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Air Travel/Why did I get a voucher instead of cash?

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Question
I had to add a flight to my itinerary with American Airlines. Lucky for me the price of the same flight I had was priced $50 cheaper than when I had purchased it. The lady said she would send me a $50 voucher. She never offered cash, and I didn't think of asking. I rarely fly and will probably never use my voucher. My first question is why don't they offer to just put the $50 back on my credit card instead of giving me a voucher, and second, is there anyway I can return my voucher for money?

One more thing if you don't mind...online it says my status is "ticketed". Does this mean everything is good to go, and there will be no surprised at the airport?

Answer
It's been a long time since I was involved with ticketing, but here we go...

Airlines offer vouchers because they know that most people won't use them and so they don't lose any money by giving them out. And if you do decide to fly their airline again, they've just made a few hundred dollars from you, so the $50 voucher was still worth it to them. If they gave cash, they would lose too much money. So it's better for them to make you think you;re getting money back, when really, there is no risk to them.

As far as the online system saying "ticketed" that should mean that you have a confirmation number and all you'll need to do to get your boarding pass is either go to the self-serve kiosk or go to the ticket counter and you'll be all set. Now that everything is electronic, the who notion of confirming flights and being ticketed is a little out of date. back when we used physical tickets, it was much more necessary than it is now.

Having said that, don't forget to get to the airport with plenty of time before your flight (at least one hour, two is better) just in case something happens or if security is really slow.

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Matthew Smith

Expertise

CAN: Airport Security (NOT immigration).
Airport planning and design. Airport development.
Airline pricing/yield/revenue management (NOT prices for individual tickets)
grant process
PLEASE STOP ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW LONG IT TAKES TO FLY FROM A TO B!!!
PLEASE STOP ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW MUCH PARTICULAR AIRLINES WILL CHARGE FOR YOUR BAGS!
That's why your airline has a website!

Experience

Formerly Director of Operations at a small commercial airport.
Formerly worked for a state government issuing and managing airport development grants.
Formerly worked for TSA. (Not as bad as it appears to the average passenger.)
Formerly worked at an airport in planning and operations.
Also formerly worked as a Price Analyst for a wildly unpopular airline.
Currently teaching overseas until the job market improves.

Organizations
AAAE, AOPA, AzAA

Publications
Collegiate Aviation Review (2008)

Education/Credentials
B.A. English and Religious Studies, Hobart College M.S. Aviation Management Technology, Arizona State University --specialty is airport planning and design

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