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When You Shouldn’t Take the Voucher

A mechanical problem has changed the plane’s flight status from delayed (after another posted delay) to canceled. You’re absolutely exhausted and sooo over this. Then an airline employee extends an olive branch in the form of a voucher. After all this absurdity, it’s the least they can do.

Well, in many situations a voucher is the least the airline can do. And with many unpleasant air travel snafus where the airlines is at fault, offering a voucher is a way they can get away with giving screwed passengers as little as possible — when people can be entitled to actual money for transportation hardships. The catch? Taking a voucher precludes you from receiving it. In short, the airline can argue they’ve already given a form of compensation. Sneaky sneaky.

The following are common situations when looking a for real payout is in our best interest and to say no to the voucher. Ask (for cash) and you shall receive. And even if it takes insistence, don’t waver.

You’ve been bumped.

Punked? In paying for a seat on a flight we think we deserve to have a seat on said flight but it can happen that we arrive to the gate and, due to overbooking, it’s gone. Now you see it, now you don’t.

Even when the airline sticks bumped passengers on another flight, they’re still entitled to money for the issue and inconvenience, says the US Department of Transport’s Fly-Rights. The longer the wait until they’re on the next flight, the more money.

Your luggage is lost.

You’re the last one standing in front of the luggage carousel, with the same last couple forgotten bags going round and round, and yours isn’t there. There’s no denying it: It didn’t make the flight.

Even if your luggage is put on the following flight and makes it to the destination but only with a slight delay, you still are entitled to compensation, says ombudsman Airfarewatchdog.

Your flight is canceled.

Nooooooo! At least when it was delayed there was hope! But is false hope really better than hard truth?

Most airlines should allow passengers to receive a full refund for their ticket should a flight be canceled for anything within their scope of control, which is essentially, anything that happens that isn’t related to the weather. Airfarewatchdog says this also should be the case with “severe delays,” even with US carriers.

Your E.U. airline-operated is delayed.

I would take every flight for the rest of my life with European carriers if that were possible, just for the extra protection. E.U. passenger rights are amazingly, wonderfully broad and wide-reaching — much more so than in the U.S. I’ve written about money passengers stand to claim in this piece about the airline claim compensation startup refund.me before but here is a quick recap.

Passengers can claim compensation on a flight that’s or situations like cancellations, flight delays and denied boarding and missed connections due to overbooking/bumping. These things just have to apply:

  • In the E.U.
  • From the E.U. to elsewhere in the world (it doesn’t have to be an E.U. airline)
  • An E.U. airline to Europe from elsewhere in the world
  • A flight operated by a E.U. airline (such as a United codeshare operated by Lufthansa)
When You Shouldn’t Take the Voucher via @maphappy
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