I gave up my airline seat — now my company wants the voucher

Pavel L Photo and Video / Shutterstock.com
Pavel L Photo and Video / Shutterstock.com
When Qatar Airways oversold Anto Nirmal’s recent flight from Trivandrum, India, to Doha, he volunteered to surrender his seat and take the next scheduled flight. In exchange, Qatar Airways offered him a voucher, which he could use for a future trip.

This overbooking-bumping tango takes place every day around the world. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports 538,911 passengers offered to give up their seats in exchange for an extra ticket in 2011, the last year for which numbers are available.

But what happened next isn’t so common.

Nirmal, an engineer with an energy company based in Houston, says his employer asked him to fork over the voucher when he returned. Since he was flying on business, it claimed the voucher was company property.

“I would like to know whom the compensation should go to — myself or my employer?” he asks. “I feel I should have it, as I suffered waiting in the airport for six hours. But my employer is feeling the opposite.”

What belongs to you?

This raises a much bigger issue of what belongs to you when you travel by air. Not much, it turns out. Take frequent flier miles. Some employers claim the miles are their property, and every now and then you’ll see a dustup on one of the mileage blogs where an indignant business traveler will claim his hard-earned miles are being stolen from him. Australian public servants are not allowed to redeem miles collected through official travel.

Truth is, the miles belong to neither party. Check out the membership agreement on your frequent flier program if you don’t believe me. The points are the airline’s property and can be confiscated at any time, for any reason. To some air travelers, that makes them worthless.

Vouchers fall under the same category. Companies know that the redemption rates on certificates are often less than 10 percent. In other words, you could stand on a street corner handing out a voucher for a Qatar Airways ticket, knowing that less than 1 in 10 people would actually use it. I suppose it would depend which street corner you decided to go to, as well.

Virtually all vouchers expire after a year, which is why accepting credit for something you paid for is almost always the wrong move. One of the cleverest airline tricks is offering you a flight credit (minus a $150 change fee) from the date of your booking, not the date of the cancellation. Passengers are constantly assuming that the voucher is good for an entire year from the date of the change, and they’re sometimes in for an unpleasant surprise when they try to redeem the airline scrip.

Time is everything

But back to Nirmal’s question. Strictly speaking, the company was paying for him to get from India to Qatar. If Nirmal was flying on his own time, which is to say he wasn’t “on the clock,” and he gave up his seat, then Nirmal should view the voucher as compensation for six hours of his life. But if the company paid him for his time, then the voucher belongs to his employer.

As a practical matter, it may be difficult for his boss to do anything with the Qatari funny money. The certificate may have his employee’s name on it, and in order to make it even more difficult to use these vouchers, airlines sometimes stipulate that the credit must be used on the same routing.

So good luck with that.

But Nirmal ought to be commended for asking this question. Some employees would just assume that because they’re flying, they deserve all the benefits. That’s not necessarily true.

Who deserves the voucher?

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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 chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • technomage1

    Interesting question. In this case, since his employer probably did not suffer any expenses or lost time, I’d say the voucher was his. I typically fly on government tickets and we did not used to be able to garner any benefit from vouchers or flyer programs. The government feared a perception problem if people saw someone in uniform in first class (having upgraded w/miles). I don’t know what the stance on stuff like this would be since the government does pay us for travel based on time. I’d say we probably wouldn’t be allowed to,volunteer to be bumped.

  • TonyA_says

    Give it up or be ready to give up your job. If your employer is that stingy, consider the latter.

    Added: After googling Qatar airways IDB, I found this link
    Looks like the OP is looking at all options to keep his voucher. Not sure that is a smart move.

  • bodega3

    What is in the employee handbook regarding company travel? I have handled corporate travel for well known international companies and their polices are not the same. Some allow their employees to keep their frequent flyer miles, others state any miles traveled on the coporate dime are theirs and have access to the account. iMHO, when an employee is traveling for the corporation, they usually are spending more time ‘on the job’ that they would it at the office, plus are away from their families so they should be able to keep the miles and vouchers.

