A relatively new phenomenon is the advent of airline refund vouchers. Various airlines are offering a voucher in place of a cash refund when you decide you don’t want to travel.

An example is British Airways, who write, “You can change your booking date and destination for no change fee for travel up to April 2022. Or you can even cancel it completely in exchange for a voucher.” on their welcome back on board page. Are they here to stay?

Airline Refund Vouchers

In the past, when you booked that cheap airline ticket, it was usually non-refundable. No matter whether you were flying economy class or business class, the cheap fares always had that restriction. All you would get back if you cancelled were the Government taxes.

Since vouchers are the new normal, perhaps there is an opportunity here for airlines. Another level in between non-refundable and fully refundable tickets. Some people would probably pay a little extra to have the option to be able to convert a ticket into a voucher.

It does protect the entire fee for the airline and could well result in someone paying more down the line. If I have €500 locked up in a voucher and six months later I see a flight for €1,200, I’d likely rationalise that it was “only costing me €700” as I would consider the rest of the cash already “gone”.

Naturally people will point out that this could decimate revenue from those business people who routinely no show or cancel flights. There’s an easy way around that though. The airline just looks at their booking profile on a particular route and only gives the voucher option for those who book in advance by a certain period. Simple.

Overall Thoughts

Who am I to suggest that airlines monetise people’s desire to cancel? Blame that Master’s degree in Air Transport Management that I hold. I’d love to see what customer sentiment would be around this, their willingness to pay more to have the option and all the other variables in play.

I always fly the flights I have booked, so it’s not something I would use often. I can see certain occasions where it might be necessary to cancel and I’d rather my money stay with the airline usable in the future than losing a chunk of it. I’d probably also pay an extra fee on a particular booking to have the option.

What say you when it comes to airline refund vouchers? Is this idea completely insane or is there some merit to it? Would you like an option such as this? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Tango Tsuttie via Unsplash.
Alaska Airlines image by Iler Stoe via Unsplash.