me, was in believing them.
hdm is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 06:43 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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I would copy and paste the rules into the e-mail and mention that they say nothing about blackout dates.
andrews98682 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 07:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Apparently, USAirways do it a bit differently than most other airlines. Most just give you a voucher with fixed value that can be applied on future ticket purchase. But the OP got a roundtrip travel one.

Doesn't matter if there's blackout date or not, but it sounded like it's availability-limited. Which is like a mileage reward travel.

Sorry, but I think the OP is out of luck. I'd just use it up for some quick weekend trip to somewhere else. Rather than fighting them to get to travel during Christmas. That's not going to happen.
rkkwan is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 07:05 PM
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There's very little chance for a weekend trip anywhere. I'd settle for an extension of the voucher date, preferably till December 30/08 but even six months would do. SO is a university prof and we don't travel during the school year except for conferences (which are paid for) or Christmas break.

Wish me luck tomorrow!
hdm is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 09:30 PM
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Good luck
Sarvowinner is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 09:47 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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So you got one of these:

Note that the webpage says:
"Travel is subject to availability as seats are limited and may not be available on every flight."

And on the t&c page it says:
"Travel is subject to availability. Voucher seats are limited and may not be available on every flight."

I would assume that you have a region 1 voucher because the original oversold flight segment was from FLL. I doubt very much that USAir had a FLL-YYZ nonstop so the oversold segment was FLL-CLT or FLL-PHL.

You can forget what the agent told you back in December. USAir is going to tell you that you misunderstood or, unfortunately, were misinformed.

The voucher is good until 12/30/07 and the ticket would be good for one year from date of issue. Which I assume means that the return would have to be nlt 12/29/08.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 09:58 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,528
Based on my travels this past August ... just getting from point A to Point B seems like one hell of a hassle!!! Delayed flights, missed bags, Rude/abnoxious agents/staff etc etc etc., this being the case, i would not give up my seat ...... i don't trust the airlines anymore!

As to gate agents ...... i just wish they had better training to handle questions appropriately!
HariS is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 12:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
All airlines depend on a very sophisticated software that predicts how many seats they can oversell and at the end it won't make a difference. Unfortunately, the best human/computer prediction does not work 100%. There are times when everyone does show up.

That gives the airline(s) 2 choices.

1. Vounteerl bump - usually a fixed Amount voucher that can be used on any other future res. Airlines loved this option for 3 reasons. They don't have to report it to FAA for staticts, they don't have to pay cash, and the $300 voucher is costing the airline about a third at worst by the time it's all done...

2. Involunteer bump - unless the first choice didn't work, they need to pick this one. Inv-bump means that a report has to be be made to FAA, and the "punishment" is that the payout has to be in cash. Usually less than the voucher, but more costly than the voucher in the long run. A $300 voucher may cost the airline ~$100, but $200 cash is $200 cash and on top of it, it may never be used to purchase a ticket on the airline that just pissed you of.

When I do volunteer for a bump, I make certain demands. First one - it's a travel cash voucher, not a future ticket voucher. If I need to spend a night, they have to provide a voucher for a hotel I want, not the one they offer. It doesn't mean I'm unreasonable. I don't ask fpr 4-Seasons or the RC, but since I'm a member of HHonors I ask for any local hotel that's associated with the program. That could be Hampton, Doubletreee, Hilton, etc)

I also ask for dinner/breakfast vouchers - mostly useless, but better than nothing.

If the airline decides to play tough and refuse, I just walk away, but not before I tell them I'm available, if they still need more people. Airlines hate to report to FAA everytime they do invol bump. It stays on their record and it costs them actual $$$.

You would be surprised how many times I got the bump based on my demands.......

I know, this will not help you at the moment, I just wanted to let everybody know that it's possible to "let's make a deal"
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 03:29 AM
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<The voucher is good until 12/30/07 and the ticket would be good for one year from date of issue. Which I assume means that the return would have to be nlt 12/29/08.>

This would be fine.

hdm is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 04:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,100
Good luck. I empathisize with your situation because when you volunteered (as I have on several occasions) it is not the best time to read all the fine print on the voucher. It is like being at an auction - you are trying to balance bidding on the item, time to think, before someone else grabs it.

I agree with others that you are destined to lose a he said/she said argument. I believe your only hope is some intelligent customer relations person realizing that pissing a customer off is not worth it - but then this is an airline, and you are one of a zillion pissed off customers these days, so don't hold your breath.
gail is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 05:16 AM
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I've already reconciled myself to the fact that we're unlikely to get to Florida with this voucher this year (although that will be my first try). I'm hoping that they'll either extend the voucher for me so I can purchase ticket after Dec 30/07 or allow me to purchase tickets now for Dec/08 (or another time in 08).

Barring that, my only hope is to convince SO that we can go away for Canadian Thanksgiving weekend (not a big chance of that) and that US Airways will even let us do it.

I've learned my lesson and will NEVER, EVER volunteer my tickets again. Well, unless they give me a big bunch of cash, which I'll then use towards tickets with another airline. I guess there's no shortage of 'first time volunteer' suckers like me, eh?
hdm is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 05:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
AFAIK, no airline will give you cash unless you are inv-bumped.

What I said in an earlier post is that don't ever accept a "future ticket" voucher. These usually come with many restrictions, blacokut dates, etc.

But a cash voucher to be applied towards future purchase is a different story. It usually does have 1 year validity but that's about the only similarity. The value of the voucher can be applied towards any ticket within a year. You are restricted to using the same airline, but basically what you have is "cash" towards ANY new ticket.

btw, these "cash" vouchers should be treated like cash. You lose it, you're done.....
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 06:00 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
There are things one need to learn about these "cash" vouchers. For most airlines, they have to be used on tickets under the same name as the bumped passenger. Also, some, you have to use the full amount the same time. So if you get a $400 voucher, often you cannot use it on a $250 ticket and then save the remaining $150 for next time.

If the bump amount is particularly high, ask them to split the amount into 2 or more vouchers.
rkkwan is offline  

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