  • JenniferFinger

    If Nirmal is reimbursed by his company for his expenses, then they get the miles.

  • http://phoenixjustice.blogspot.com/ Phoenix Justice

    Most companies that require employees to travel have written policies for such events. I would be surprised if the OP’s company didn’t have a written travel policy covering airline miles, credits and such.

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    Is there a written travel policy at Nirmal’s employer? If not, then it should go to Nirmal because it won’t be fair for the company to make up a rulepolicyetc. after the fact. If there is a written travel policy then it should follow the policy if it is addressed in the policy.

    When I am in the job market, one thing that I look at is the travel policy of the company. If the travel policy is not acceptable to me, I will pass on the opportunity since travel will be at least 50% of the month if not 75% to 85% of the month.

  • andi330

    If the OP’s company paid for the flight and his time (and as this was a business trip, I feel safe in assuming that this is the case) they should get the voucher. Practically speaking, I expect that the voucher was issued in the name of the ticket holder, and the airline may balk at changing it for a company. It seems to be a risky business for someone to use their real name to try to get this information online. It may not be a something for which he can be fired, but it is sure to upset his employers if he finds out about it, and likely the voucher isn’t for that much money.

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    I agree with you that an employee should be able to keep the miles, vouchers, etc.

    I have lost count the number of times that I have traveled on a Sunday night or fly back on a Saturday morning. As I commented previously, I look at the travel policy of the company when I am considering a new position. I have took myself out of consideration for a position and declined offers over a company’s travel policy.

  • bodega3

    I would be surprise if the company didn’t have a policy.

  • Bill___A

    As with all of the polls, the answer is either or. but the real answer isn’t so simple. Were any meetings missed? Did the company incur charges or changes due to the delay? For example, if he was a day late for a meeting, company might get it. If there was no effect, then maybe not. More to the point, it should be cash, not vouchers.

  • Chester P. Chucklebutt

    When you said paid for his time, would the employee being salaried (and thus likely NOT compensated for the extra) alter your opinion in any way? Not saying that he was, just a possible consideration.

  • djp98374

    To circumvent this couldnt you possibly put this under a different name (gift it to your spouse) or instead claim it as a donation to a charity just to screw with the company then?

  • $16635417

    Am I reading things right? The link says he was denied boarding. According to Chris’ story, he volunteered.

  • $16635417

    I wrote company travel policies, each one was slightly different however, most companies agreed to let the employee keep compensation if it did not affect their performance. Traveling Sunday for a Monday AM meeting? As long as you made the meeting they didn’t care. But, if you came out a day later than planned and missed your shift at a trade show….we need to talk. Also, extend the return by a day or two in order to spend the weekend in Vegas, don’t plan on submitting expenses for the weekend.

  • TonyA_says

    yup the articles show some inconsistencies. If this was me, I wouldn’t risk my job for a voucher. He may have to use it to go home after he is fired.

  • andi330

    No, it wouldn’t. As a salaried employee required to travel, compensation for travel time is factored into his negotiated salary.

  • $16635417

    How did the company find out about the voucher?

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    Hmm, that’s interesting. I wonder what other discrepancies there are.

  • $16635417

    I was curious, so I looked online for people with the OP’s name, and narrowed it down to people who work in the geographic area and industry described, I found a company that is very concerned about its code of ethics and posted their ethics policy online. They MAY consider this a violation as they do not want it to appear to be a “kickback” as it has a cash equivalent.

    I don’t necessarily agree with that, but I would be interested in hearing the company’s reasoning for wanting the voucher.

  • Kevin Mathews

    Not sure it’s really worth the effort here to get the actual truth of why he was bumped/denied boarding.
    Either way, it does not really change who gets the compensation for the voucher…

  • $16635417

    Because of the inconsistencies it does raise questions for me. Mainly if he missed work, meetings etc because of the bump. If it was involuntary, I would probably have a different opinion of it vs. if he chose to be bumped for compensation and missed work because of it. Sorry, HUGE difference IMO.

