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Should You Accept An Airline's Voucher Offer?

AirBaltic Airbus A220 at Riga Airport
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AirBaltic is one of the airlines that have cancelled multiple flights. Due to lower demands, airBaltic has also announced to make their route network smaller. This is the reason why we have requested for a full refund over airBaltic's voucher offer.

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Table of Contents

  1. Cancellation Compensation as a Voucher
  2. Pros of Vouchers
    1. Support for the Airline
    2. Increased Value
    3. Easy to Accept
  3. Cons of Vouchers
    1. Strict Terms
    2. Bound to the Airline
    3. The Route Network of the Airline Becomes Smaller
    4. Future Flight Prices Unknown
    5. Not Valid on Online Travel Agencies
    6. Impossible to Select the Cheapest and Best Flight
    7. Bankcruptcy
  4. What Did We Choose Ourselves?
  5. Bottom Line

Cancellation Compensation as a Voucher

Lately, airlines have cancelled multiple flights and unfortunately, more cancellations will be coming. Also in normal conditions, flights are cancelled every now and then. A route may get suspended or another similar reason may lead to a cancellation. Airlines rarely offer a refund to passengers in the form of money but they prefer more favourable option to them - airline vouchers.

Often, an airline proposes postponing the flight or an alternative routing to the destination. This is not possible if there are no alternative routes or if it is even unclear when the airline flies to the destination. In that case, the airline normally suggests accepting a gift card or voucher. The voucher can be used later as a payment method for future bookings with the airline.

Pros of Vouchers

Undeniably, vouchers have advantages to the both parties. That is why you should not reject a voucher offer instantly without evaluating its benefits. Instead we suggest you to carefully analyse its suitability by looking at the facts.

Support for the Airline

In a difficult financial situation, an airline needs all the possible money. Airlines are reluctant to refund the tickets as money but prefer giving vouchers to keep money in their accounts. You may accept the voucher offer if you feel supporting the airline in the difficult financial situation. However, it is no-one's responsiblity to support commercial companies but a customer is free to decide whatever he/she feels the best.

Increased Value

Almost all airlines offer vouchers with increased value. For example, the value may be 20 euros higher than the original ticket value. Finnish airline, Finnair has promised to increase the value of the cancelled ticket by 10 percent. It is a good idea to accept the voucher if you intend to fly with the same airline in the near future. Then, you will get more value for the same amount of money.

Easy to Accept

Airlines have made it easy to accept vouchers. Usually, that is much easier than asking for a full refund. Of couse, this is not a coincidence but the airlines try to influence customers to choose a voucher compensation. Everyone knows that dealing with an airline is complicated even in normal circumstances. The easiest solution is to accept the voucher offer. However, if the voucher doesnt seem to be a wise option for you, then there is not any reason to accept it.

Cons of Vouchers

Vouchers have also bad sides. It is important to understand drawbacks well before accepting the compensation as an airline voucher.

Strict Terms

Gift cards have terms. For example, they have a validity period and the expiration date can arrive suprisingly soon. It may also be impossible to use the voucher in several batches but you need to use the whole value at once. Some airlines are even asking for an extra service free when paying by a voucher and sometimes, extra services can't be paid with a voucher at all. Before accepting a voucher compensation, you need to familiarize the stated terms well.

Bound to the Airline

A voucher is bound to the airline which granted it. It may be that the airline is not flying anymore to your favourite destination on the future dates you would like to travel. In that case, that makes the voucher useless. A competitor airline company may fly to such destination but it does not accept your voucher. Therefore, the said voucher won't be beneficial for you anymore.

The Route Network of the Airline Becomes Smaller

Due to turbulent financial situation, the airline's route network may get signitifactly smaller. For example, the airline may not fly anymore to your home country. It is then impossible to use the voucher provided by the airline.

Future Flight Prices Unknown

Indeed, it is nice to get a voucher with a increased value but nobody can predict accurately the flight price level in the future. Even though the voucher's value may be increased by 10 percent now, it won't help when the flights cost 50 percent more than before. Consequently, the flights may become so expensive that you do not want to travel at all.

Not Valid on Online Travel Agencies

You need to redeem airline vouchers almost always on airlines' own websites. You can't use them on online travel agencies like Expedia even though Expedia may be selling the same flights cheaper. Airlines' own websites are more expensive compared to online travel agencies. When booking through the airline, you end up paying more. You will easily loose the extra value of the voucher.

Impossible to Select the Cheapest and Best Flight

A voucher is strictly bound to a certain airline. Comparing flight prices and routes on the internet is not anymore useful because with the voucher, you can't choose the best and the cheapest route. You are bound to book the flight offer only from this concerned airline.

Bankcruptcy

Bankcruptcy of the airline is not impossible. Then you will most likely loose the whole value of the voucher. Even your credit card company may be unwilling to compensate since you had agreed with the airline to change the refund to a voucher.

What Did We Choose Ourselves?

We had a plan to visit Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam. Because ESC was cancelled, we do not intend to travel to Amsterdam anymore. Luckily, we have got a full refund of our hotel booking. Also, airBaltic cancelled our flight to Amsterdam and we decided to apply for the refund. We don't see any reason to accept airBaltic's voucher offer even though we would have got 80 euros extra value. The financial situation of airBaltic is unforseable at the moment and the airline has announced to put an end to many of their routes. Most likely, the voucher would have been useless for us.

Bottom Line

There is no single answer whether to accept airline's voucher or to apply for a refund. Everyone needs to consider himself/herself by evaluating personal circumstances. As a tip, we recommend not to accept a voucher offer if you can't justify its benefits with facts. It is more than likely that you are never able to use the voucher.

Getting a refund from the airline is a slow process. It is even unsure if the passenger gets money back at all if the airline's cash reserve is getting empty. In that case, you may apply for compenstation from the credit card company.

Did you have flight bookings cancelled? Have you asked for a full refund of your money or did you accept an airline's voucher offer? Comment below!

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