The Expedia ticket vouchers that never existed

Question: We recently canceled a trip from Minneapolis to Asuncion, Paraguay, that we had booked on Delta Air Lines through Expedia. We were issued two flight vouchers, which we are trying to redeem. But Expedia isn’t letting us.

The vouchers — one for $1,186, the other for $936 — were supposed to be valid until Jan. 15. But when I called Delta to cash them in, we were told the vouchers had already expired in September.

I tried phoning Expedia, but had to endure exceedingly long hold times, a fax signal late into that hold time, more holding with music and more recordings letting me know how there are better ways to contact Expedia, which don’t apply to my case, and then having my call dropped.

I emailed Expedia, but was told that Delta did not issue any flight credits. Expedia claimed it had no authority to circumvent or to override the airline’s policies.

I have the electronic vouchers. Can you help me get Expedia to do the right thing? — Joseph Barclay, New Hope, Minn.

Answer: If Expedia sent you vouchers that were valid for a year, you should have been able to use them, no questions asked.

I’ve never quite understood why airlines or online travel agencies issue vouchers that expire. It makes sense from a company’s point of view — after all, you don’t want a lot of outstanding IOUs floating around out there — but why do customers put up with it? I mean, do we allow our money to expire?

There was no excuse for keeping you on “hold” and then hanging up on you, either. Unfortunately, that’s not unusual when you’re dealing with a huge online travel agency. During peak times, calls get dropped and good customers have to listen to many minutes of recorded messages that don’t pertain to them, before they do.

You were right to start an email chain, for a number of reasons. First, you had a real voucher from Expedia — undeniable proof that you had credit. Second, email is a far more efficient and trackable way of dealing with a grievance. When you didn’t get anywhere, you forwarded the entire chain to me, which showed your efforts to get this case resolved.

In reviewing the correspondence, I can see Expedia didn’t give your problem the attention it deserved. First it sent you a form letter saying it was too busy, and asking you to call (which you had already done) and then it sent you another terse reply, saying the vouchers hadn’t been issues by Delta.

But how could it say that when you had sent them the vouchers?

I publish the names of some higher-ups at Delta and Expedia on my customer service site, which might have been your next option. But I decided to contact Expedia on your behalf, instead.

Expedia agreed to research your claim. It found that when you initially called to postpone your flights in February, a representative canceled the tickets, instead. Expedia later reviewed the fare rules and realized that only ticket changes were allowed, and that cancellations resulted in lost value. In other words, the Expedia representative misunderstood the ticket terms.

Expedia refunded your tickets and allowed you to rebook your flights, as agreed.

(Photo: Ivan St amato/Flickr)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at . Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • Chris in NC

    Not much to say except that I am glad to her this case got resolved! Clearly in this case, Expedia dropped the ball.

    There is nothing more irritating than a company that cannot adequately staff its phone lines. I understand that there are exceptional circumstances that are outside its control, but recently I had a CSR issue that required a phone call. I experienced a hold time of 60+ minutes on both calls. The recording kept on saying “log on and send contact us electronically” which did not apply. At least I didn’t get disconnected in the process

  • Tony A.

    But why can’t Expedia call center agents NOT read?

    … when you initially called to postpone your flights in
    February, a representative canceled the tickets, instead. Expedia later
    reviewed the fare rules and realized that only ticket changes were
    allowed, and that cancellations resulted in lost value. In other words,
    the Expedia representative misunderstood the ticket terms …

    MISUNDERSTOOD? Are these trained agents trained to read and understand the Fare Basis Rules especially the section on Penalties.

    I post the Delta Tariff Penalty Rules for a typical discounted fare from MSP to ASU:

    PENALTIES                                                     
                                                                  
      CANCELLATIONS                                               
                                                                  
        ANY TIME                                                  
          TICKET IS NON-REFUNDABLE IN CASE OF CANCEL/NO-SHOW.     
          WAIVED FOR ILLNESS OR DEATH OF PASSENGER OR FAMILY      
            MEMBER.                                               
             NOTE –                                               
              1. RESERVATION CANCELLED PRIOR TO THE ORIGINALLY    
                 SCHEDULED FLIGHT RETAINS TICKET VALUE/LESS       
                 APPLICABLE PENALTY FEE IN CHANGE PARAGRAPH/      
                 UP TO ONE YEAR FROM THE ORIGINAL DATE OF TICKET  
                 ISSUE. IF THE TICKETED FLT RESERVATION IS NOT    
                 CANCELLED PRIOR TO TICKETED FLT DEPARTURE TIME/  
                 REBOOKING IS NOT PERMITTED AND TKT HAS NO VALUE  

              3. ILLNESS/DEATH WAIVER MUST BE SUBSTANTIATED BY    
                 A VALID MEDICAL/DEATH CERTIFICATE                

    It clearly states that if the cancellation is due to a valid reason stated above that the ticket “will retain its value less change fee FOR UP TO ONE YEAR from the ORIGINAL TICKETING DATE.