  • BillCCC

    If the company paid the trip and he was paid for his time then the company should receive the voucher. Form what is written it is clear that this was a choice that the OP made. To complain about the suffering he endured for his choice to accept a later flight is a little too much for me.

  • Raven_Altosk

    I’d say it depends on the corporate rules. My company views my miles as a “perk” for me (I laugh). While they have never demanded that I turn over hard-flown miles or vouchers for trips they’ve paid for, they certainly could.

    .,,bottom line: dude should read the rules regarding travel. HR probably has them laying around on a dusty shelf somewhere…

  • andrelot

    For me the issue is simple; had he known the company would take his vouched, would he have volunteered to get bumped? I don’t think so.

  • JewelEyed

    If he was being paid for the hours he was traveling, it goes to the company. If he was only paid for the hours once he arrived and began doing whatever he was sent there for, it’s his.

  • john4868

    This all depends on his company’s travel policy. Of course with all the public whining he’s done over this, there’s a real chance that he might not have to worry about that in the near future.

  • JimDavisHouston

    My points, miles, and other perks are part of my benifits from my company. Some companies are different. If I had to give up my perksto the company, I wouldn’t apply for them, or give up my seat. Simple as that.

  • Len

    I voted for the company this time. He voluntarily bumped himself. That means that if the company is paying for his time, the company lost the 6 hours.

  • Harry Baxter

    While I think that Nirmal deserves the voucher, his company probably has the right to claim it, unless the employee handbook claims otherwise. Before I retired, I worked for a large corporation, and they originally documented the fact that they were entitled to the vouchers. However, after a year or so, they discovered that the paperwork involved was so oppressive that reversed the rules and let the employees keep the credits earned.

  • http://upgrd.com/roadmoretraveled MeanMeosh

    Need to look at the company’s travel policy. Many allow you to keep miles and/or vouchers, no questions asked, but others are stricter. My former company, for example, had no restrictions on the use of miles or compensatory vouchers “earned” during company travel, but if you canceled or changed a flight, the residual value after fees could only be used to book official travel. If the policy says all vouchers are to be returned to the company, then he needs to suck it up and return it. If this was an involuntary bump, it might be worth it for him to write a polite appeal to his HR department. And I agree with some others who question whether this company is worth working for.

    Now, another question raised here is whether it’s ethical to go “voucher hunting” by accepting voluntary bumps while on your employer’s dime. I’m curious what others think about that, but personally I have some issues with that, especially if the result is an extra “sick” day.

  • Asiansm Dan

    If his company want the voucher:
    – his company is too cheap to ask for it because it’s unusual and very infrequent event that a good management don’t make rules or issue on this.
    – it will invoke a Revenue/Taxation issue with the IRS for the company, when it become a rule or a directive but not an exception situation.
    I don’t see a good manager see a benefit on this confiscation other than power-play or greed.

  • http://flyicarusfly.com/ Fly, Icarus, Fly

    That post is pretty damning. If it’s involuntary and affected his performance at work, I vote employer. If it’s voluntary and he got home on a Saturday night, then it’s his to keep. But it doesn’t sit well with me when OPs tell you one thing and the excellent sleuths on this forum find out it’s something else.

  • Andrew F

    I think if his company is paying for the flight, it is not the employee’s place to volunteer his seat. He should be reprimanded for that alone. If he was bumped, that’s another story. Still, he is not entitled to anything; his company should settle the matter with the airline.

  • http://upgrd.com/roadmoretraveled MeanMeosh

    Must be a pretty rotten place to work if he’s ready to flush his job for a lousy $300 voucher :)

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Yeah, if it was his decision and he ended up late because of it, I can totally see his employer wanting to make sure he didn’t profit off the deal. If that’s how it went down, they’ll probably just toss the voucher to make sure he doesn’t get the use of it. And assuming that is the case, how tone deaf must the OP be? He voluntarily ends up late which causes problems, then instead of keeping his head low he’s debating going to war over a voucher? This guy isn’t going to be with them much longer.

