Hold on to your ticket is one of the options on the Qatar Airways travel with confidence web page. Many airlines have these pages right now, which outline what choices you have with your booking.

Another alternative is the ability to change your booking for travel any time up to 31 December 2020 at no cost, which is excellent. In addition, you can convert your ticket into a voucher where the airline will give you 10% extra, or you can exchange the value for frequent flyer miles.

What Does “Hold On To Your Ticket” Really Mean?

The web site states, “Keep your ticket and use it when you are ready with our extended ticket validity, now valid for 2 years from the date of ticket issuance for greater flexibility.” On the surface, this sounds great, I can extend the validity and use it at any time in the next 18 months or so.

What it actually means is that the ticket will become open. Rather than confirmed dates, it’s an open ticket, and when you can fly eventually, you call the airline and they put you on the flight.

However, as the Qatar Airways representative told me today, you may have to pay any additional fare. Naturally that isn’t good for people who might have booked a deeply discounted ticket.

My understanding of an open ticket is that you’re all paid up and all you need to do is pick your dates and off you go. Curious!

Perhaps Qatar Airways Are Being Cagey?

I’ve worked in customer service before, and I like to think I can read people at least as well as anyone else. When the agent was pointing out that “you may have to pay extra” if I choose the hold on to your ticket option, her tone wasn’t too convincing.

On the other hand, when I mentioned the voucher option, she became far more enthusiastic. She pointed out the two year period begins when you convert to a voucher and that is just the booking period. You can book at the end of the two years for travel even later.

With a voucher, it’s very clear that it is just your money, held by the airline. That means when you go to book your new flight, you will pay whatever fare is being displayed on the day. It could be more, it could be less, depending on the price of your original ticket.

However, since hold on to your ticket means you will have an open ticket, I personally don’t believe any additional charges are due at all. An open ticket lets you select the flight you want when you want, with no cost. Obviously seats have to be available, but that’s that.

The Conundrum

I’m in the unenviable position of having snagged a discounted fare to Australia. You know, that country that makes you stay in a hotel for 14 days quarantine on arrival, no ifs or buts.

I can change my flights without fee on Qatar Airways for travel though to 31 December 2020, however I feel the quarantine will last longer than that. I could switch to a voucher of course, but then I will more than likely have to shell out more for a replacement ticket.

That replacement ticket would be at least half my current ticket cost added to the total, if not more. I’d rather not do that. Therefore, being able to make my ticket an open ticket should be the best option. However will they charge extra or will it be a proper open ticket where they don’t?

Who knows, perhaps the flight will be cancelled altogether and I will be eligible for a refund. Unusually, that’s my least desired option. I want to fly Qatar Airways business class again, at the price I originally paid.

Overall Thoughts

My trip is not until November, so I still have quite some time to make a decision. There could be a miracle and Australia could drop its quarantine requirement. Though I’d be very surprised if so! Alternatively, Qatar Airways could adjust their policy again. We’ve already seen many changes recently, so more could come depending on how the pandemic progresses.

Qatar Airways state, “Rely on us when you need to fly”, making a big deal about being there for people. Let’s hope they deliver on their promises and extend the free changes into 2021. It could be restricted to countries like Australia which make people quarantine on arrival. You can be rest assured that as soon as the quarantine is lifted, I’m heading out there.

What do you think of the Qatar Airways hold on to your ticket option? Have you asked the airline about it yourself and what did they say? Is my understanding of an open ticket correct or not? I’d be interested in your opinions, so please leave any comments or questions below.

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Featured image by Darren Koch on Airliners.net via Wikimedia Commons.