    But maybe the OP did not have a valid reason to cancel and simply wanted to change their flight date. This is probably the reason why Delta said they never issued the vouchers in the first place. To POSTPONE and change a flight date, the agent must REISSUE the ticket AT THAT PARTICULAR TIME. In other words, the agent cannot just give the OP a voucher good for one year. Here is the rule to CHANGE a flight date (before departure):

      CHANGES                                                     
                                                                  
        ANY TIME                                                  
          CHARGE USD 250.00/CAD 250.00.                           
          CHILD/INFANT DISCOUNTS APPLY.                           
             NOTE –                                               
              – ALL TICKETS MUST BE REISSUED …..               

    To reissue a ticket, the OP must pay the fare difference (if any) plus the $250 change penalty.

    If I can get into a GDS (which all travel agents have access to including those from Expedia) and copy and paste the rules here for everyone to read, why can’t a trained agent of Expedia do the same? Where are these agents? Are they in San Antonio, TX or somewhere half way around the World? Can they read in English?

    Well thanks to the agent’s stupidity, the OP got a refund and did not have to pay a change penalty (I guess) courtesy of Chris Elliott.

  • Tony A.

    This guy blogged about a similar problem with Expedia.
    http://blog.davidcowgill.com/my-painful-expedia-refund-process-never-use-expedia.php

    Note the recurring theme – LOUSY OVERSEAS CALL CENTERS!
    When will these companies ever learn? Take your customer care centers back to the USA and provide jobs over here where your customers are.
    If they outsource and don’t care about their own employees why should they care about us, customers?

    Didn’t Chris just have an article the other day about those idiotic form letters?
    Same sh**, different day.

  • http://www.pipdigital.com Nancy Dickinson

    Why do people keep using sites like Expedia?  It’s simply not worth the hassle when things go wrong.

  • Rosered7033

    Chris, someone is taking advantage of your site here to post self-promoting nonsense.   This is the 2nd or 3rd time I’ve seen it.  Hope you have a way to ban it.
    Also, you call Expedia a “huge online travel agency.”  Are they truly a travel agency, or a ticket vendor?  What puts them on a par with the travel agencies that answer questions in a timely manner, and deal with individuals in a way that encourages repeat business?  I truly don’t understand.

  • Charles

    Whoever runs Expedia’s phone lines has to be borderline retarded not to mention the agents answering the phones.  Two of the times I had to call them – not about a refund issue, I just wanted to book something that for some reason couldn’t be booked on the website (and would have been more sales for them), I spoke with an agent who started booking the reservation, then told me to hold, then my call got dropped for no apparent reason. 

    Another time I had to book an airfare over their phone lines (for some reason, the website told me to call to book anything on Airtran), it took 45 MINUTES to book the trip because for whatever reason, the agent had to keep putting me on hold and ask her supervisor something.  This isn’t rocket science people! Now I only use Expedia to compare airfares.  They don’t know what they’re doing, also evidenced by repeated stories on this website.

  • Rosered7033

    I’ve had to call AirTran direct and had the same experience you did – their employees don’t know how to do things, either.  A call that should’ve taken 5-10 mins. MAX took 20 (without hold time).  I book online with them when I can, but take Xanax for those times I can’t. (J/K)

  • Charles

    Important to say – considering what I hard time I had trying to SPEND money with them, I can’t even fathom what it would be like trying to get it back.

  • Joe Farrell

    well, the relevant word there is ‘trained.’  You know they ain’t trained. . .

  • Lindaj

    I find your first sentence extremely offensive as ‘m sure others do as well. It was not necessary.

  • Bodega

    Lesson #1

    The vouchers — one for $1,186, the other for $936 — were supposed to be valid until Jan. 15. But when I called Delta to cash them in, we were told the vouchers had already expired in September

    The VALUE of the fare is only valid from one year from the date of issue, not the date of travel.

