My theme of posts this month is all based on how travel can be so inexpensive. As you may (or may not) be aware, I quit my job last year to travel the world indefinitely! The way I can sustain myself? Budgeting, looking for flight deals, and of course travel hacking! Another thing I do to get fly frequently is secure flight vouchers! *tootsie rolls*
RELATED: How I Did Bogota, Colombia for $126!
If you are unfamiliar with flight vouchers, they are pretty many credits or “dollars” you can use towards a flight with that particular airline. They are typically last about a year and usually hold no hard stipulations (i.e., blackout dates, etc.). I love vouchers because who doesn’t love ‘free’ money?! ‘SPECIALLY when it deals with flights.
Here are primarily three ways to score vouchers:
Volunteer Your Seat
‘Complain’ or Provide a Suggestion (least recommended option)
Volunteer Your Seat
If you’ve ever been on an oversold flight, then you know how they ask confirmed passengers to voluntarily give up their seats? DO IT! Obviously, if you have a less than flexible schedule, this may be infeasible. There is a way to play this game, though. Typically, they will start pretty low with the voucher offers. The last Delta flight I was on was oversold. They initially offered passengers $400 vouchers to voluntarily give up their seats. To me, that’s a little too low. I mean sure, you could get a domestic roundtrip somewhere, but I would much rather go for the gold! If they do not have enough volunteers, they will usually up it to $800 + hotel voucher + cab voucher + meal voucher! NOW you’re talking my language baybee. When it gets here, I get up to the desk as quickly as possible and give up my seat happily! Now mama has $800 towards another flight, a place to sleep AND a free meal. Boop.
To be proactive is much like the above-stated method, except as SOON as you get to the gate, be super nice to the gate agents and tell them if the flight is overbooked at all, you are willing to voluntarily give up your seat! If the gate agents see that the flight may be oversold, 10 out of 10 they will be forever grateful for you voluntarily giving up your seat AND because you were so nice and sweet about, they usually will automatically give you the $600+ voucher with some extra add-ons!
*Note: For methods 1 & 2, getting over > $600 is not necessarily guaranteed. Some people may be happy with the $400 vouchers, and you may miss your opportunity! If I have a flexible schedule or nothing else to do, I just go for the $400. If I could move some things around but may not want to, then I will wait it out. Either way, make your best judgment!
Related: Travel Hacking 101
‘Complain’ or Provide a Suggestion (least recommended)
This is the method I do not recommend, but it is worth mentioning. There is NO guarantee you will get a voucher; sometimes you will or maybe get some miles added to your account (see free resource guide for me info!).
If you have a legitimate complaint with your flight experience or customer service, then reach out to the airline via their Customer Service line or email. For example, once I was a full flight and the setback feature on my chair did not work. I was tired as hell and wanted to take a rest. Because I was sitting upright then entire flight, I was extremely uncomfortable and irritable for the remainder of the flight. I wrote the airline and told them about it and that if in the future they are aware of the issue, let passengers know ahead of time, that way I could have switched with someone or had a technician look at it before takeoff (that’s extra as hell but a suggestion nonetheless). My message was sincere and in return, they added 5,000 points to my mileage account!
While this was excellent, I do not an idea just emailing these folks for the hell of it or expecting to get anything. Sometimes they may just apologize and press their way.
Do you have any methods on getting flight vouchers?