  • Owassonian

    I voted yes for Nirmal but there are a few things missing. It would significantly depend upon whether Nirmal is paid by the hour and number of hours he works for the business, like a consultant, or as a salaried employee. If he works like a consultant, and if any additional hours spent on the airport are chargeable to the business, the voucher belongs to the business. If he is traveling on his own time, so to say, without missing his due appointments and affecting his quality of work, there is no cost to his employer. In that case, the voucher is for Nirmal. If Nirmal purchased a lottery ticket on a business trip and won the lottery, the ticket still belongs to him, not his employer. Extending the same logic, if he met a beautiful girl, I doubt his boss can claim anything. Also if Nirmal had personal expenses on the trip, the employer will not reimburse him for those, unless they were business related or essential for his daily needs.

    Does the employer pay for his time past the normal office hours? Is there a compensation for time away from the family and home? Reimbursement for hotel and food is not the same as compensating for the time spent away. Those are essential daily needs, not personal expenses.

    Generally Nirmal should get the voucher but depends upon how his employment is arranged.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Not necessarily. If constant travel is part of the job or he was high profile enough, then probably. But if he’s just a run-of-the-mill employee who rarely or even occasionally travels, there’d be little to no thought of that at all. It’d be just considered part of the job and if the whole weekend is spent traveling, then that’s just how it is. And most salaried employees work their whole lives without there ever being a true “negotiation” concerning their salary.

  • Chris Johnson

    Well the situation sucks but regardless of what his legal rights are, I assume his employer is subject to the “at-will” employment laws, so if he wants to keep his job, handing over the voucher is what he should do. One question – how did his employer find out anyway? I certainly wouldn’t be talking about something like this when I got back to the office.

  • CarolinaLannes

    I work for my government and travel quite a bit as part of the job. In my case, the (written, of course) policies are:
    – the mileage is mine. But since it was acquired with public money, I’m not allowed to sell them. I can only use them to change for tickets for myself, not for anyone else.
    – any vouchers are mine. But if I miss work due to a seating problem, I need to explain myself. If it was an involuntary denial, then no problem. If I give up my seat and miss work because of that, I’ll have those hours to compensate. Plus, since I’m paid an extra for each day away from my city of residence, if I have any kind of traveling changes involuntarely, I do get paid for those hours. If it’s voluntary, I don’t.

    The best thing would be, really, to check his company’s policy.

  • emanon256

    It won’t let me vote today. But if I could, I would vote for the company. After all, the company paid. I used to work (100% travel) for a company that paid for my travel, and I would never give up my seat because I wanted to be home as soon as possible, or get to work as soon as possible. I was salaried, so it seemed dumb for me to volunteer and spend more time in the airport for the same pay. We had a few hourly employees, and several got in trouble because they were caught volunteering so they could get paid for more hours and get a voucher. In the rare occasion I was delayed and given a voucher without asking, which happened a few times a year on the old United, I used it for work travel as work paid for my travel to begin with. I thought this was only fare. After all, work is paying me and paying for my travel, why rip them off? The lower we could keep expenses, the better our raises would be. I was not aware of any official policy on this, but they always talked to us about trying to keep our expenses down, and when we did, the savings was shared (i.e. 3% raise instead of 2% raise, etc.)

    When I switched companies, I got paid an all-in hourly rate for billable hours only. I had to pay for my own travel, and didn’t get paid an hourly rate to travel. The cheaper my travel, the more money I made. I actually liked that system better as a made more money and had more flexibility. In that case, if I had a good reason to get a voucher, I would use it for business travel or personal, depending on what was more expensive at any given time.

  • DavidYoung2

    What a cheeseball employer. I mean, really, the guy’s traveling around the world for you and you’re sweating some voucher? Besides, unless he travels on that same airline for pleasure, he’ll probably use it on the next business trip anyway. Jesus, it amazes me how cheesy and petty some companies can be. It’s a voucher — who cares?

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Depends. Suppose he was coming home at 8pm Friday night. It would be ok to volunteer. As long as it doesn’t affect attendance or job performance.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    As long as it doesn’t affect attendance, performance or company expenses I’m ok.