    Lesson #2
    Expedia agreed to research your claim. It found that when you initially called to postpone your flights in February, a representative canceled the tickets, instead. Expedia later reviewed the fare rules and realized that only ticket changes were allowed, and that cancellations resulted in lost value. In other words, the Expedia representative misunderstood the ticket terms.

    When you purchase a ticket, get a print out of the rules of your fare.  There is no entry for postponing.  You either cancel or rebook immediately.  The wording here is incorrect.  While each fare has its own rules, I haven’t come across any internationla fare that, along with a change fee, can’t be reused within the date of initial purchase.

    Lesson #3

    I’ve never quite understood why airlines or online travel agencies issue vouchers that expire. It makes sense from a company’s point of view — after all, you don’t want a lot of outstanding IOUs floating around out there — but why do customers put up with it? I mean, do we allow our money to expire?

    Chris Elliott does not understand air tickets.  The tickets are priced based on a fare or mulitple fares.  The most restrictive fare rule applies, which is why you NEVER want to mix nonrefundable and refundable fares on one ticket….something either Chris or Charlie Leocha mentioned recently as following the DOT suggestion for placing all segments on one ticket.  Any ticketing agency MUST following the carriers rules.  We can’t pick and chose.  We sell the airline’s product.  Even with contracted rates, there are rules and the refundability is part of it.   

    Lesson #4

    Don’t buy with an online company.  They don’t care about your business, they just want your money.

  • Willkoeppel

    Unfortunately I travel for living. When the Internet travel sites initially came online, it was a convenient place to find competitive air travel for multiple airlines. The industry now having gone heavily to the online side of conducting business has lowered the customer service side of quality care to the lowest common denominator.

    Everything works fine with these travel sites until you have an issue! It is at that point you are forced to learn the rules of reading the fine line! I learned  that the hard way dealing directly with the airlines tier 3 customer service support line. I learned quickly that the airlines are the final say on what will be changed, how it will be changed, when it will be changed, and at what cost it will be to change it. Sites  like Expedia have no power over what the airlines policies and procedures are. When I travel now… I look at sites such as Expedia to find the best fares based on my travel needs… And then book  directly with the airline. 

    This does “not” mean that you will no longer “not” have to deal with the ridiculous rules  and regulations that the airlines impose … but it eliminates one step in the chain when one has to make corrections to a travel booking.

     In summary, when it comes to booking airfare… deal directly with the airline . When it comes to cruises or other complicated travel arrangements it is well worth your money to work with a reputable travel agency .  They are vested in your trip and only maintain their viability in the marketplace by ensuring that you are taking care of when you need care the most .
    This does not meanI this currently in the past in the past

  • Bodega

    Expedia is an order taker.  From most postings here about the issues with OTA’s, they don’t know what they are selling, they don’t want to deal with you and they make it hard to contact them when there is an issue.  What a deal a purchaser is getting.  Wake up consumers!

  • cjr001

    Cash. Check. Refund.

    Just say no to vouchers.

    Problem solved.

  • Geoff

    The value of an unused ticket it not necessarily 1 year. It is 1 year from the original date of purchase. That is why many vouchers are not redeemable. Ralph Nader, where are you when the world need you to protect us from the evil airlines?

  • Bodega

    In your dreams!

  • Bodega

    The airlines use to allow you to cancel and rebook, cancel and rebook, cancel and rebook to keep the fare valid.  Then they changed things.  Outside of California, most gift certificates come with an expiration date, so usually the value of that fare within one year of purchase really isn’t that out of line with other businesses practices.

  • Ann Lamoy

    The only thing I use sites like Expedia for is to check prices. Then I go directly to the airline website and book with them.

  • Guest

    And what exactly are they supposed to “learn”?  Call centers have been overseas for more than a decade now.  Do you see any of these company’s business falling off because of it?

    No.

  • Guest

    And I’ll bet you’ll fly AirTran again without thinking twice if they have the lowest fare the next time you book.  THAT is why they di it.

  • Guest

    Your political correctness renders you irrelevant to most people.  It’s never necessary.

  • Guest

    “They don’t care about your business, they just want your money.”

    What a stupid thing to say.  Your money is your business.  You think they want to chat with you???

  • Carver

    could you elaborate on lesson #3.  What does expiring vouchers have to do with mixing ticket types?

