Home Airlines Why Mega-Bump Vouchers Don’t Always Work

Why Mega-Bump Vouchers Don’t Always Work

by joeheg

Airline operations are a bit of a mess right now. I’d even say that if you have a flight where you leave and arrive on time, no matter the airline, you should consider yourselves lucky.

For instance, when we got to Orlando airport this afternoon, almost every flight by JetBlue was delayed or canceled. That’s the same thing we experienced when flying them a few weeks ago – both of our flights were delayed, and thankfully not canceled.

But that led me to remember the story about a JetBlue flight to Cancun earlier this month where passengers were offered a $10,000 flight credit and there were no takers. It ended up taking a $15K offer to have a passenger voluntarily take the next flight. While this was undoubtedly less than the price it would have cost JetBlue to involuntarily bump a passenger, they were willing to take the financial cost to avoid the bad publicity.

This reminded me of when Delta had to pay numerous passengers $4,500 each to take a later flight to Iceland.

I remembered a time when passengers would take a $250 voucher for a future flight to take a later plane (with possibly a first-class seat included as an incentive.)

Why is it that now passengers are unwilling to take insanely high payment vouchers to take the next available flight?

It may be because passengers have become smart to the rules airlines put on redeeming these vouchers.

While Delta may offer Delta Choice Gift Cards which you can redeem for any number of merchants, there’s a whole different set of rules when you try to redeem an American Airlines voucher.

Back to the question at hand, why would an entire flight to Cancun pass on a $10K voucher? It’s probably because they weren’t familiar with JetBlue’s rules:

  • Your Travel Bank account is created automatically the first time you are issued a travel credit. To ensure any future travel credits are issued to the same account, be sure to enter your TrueBlue number when you book a new flight.
  • JetBlue travel credits can be used to pay for a JetBlue-operated flight or the airfare portion of a JetBlue Vacations package when booking on jetblue.com or the JetBlue app. Credits can’t be used to pay for ancillary fees, or for travel with our partner airlines, even when booked on jetblue.com.
  • Travel Bank funds can be combined with other forms of payment, including credit card and TrueBlue points.
  • Travel credits can be used to book a reservation for anyone you’d like. The name on the account doesn’t need to match the name of the traveler.

While you might not be able to use $10K in travel credits yourself, it’s easy to imagine using it for 4 people. Since the credit is not only for you, that would make it easier to use. How many people at the gate knew that.

One other thing holding people back is that the credits often expire in 1 year. Airlines don’t realize that a family trip to a faraway location doesn’t happen every year. Extending the credit for 2 or even 3 years might open up the audience.

Passengers have started to give more value to their time post-pandemic and are less willing to accept a pittance to take another flight. Airlines are going to have to adjust by decreasing the number of passengers they overbook or getting ready to pay much more for passengers to voluntarily take a later flight.

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