  • Alan Gore

    This isn’t Qatar Airlines’ problem. It’s Nimal vs. his employer. A peripheral question is, how did the company possibly find out about the seat-buyback arrangement anyway? Did Nimal brag about his deal at the water cooler?

  • mszabo

    Interesting link, Involuntarily Denied boarding would seem to change things. Still I’m not sure I’d call the employer stingy unless we saw his timesheet for that week. When I travel I certainly log all travel time from the time I leave my hotel until the time I arrive at my front door. So if I were to take a bump voluntary or involuntary my employer would be on the hook for another 6 hours of pay + the cost of lunch while waiting in the airport for the next flight.

  • Andrew F

    I see your point, but I disagree. The company pays, so it sets the rules. Unless he got an explicit permission to volunteer his seat, he should take the flight.

    To put things in perspective: the Friday night flight was likely more expensive than a Saturday red-eye. The company took that expense because it wants a well-rested employee come Monday.

  • Daddydo

    Unless you company allows accumulation of miles and vouchers, they do belong to the company. We have 2 huge firms that forbid the use of mileage on travel because it cost them $$ when their travelers stupidly choose their frequent flyer airline instead of time or price. We print out the actual airline reservation to send with their statements proving that their is no use of mileage. Vouchers….well some people just can’t keep their mouths shut and just take advantage of the reward.

  • http://www.facebook.com/judyserie.nagy Judy Serie Nagy

    Wow, lends meaning to the term “Jerk Boss”. I’d say there are probably other problems between employee and employer; this seems so out of line that they might be wishing he’d resign over it.

  • CommonSense

    My employee travel policy says rewards are the employee’s, and if an employee uses his miles for a business tirp there is no compensation.
    If the company paid Nirmal for his delayed flight time then they may be justified in asking for the voucher, but I bet he is on salary, so he invested his own time in sitting around waiting so the voucher should be his, and he should find a more reasonable employer.

  • RetiredNavyphotog

    I lost any sympathy for him when he stated that he “suffered waiting in the airport for six hours.”

  • ExplorationTravMag

    When I used to travel on business, I was permitted to keep my miles. However, whenever I received a voucher, I would first offer it to my employer, as they were the ones who paid for the ticket. If they turned it down, it was mine to keep. They usually turned it down, but there were a couple times they kept it. Either way, my conscience was clear.

  • tripchi

    Hate to hear about Nirmal and SIX hours in the airport…Luckily enough, we will have an app for that – http://www.tripchi.com

  • $16635417

    Especially if he indeed elected to be bumped voluntarily.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    oh boy, this one is a no brainer. WHo paid for ticket ? Were you being paid on business trip ? (of course u were), so it’s company property.
    Stop whingeing !!!
    I think this site should be renamed WHINGERS INC. !!!
    You guys are starting to sound like Poms who whinge about absolutely everything.

  • Poley King

    Its never a good idea to whine about your employer in public. Hopefully he wont be fired

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Then you completely missed the point. The point was that if there is no detriment to the company then its fine. You subtly changed the example to include two detriments to the employer, i.e. increased cost and less rested, ergo, less productive employee.

    An example from my real life. I was returning from LAX on Friday heading to SFO, a 50 min flight. My flight was to leave at 6pm. I took a bump to the 7pm flight. It meant I arrived home at 8pm instead of 7pm. In either case I wasn’t going to the office until Monday.

    The point is bolstered if the employee has discretion in which flight to take in the first place.

    EDITTED.: Of course, he has to look at his company travel policy as that ultimately controls.

  • y_p_w

    Perhaps that’s a local expression, but what is whingeing?

  • kenish

    I wondered the same thing. The only ways I can think of:
    – He was late to a business commitment and the company wondered why, followed by a deeper dive perhaps based on past performance or inconsistencies in the story. But the routing suggests he was returning home to the USA.
    – Billable hours or an expense report raised a flag and further investigation.
    – He sought more company reimbursement for the extra time.
    – He very honestly brought it to his employer’s attention, hoping they would let him keep it.