    Personally, I think a voucher is fine when dealing with a non-refundable ticket.  Otherwise I want to see cash.

  • Rosered7033

    Actually, was booking for my parents and brothers, as a favor.  And yes, I’d do it again because that is my favor to them. :-)

  • Tony A.

    Let’s say you combined a unrestricted Y-class fare with a APEX (Advance Purchase Excursion) fare that is non-refundable in ONE ticket.  Then for some reason you needed to cancel the ticket and had a valid reason (someone died in the family). The airline will give you a voucher that expires in one year for the whole amount of the ticket.

    In reality, they should really have given your money back for the Y class fare and a voucher back for the APEX fare. But since they were combined in one ticket, then the MOST RESTRICTIVE RULE is applied.

    Make sense?

  • Rachel

    It was just an observation. The only reason you would take it personally is if you belonged to the group of ‘borderline retarded’ people yourself.

  • Rachel

    “Don’t buy with an online company.  They don’t care about your business, they just want your money.”

    What sort of business doesn’t want your money??
    They are a business that wants to make a profit, not a charity.

  • Rachel

    You still can do this, but you just have to pay a fee for most tickets.

  • Charles

    “Don’t buy with an online company.  They don’t care about your business, they just want your money.”

    Actually, based on my experiences with Expedia (see my earlier posts) they don’t even seem to want my money.  How this company is still in business, I don’t know, although I guess someone is using them successfully, given the profits they are posting. 

    Also, anyone offended by the first sentence of my first post, please accept my apologies.  I wrote it sort of in the heat of the moment, as this story about Expedia and the people at their call centers touched a nerve with me, given the experiences I had.

  • SallyLu

    Not a stupid thing to say at all.  A good company will, of course, want your money, but knows that in order to get your return business, they have to also offer good customer service.  I believe Bodega is a travel agent and most likely has developed relationships with his customers over the years.  He probably has customers that he has dealt with several times and actually cares about.  He also probably genuinely cares about insuring that he helps all of his customers have great vacations.  I know I prefer to deal with people who at least seem to have my best interest at heart.

  • Phil

    The Expedia agent that screwed up the works, probably worked in an overseas call center somewhere.

  • Bodega

    With some carriers, WN for one, the unused amount must be used by the original ticket date.  Even if you get a new ticket with the old amount, the new ticket has to be for travel prior to the original ticket date.

  • Bodega

    Thanks Tony, it makes sense to me.

  • cowboyinbrla

    That’s not true, Bodega. For Southwest, like most carriers, credit for a cancelled non-refundable flight may be applied to any flight within 12 months of the original purchase date. The credit does not need to be used by the original travel date. So if you purchase a ticket on June 1 for a flight on October 1, and cancel that reservation on September 15, you have until June 1 of the following year to use that credit.

  • cowboyinbrla

    Actually, Tony, it depends on the airline. For instance, I might
    purchase a “Wanna Get Away fare” (restricted, nonrefundable) ticket from
    A to B on Southwest, and a “Anytime” (unrestricted, refundable) ticket
    from B home to A. If I cancel, Southwest will refund the second ticket
    and issue credit for the first one (valid for one year from the date of purchase). Because on  Southwest, flights are purchased on a one-way basis, even if they’re bought as part of a “round trip”.

    True, most airlines aren’t
    Southwest, but then that’s another reason to fly them.

  • Tony A.

    Thanks that’s nice to know. Another reason to LUV them.

    I would venture another reason why the other airlines don’t do that. Since most airlines INTERLINE with each other, then fare combinations (add ons, end on end, half round trip basis etc.) need to be allowed. Sometimes, this is the only way to get a passenger from a small US town to a foreign city on a foreign airline ticket. OR, sometimes this is a way to issue a ticket on a U.S. carrier to a foreign city they don’t serve directly.

    Since different fares (from different carriers) have different rules, then it makes sense that the adopted rule will  be the most restrictive one. Southwest does not interline so they do not have any issues (fare, baggage, check in and boarding pass or accounting) with other airlines.

  • Tony A.

    Chris, I think you need to investigate this further. Here’s why.

