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United Travel Voucher Use After Expiration
Last year I had a very mixed, but mostly negative experience flying United with my son to Europe. The trip wasn’t terrible per se, but it wasn’t pleasant or nice. The biggest issue we had was on our flight leg from LAS-ORD where a roof panel fell from the ceiling in first class during takeoff and the crew just stood there and fought about what to do for the next hour or so.
During this time while the entire coach cabin received beverages, first class passengers didn’t even get water. It took a near revolt by passengers to finally get the flight attendant to give us something to drink and then eventually they did do the meal service. It was a baffling and frustrating experience and one that wasn’t made better by the unapologetic crew.
I covered this experience on the blog and eventually decided to write a letter to United expressing my disappointment. We paid for first class (via miles) and didn’t get the service that is promised. To fast forward, they basically blew me off until someone realized I have a blog. Then, I suddenly received a phone call from someone in the Executive Office (to whom I had not complained) who gave my son and I each a $200 flight voucher. Too bad it takes having a blog to get them to do something.
Redeeming My Expired Voucher
Anyway, I had these vouchers and was only able to use one of them before the expiration. Luckily United has an unpublished grace period for expired vouchers of 30 days. The other day I needed to book a last minute flight that cost $235. Ouch! Then I remembered the voucher. I went online to use it and the system said I had to call in to the customer service line.
After going through the prompts I was connected to an agent to make a new booking. She then took the voucher information and said she could help. Even though it was expired, she was able to apply the full $200 to the $235 ticket without a manager override or even having to put me on hold. She even waived the phone booking fee since I couldn’t use the voucher online any longer.
I do want to make it clear that while it seems agents have the ability to use these certificates without even an override, I do not believe there is any official grace period policy in writing. So, while they have been giving a grace period for years and I just successfully redeemed my expired voucher a couple of days ago, this could change.
While it is always a good idea to log your vouchers and set reminders to avoid having them expire on you, if you do make a mistake, it always pays to call the airline. United generally gives you 30 days and I have heard of cases of people using them much later than that. Feel free to share your expired voucher experiences with United & other airlines in the comments!
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