My wife and I travel to the UK twice a year using US Airways. The last return trip was delayed six hours due to "maintenance issues." A month later, we each received a $100 voucher to put toward a future flight, because of the delay. Good news. The bad news is that I tried to use the vouchers for our next trip and was told we would have to apply them to a higher fare than that available on the Web, and it would end up costing us more! This seems inconsistent and unfair, as we have booked the same flights and same class fares for the last few years. What is the best way to get the attention of an authority at US Airways? Thank you very much for your help.
–John, Rock Hall, Md.
Although I don’t know the exact details of what fare you saw and how you tried to redeem your voucher, I do have an idea of what probably happened. It seems that you were caught between a rock and a hard place.
The fare you saw on the US Airways Web site (which is probably what you normally buy) was most likely a Web-only, “e-Saver” fare. The customer service agent on the telephone couldn’t give you that fare because it can only be booked online. He most likely offered you the cheapest fare that was bookable over the phone, which was higher than the e-Saver fare you wanted.
However, you still would have been out of luck if you had tried to book the e-Saver fare online, because you wouldn’t have been able to use your voucher toward it. US Airways’ “Electronic Travel With US” vouchers are only redeemable over the phone or in person.
In the future, if vouchers become redeemable online, you may be able to avoid this catch-22. But bear in mind that many airlines do not allow Web-only fares to be combined with other offers or promotions, including vouchers. But you’ll cross that bridge when you get to it.