    I found a similar story on the net involving Expedia “vouchers”.
    How It Took 15 Hours To Use My $309 Virgin America Credit Through Expedia

    Link: http://consumerist.com/2011/08/how-it-took-15-hours-to-use-my-309-virgin-america-credit.html

    If you read what happened – Expedia gave her (Sara) a credit (I assume an e-voucher) for a future flight when she wanted to CHANGE (not cancel) her current flight. But that credit was only visible inside Expedia and not on the carrier’s system.

    Well this is exactly what happened to the OP, Joseph Barclay.

    In other words, it seems Expedia has been issuing funny-money credits and not airline vouchers.

    I assume that when a passenger wants to CHANGE a flight, Expedia goes ahead and CANCELS the itinerary (ticketed reservation) and issues the customer their own e-voucher certificate that can be used for a later flight. Since the customer does not have to re-book at that same time, then a new ticket is NOT REISSUED immediately.

    A traditional travel agency does not do it that way. The passenger generally only has 3 options (on or before departure date):
    (a) NO SHOW – lose everything
    (b) CANCEL – if refund is allowed, simply pay penalty and refund credited back to original form of payment ONLY (no substitutes allowed).
    (c) CHANGE (reissue) – a new itinerary is created and requires prompt reissue of new ticket. The old ticket is *exchanged* for a new ticket. Additional collection of higher fare and/or penalty may be required.

    It looks like Expedia has it’s own “ticket exchange thing” going on.
    If one changes their itinerary it should be a simple ticket reissue. The passenger pays a penalty fee and fare difference, finished. In the end, the passenger ACTUALLY GOT SOMETHING – an new airline ticket he could use.

    But in (what seems to be) the Expedia method, the passenger MAY be holding a worthless piece of email in exchange for his REAL MONEY. When the passenger wants to change a valid ticket, he is given funny money and not another new valid ticket (even if he has to pay more). Expedia hold his money. He holds a piece of paper (the email). Then at some time in the future, the passenger can supposedly call Expedia back and use those vouchers. But note, those vouchers are NOT AIRLINE VOUCHERS and cannot simply be redeemed with the airline. What if the passenger dies or forgets to rebook in the future. Because there is an expiration date, Expedia may keep his money.

    Bodega, can you help and see if I am completely wrong in my assumptions. I do not know the maximum time allowed to do a ticket exchange (REN). I suppose the original e-tkt was voided; and then some time has passed before the customer rebooks the new PNR. Thanks Bodega.

    Chris, I had assumed that if a travel agency cancels my
    ticket and does not give me another ticket, then it must refund the
    remaining portion of the fare (less penalty) back to my original form of
    payment. The travel agency is NOT AN AIRLINE. What right does it have
    to issue it’s own credit vouchers in lieu of the airline’s? Also, are
    the customers aware that these are NOT AIRLINE VOUCHERS before or during
    the time the CHANGE transaction is being performed. Is this even legal?

  • Bodega

    But that nonrefundable fare if applied to another ticket can’t be used for a refundable ticket. Plus if you make a reservation using the former funds on a second ticket, the rules of the first ticket still apply for your final traveling date.  So there are still restrictions, but not a tight as the major carriers and no change fee.

  • Bodega

    That hasn’t been the case in the past Cowboy.  I have received many itineraries for client’s with this noted on them.

  • Bodega

    I will have to look at this later, can’t do it now.  Between you and me, I am not sure how Expedia could do this.  They don’t ‘own’ the funds on nonrefundable tickets as you well know.

  • Jake

    Not true.  They’ve lost mine.

  • Bodega

    Tony, I am not sure I understand your question on the ticket exchange, so I will answer it how I am interpreting it and if I am not on the same page, let me know.  Since travel must be completed by the first ticketing date for most APEX fares, you have up to the last day provided you are traveling on the last allowed date either one way or roundtrip on the same day.

    Now I went over to Expedia’s website and found this.  PLEASE note that the word voucher is never used:

    I had to cancel my e-ticket. How do I rebook for another time or obtain a refund? If you have an airline credit from a previous trip and you are ready to rebook, you have two options for exchanging an unused electronic ticket:

