Your flight was overbooked so you were denied boarding? Or maybe you were affected by the recent wave of flight cancellations due to travel restrictions implemented worldwide? Then you most probably were offered a travel voucher instead of a refund. Should you accept such a proposition?
The so-called ‘future travel’ coupon option has been around for quite a long time. And almost for its entire history such kind of proposal was there to entice passengers who have found themselves in a situation that requires a quick decision. And while it is widely advised to better refuse such a proposition, the airline is often prepared to offer you a deal which – at least, at the first glance – seems impossible to refuse.
So why to scrap such an offer? Or maybe you shouldn’t do that? Well, here we’ll try to crisply introduce you to most common scenarios and provide a brief cues on the possible outcomes. Of course, we can tell you in advance that there is no single solution for all the situations.
Sometimes a traveller can find it better to take a travel voucher than to refuse it or even get an instant cash refund – and will become a winner in the long-run, getting dirt cheap intercontinental flight half a year later. So some kind of gamble is also involved here – and such factor should also always be taken into consideration. But let’s get to the basic scenarios.
Your flight is overbooked and there’s a ‘we need a volunteer’ situation
Yeah, we all know that such things can happen – the airline has sold too many tickets for a given flight. Or maybe it messed up with the schedule arrangement for its crew and there weren’t enough flight attendants to take care of the fully packed plane. Anyway, in such a situation you most probably would be even entitled to a flight compensation.
And the only way for the airline to avoid such an obligation is to find a volunteer – the one who would give up a seat on his or her own free will. But there’s a hint – even if the offer seems unreasonably tempting – and that’s why it could look just like that. Yes, we are talking about the right to compensation here – because the volunteer who gives up his seat on the given flight voluntarily is automatically deprived of such right. So if he is about to do so, the main advice would be to make sure that the offer of the airline is really worth it.
Your flight was cancelled and the airline is insisting you’d rather drop a cash refund
In the wake of the current pandemic and subsequent crisis in the travel sector – which has hit airline industry especially hard – most of the major carriers all around the world are facing a liquidity crisis. As a result of that, tens if not thousands of airlines are waiting for state aid – so even the most reliable carriers are now trying to avoid any outflow of cash in all the possible ways. And one of the the most obvious ways in which they are doing so – offering travel vouchers instead of cash refunds for canceled flights.
Often desperately trying to stay afloat such airlines will do virtually anything to prevent passengers from taking a refund in cash and stick with the travel coupon option instead. From offering surprisingly irresistible deals such as 120 or even 150 percent of the unused ticket value in vouchers to automatically assigning coupons for everyone and forwarding them to overloaded or even temporarily shut call centers in case passengers will insist on a refund they are legally entitled to.
You should even consider going to court for a refund
Therefore, in such a situation, even if a travel voucher doesn’t look like a best option, it sometimes can seem the only possible solution for those who are not willing to go all the way to court.
Our legal team has already emphasized that not only airlines, but also travelers are those in need for money right now – often much more than they did ever before – so it is illegal to force coupons that may not even be available. Therefore, the best advice in the abovementioned situation is to evaluate your personal situation and decide if the cash refund option is crucial to you even if you’d have to fight for it in court.
Of course, it is best to try to ask the airline for such a refund according to its current policy – as it is quite a gamble these days, you may be lucky to get it the easy way. And if your confidence in the given air carrier is strong enough and there is no great risk of it going bankrupt sometime soon, you may want to keep the travel voucher. Especially if you are not in great need for cash right now and at the same time you have plans for using the air travel service sometime in the near future.
You can also always turn to us for help
And last but not least – our specialists are always ready to help you if there is any possible violation of the passenger rights. As we have just launched our new Skycop Care service, you can even purchase this pay-per-subscription package and be sure that all your rights in the event of a flight disruption will be secured in the most advanced way.
For a rather symbolic fee, everyone who has acquired a Skycop Care membership will be entitled to a highest level Skycop’s expert assistance free of charge in the event of flight disruption. Such assistance includes recovering compensation of up to €600 in accordance with EU Regulation (EC) 261/2004. The service will also help its customers to recover the unforeseen accommodation, transport or food expenses which were incurred due to the flight disruption. Find out more about the Skycop Care service here.
Ever experienced a flight disruption – such as delay, cancellation or overbooking? FIll out our claim form to find out if you are entitled to a disrupted flight compensation of up to €600! It’s easier than you think – we’ll handle all the work and you won’t have to pay anything if we won’t win!