    So, I might side with Nirmal only in the last case.

    Bottom line was whether Nirmal was on company or his own time. Litmus test: what if, heaven forbid, his flight had gone down? Would Nirmal’s family recognize he was on his own time and not seek compensation from the employer’s insurance company or deep pockets?

    I’m no apologist for employers, BTW…just feel that many employees milk the system or push the boundaries of policies. Who knows if that was the case here? Bottom line is whether the voucher is worth his job.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    yes that’s good advice, give up your job over a silly voucher. Will you ever find another one with this attitude ?
    We wouldn’t give you a job ever.

  • kenish

    Look on Google or dictionary.com Common word in the UK and Oz (not sure about NZ or South Africa)

  • Can Mom

    The company paid for his ticket, but did they pay for his time? I am a travel agent who books corporate travel. Many of my clients travel for business but on their own time.

  • Michelle

    I work in corporate travel and our company policy regarding travel vouchers is that as long as it doesn’t impact your paid work schedule and doesn’t incurr additional cost to the company you can keep it. So assuming a person works M-F 8am to 5pm, if they choose to get bumped from a 6pm flight to a 7pm flight they could keep the voucher. But, if they choose to get bumped from a 7pm flight on Monday to a 10am flight on Tuesday they would have to surrender the voucher to the company. Reason is that you will be cutting in to your regular work hours and you are incurring additional meal, hotel, and airport parking costs.

  • Joe Farrell

    Carver – question: the employee is the agent of the employer who paid the money for the flight. Anything an agent gets of value related to his actions for his principal belongs to the principal. Do you disagree?

    So what part of the black letter law does not apply in this situation?

  • y_p_w

    Well then I suppose I have some explaining to do to my employer and former employers. I’ve actually taken schwag for my own personal use when attending trade shows on behalf of my employer. I did some duty at public event for my employer where food an beverages were provided. I had some extra bottled water that I was saving and didn’t turn it to my employer after it was over.

  • y_p_w

    It’s generally no employer’s business how someone travels when they’re not paid or what activities they do when they’re not on the clock.

    Would an employer be justified in mandating that employees must rest during the weekends? I used to go hiking or do other active things on the weekends. They certainly don’t care. For the most part employers ask how the employee wants to schedule flights. On one business trip I was able to specify which flight, which airport, and which return date. My employer picked up my entire car rental, but I paid for the gas for my personal side trip but submitted receipts for the days I worked. I extended my scheduled return two days for that side trip and paid for my own lodging, although an extension of the trip and my employer was willing to pay for my lodging those weekend days even though I wasn’t working.

    I don’t know of many employers who care that much. Keeping the voucher seems a bit petty. My employer certainly was OK with me staying two extra days and keeping the rental car for my own personal trip (I don’t know how I would have accounted for personal use) as long as I paid the gas. My schedule would have put me off the clock but with a return flight on my own dime. I’ve known of many employers who will allow an employee to stay somewhere past the work period to start vacation, and pay for the return trip that they otherwise would have provided earlier.

  • Joe Farrell

    just cause they don’t care, does not mean that cannot enforce the rules. How about this one:

    Your job is to buy annuities to fund structured settlements. You discover a way to extract 1/2% from every single deal – your employer is paying the same pre-negotiated rates with their providers. The insurer selling the annuity gets the same amount of money as before – everybody is running their business exactly the same pay, paying the same rates – but you are making 0.5% on ten of millions of annual business. Does that 0.5% belong to your employer? The bottle of water is merely a lower priced version of the 0.5% . . .

  • Joe Farrell

    how about this – the plane crashes. Is it workers comp? Abso-fing-lutely. So – even though you are not on the clock, you are on the clock. . ..

  • y_p_w

    So you’re equating skimming off the proceeds to taking an inexpensive amenity home?

    What about taking the hotel soap when on a business trip? Or using a disposable laundry bag. Does that need to be presented to my employer when I’m done with it? That’s just odd.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I disagree. If what the agent receives is in furtherance or related to his normal duties then yes, the principal controls. However, if the gratuity is incidental to his job, then no, I would say the principal does not control.