    If you have an airline credit from a previous trip and you are ready to rebook, you have two options for exchanging an unused electronic ticket:
    You may take your e-ticket number, provided by Expedia.ca upon request, directly to the airline’s city ticket office or airport ticketing desk. Airline personnel will advise you of any fare differences and penalties at that time, and will make your new reservation for you. Perform a new flight search on Expedia.ca. Reserve but do not purchase your new tickets. With old and new itinerary numbers in hand, call us at 1-888-EXPEDIA (1-888-397-3342) as soon as possible. A customer support agent will reconfirm, advise you of any penalties or fare differences, and go over your new itinerary before completing the exchange. Please note there is usually an airline-imposed penalty for such changes.
    Please note the following conditions for rebooking with an airline credit from a previous trip:
    You must complete travel one year from the date your original ticket was issued. An airline change fee of C$75 – C$200 per ticket will be applied, in addition to any increase in the fare. The ticket(s) must be used by the original ticket holder(s). The ticket(s) must be used on the same airline. No new bookings or revisions may be made within seven (7) days prior to departure. Once travel has commenced, no revisions will be accepted.
    If you wish to cancel your e-ticket, please contact us at 1-888-EXPEDIA (1-888-397-3342). We will review cancellation penalties with you and advise of any applicable refund.

    So now I wonder, was the word ‘trip’ used to mean a package was booked, therefore the vouchers?  Was the fare a contracted fare with different rules than a published fare?  Expedia can’t issue vouchers for a published fare as Expedia doesn’t hold the money on those type of tickets.  Something is missing from all this Chris.

  • Tony A.

    I read the tariff rules of Delta, United, American, etc…
    I think I can answer my own question now. Here’s the summary…

    Non-Refundable tickets are just that – non refundable. The passenger cannot get his money back if he cancels the ticket. (Note: the US DOT requires a 24 hour cooling period even for non-refundable tickets.)

    However, UNUSED Non-Refundable tickets RETAIN VALUE (less the penalty fee) for as long as 1 year from the date they were issued.

    If a passenger changes his mind and wants to CANCEL his flights, all he needs to do is have his RESERVATION CANCELLED *prior*  to the original scheduled flight. His ticket will remain OPEN (unused status) for one year from the original issue date. Please note that an airline ticket and a reservation are 2 separate entities. An airline ticket can still exist and have value even if there is no more reservation (cancelled flights) linked to it.

    WARNING – For no shows, the value of ticket becomes ZERO.

    The point I wish to make is that the ticket (itself) retains some value up to one year. No other voucher is needed. In fact there is no need for the passenger to rebook his next flight immediately (as I had incorrectly suggested). He has one year from the original date of issue to use it (for as long as he had cancelled his flights on time earlier).

    Also please note that the tickets are NOT VOIDED (as I had incorrectly suggested). Tickets are usually  voided within 24 hours they are issued. I want to make that distinction since the VOID process is used if the customer changes his mind within the 24 hour window or if a mistake is found on the ticket also within that 24 window.  A VOID should result in the credit card NOT charged or monies returned.
    The proper term for using an unused ticket for a new trip is EXCHANGED as you will see below.

    When the passenger is ready to book their new flight, all they need to do is make a new reservation. Then when ticketing the new reservation, the NEW ticket is EXCHANGED for the OLD ticket. If the cost of the NEW ticket is more than the cost of the OLD ticket minus the cancellation/change penalty fee, then an ADDITIONAL COLLECTION is due. If the NEW ticket costs less than the OLD ticket (minus penalty) the RESIDUAL VALUE is returned in form of an AIRLINE VOUCHER.

    Please note that nowhere in the CANCELLATION rules of major airlines does it say that the TRAVEL AGENCY can issue it’s own vouchers or credits on behalf of the airline for its fares.  In other words, The TICKET itself is the “”negotiable”” instrument. 

    Virgin America (VX) has a slightly different way of explaining their cancellation policy —

        TICKET IS NON-REFUNDABLE.                                           NOTE –                                                          PRIOR TO SCHEDULED DEPARTURE RESERVATIONS MAY BE               CANCELED FOR A FEE OF 75 USD THROUGH                           http://WWW.VIRGINAMERICA/COM OR 100 USD THROUGH ALL OTHER             CHANNELS. ANY REMAINING BALANCE WILL BE PLACED                 IN A CREDIT FILE GOOD FOR TRAVEL ON VIRGIN AMERICA             FOR ONE YEAR FROM DATE OF ISSUE. GUESTS WHO                    NO-SHOW WILL FORFEIT THE AMOUNT OF THIS FARE.                  ANY FUTURE SEGMENTS WILL ALSO BE CANCELED AND                  THE FARES FORFEITED. So with VX, you need to pay a fee of $75 or $100 at the time you cancel your reservation so that they can give you a credit *on file*. They won’t return your money.  But like the other airlines, the travel agent cannot issue its own credits instead of of Virgin America’s.
    I am not sure how the passenger can use those VX credits when he books later using a travel agent. Maybe he has to book with Virgin America directly.

