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Airline Free Flight Vouchers Suck

Posted By Jim On 05/22/2006 @ 11:43 pm In Personal Finance | 4 Comments

So my friend Scott and I went to the airport terminal today to try to trade in his voucher for a flight for me from Baltimore to Reno at the end of July. I’m used to the painless Southwest system where you simply go online, tell them your number, and they book your flight if there is any seat available (though they may have changed that recently) without any hassles. My friend Scott’s voucher was one of those “free flight if you volunteer to be bumped” that airlines always claim you can use on any flight, blah blah. Well US Airways, guess you weren’t exactly 100% accurate when you told Scott that it was a free flight anywhere in the contiguous United States – it’s really a free flight anywhere in the contiguous United States if there is a fare class X seat available. The gate agent, who was very polite and tried to help us as much as she could, told us that the chances of someone getting an X fare class seat going to the west coast was nearly impossible. There goes that part of the strategy of getting us out to Reno a little cheaper than the going rate.

I tried to find somewhere that would explain the rhyme and reason of the different fare classes (Wikipedia makes a valiant effort [3]) but in my research it appears that different airlines use the codes differently (so take Wikipedia’s take with a grain of salt) so it’s almost hopeless to try to decipher it.


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[3] makes a valiant effort: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travel_class

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