    For example, my law clerk went above and beyond for one of my clients. Getting tips/gifts is not part of his normal compensation. The client was so happy that the client gave my law clerk a gift. I don’t see where I have any claim to that gift.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    That’s a poor analogy.
    in the instant matter, the voucher was given to the employee openly as a result of a trip that was also given to the employee.
    Your example is closer to your employee paying $1000.00 for your refundable airplane ticket, you finding out that the ticket is now selling for $900, and pocketing the $100. Hardly analogous.

  • Joe

    Legally the company is prob entitled to the voucher. At that point, if it is transferable, then Nirmal files an overtime claim for the 6 hours he spent waiting. They got what they think they are entitled to, and so does he.

    Realistically – Nirmal gets to use the voucher due to the fact it is likely non-transferable to anyone not in his immediate family.

    I just repped a guy against USAir who got off an oversold non-stop PHL-LAX – the announcement script was: “We are looking for volunteers to give up their confirmed reservation on this flight in exchange for a confirmed seat on a flight of your choice and a $400 voucher good for travel on USAirways.”

    My guy walks up – and volunteers his family of 4 on one condition – they all get to fly together and they get 2 first class seats. [Apparently he and his wife had enough of the teens squabbling!] The agent takes a fast look at connections through PHX – nods her head and he gives up his 4 seats – which apparently does the deal for USAir. The flight actually then departed on time.

    He gets his confirmed space on a later flight, arriving only 3 hours later, and 2 first class seats all the way to LAX. What he also gets is 4 $400 vouchers valid ONLY on the PHL-LAX nonstop. I had never seen that before. Like Chris mentions above. He objects – and his right – they never said as part of the offer that they would be limited as to route of flight.

    After actually having to sue them in small claims court for the bargain that they gave him – and the company arguing to me that ‘there are terms and conditions in the voucher that we do not completely explain at the airport’ and thinking that was going to work – the afternoon before the court hearing they offered to put 50,000 miles in everyone’s account and void the vouchers.

    My client accepted that offer since it was essentially a free ticket. This way they could argue that they never make exceptions – I’d never seen that in a USAir voucher before – is that common now?

  • y_p_w

    Timesheet? I’m guessing likely salaried, although I’m not sure what the laws are in India. Even at some of my salaried jobs I was expected to fill out an electronic timesheet for 8 hours each weekday without specific hours. It was just an accounting thing as we accounted for our vacation and sick days. Most of my jobs were simply assumed as working unless I filled out a vacation request or sick time accounting form.

  • http://twitter.com/LawrenceDortch Lawrence Dortch

    If the company wants to take his voucher then they should pay him the aditional six hours he had to wait in the airport.

  • J

    actually – what is the ticket sold for $1000, the airline got $1000 and he still managed to pull out $100 – does it belong to the company? Sure it does – thats the point I’m making. Like everything in life money matters – a consumable that someone uses – like soap – is different from an $800 voucher useable in the future – and different from $3 million skimmed off from somewhere. But the silly premiums that companies give out as swag – sure that belongs to the employer – what if it was a $500 voucher to a hotel? instead of 50 cent bottle of water – does value matter to the law or to integrity?

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Perhaps I was unclear. Of course the $100 belongs to the employer. I don’t think anyone would dispute that. My point is that your analaogy was closer to that example, which is light years different from the voucher scenario.

    As far as how the magnitude matters to law and ethics… I would remind you of the old legal/moral/ethical concept of de minimis.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    That’s amazing. I was not aware of that restriction. Should i volunteer a seat, I’ll know to be on the lookup

  • BMG4ME

    The only reason the company would deserve the voucher would be if it cost the company money to take the later flight (for example it caused a cust sat situation) – in which case they deserve far more than the voucher.

  • LZ126

    It depends. If he deprived his company of his labors during those six hours, the voucher should belong to the company (technical details notwithstanding). But if he was six hours late in returning home, then the ticket should be his.