    I think Southwest has a similar policy (but with no penalty fee) since you are able to “bank” the value of the tickets for the flights you cancelled.

    After saying all of the above, I cannot figure out why some people claim that they are getting Expedia Credits for cancelled airline tickets. Since money paid for a non-refundable ticket is not returned to you by the airline (unless you or someone in your family or your companion gets very sick or dies) for VOLUNTARY re-routing, then how can Expedia  issue its own credits?

    IMO, Expedia agents should simply read the Airline’s tariff penalty rules for Cancellations/Changes to the passenger and follow them to the letter.

  • Tony A.

    Sorry for the formatting error above.
    The Virgin America rules —
    TICKET IS NON-REFUNDABLE.                                  NOTE –                                                PRIOR TO SCHEDULED DEPARTURE RESERVATIONS MAY BE            CANCELED FOR A FEE OF 75 USD THROUGH WWW.VIRGINAMERICA dot COM OR 100 USD THROUGH ALL OTHER CHANNELS. ANY REMAINING BALANCE WILL BE PLACED IN A CREDIT FILE GOOD FOR TRAVEL ON VIRGIN AMERICA FOR ONE YEAR FROM DATE OF ISSUE. GUESTS WHO NO-SHOW WILL FORFEIT THE AMOUNT OF THIS FARE.  ANY FUTURE SEGMENTS WILL ALSO BE CANCELED AND THE FARES FORFEITED.                                 

  • http://www.cle-cruiseconnection.com Roger Cansler of CruiseOne

    Makes are good case for using a travel agent that provides personalized services from beginning to end.

  • Guest

    A bit late, but it’s possible the OP bought very cheap and very restrictive tickets. I’ve seen very few DL ticket fare rules that don’t allow rebooking within one year date of issue thing + change fee, but I seem to recall they especially occur with international ones.

    Anyway, we’ll never know unless Expedia or Delta is willing to share the exact fare rules of the OP’s exact ticket that time. We can guess based on existing rules and what-not, but you know how some things change (and sometimes too fast) in travel.

    Thankfully someone from Expedia took the time to research this, saw they “wronged” a customer, and made amends to him. I know that’s not (or never?) enough for some people, but sometimes one can thank for small (?) blessings that can make a big difference.

  • Guest

    I haven’t come across any internationla fare that, along with a change fee, can’t be reused within the date of initial purchase.

    Check especially the really cheaper ones of British Airways, Lufthansa, Air France, Virgin Atlantic and Alitalia (and a few Delta international-flight tickets, albeit rare) at the top of my head. They might’ve changed since then, of course, but I’ve come across those that don’t allow rebooking upon canceling.

    Chris, you got my email. Let me and some folks here (like Bodega, Tony A, etc. maybe?) know if you still need help how to “generally” understand fare rules. That was my favorite topic in my ex-travel agent days then. :)

  • Guest

    Tony, I think a more detailed explanation might be needed.

    Carver, it’s honestly a tad complicated. But as mentioned, the “fare rules” or ticket rules of the more restrictive one tends to apply. 

    A reason for this is because the airline doesn’t necessarily care what the “fare rules” or ticket rules of fellow carrier is other than their own. So if:

    1. You book a “mixed” ticket of, say, Delta and Timbuktu Airlines (he he, can’t remember who their international codeshare partners are);

    2. Delta’s fare rules allow rebooking up to one year thing while Timbuktu’s doesn’t;

    Unfortunately you won’t really be allowed to reuse or rebook a new flight using that ticket amount because of Timbuktu’s more restrictive rule. If an agent does rebook using that ticket credit, Timbuktu won’t necessarily care and later say, “Hey, you violated our fare rules. Sorry, but we won’t allow that ticket.”

    And you can imagine the mess after.

    Of course, it’s one thing to understand, it’s totally another to agree or even accept it. Tony A or someone can correct me if I’m wrong here, but this should give an idea why that (unfortunately) happens.

    Personally, it boils down to knowing what you’re getting into. Also unfortunately, we tend to find out too late and needlessly suffer.

  • Guest

    We wish!

  • Guest

    Comment spam above. Kindly delete that and mine after. :)