When the pandemic was in its earliest stages at the beginning of 2020, few predicted that we would still be suffering so badly from the knock-on effects more than a year later. That was certainly true of airlines, which gave travel credits to their customers following flight cancellations with the expectations that they would be used at some point in the near future.
However, now almost a quarter of the way through 2021, the situation has barely improved, and those travel credits are now at risk of running out. Fortunately, several airlines have started to extend the validity period – here’s a look at the latest changes.
United Airlines Credit Extended – Information For Travelers
United, one of the country’s largest airlines, has addressed the concerns that its passengers have had by making the move to extend the validity period for its flight credits. United Airlines customers now have until March 31st, 2022, to use their credits, giving their customers peace of mind and the options to wait until they feel comfortable to travel.
In an email to its customers, United said “Take advantage of your flight credit by booking a flight on or before March 31, 2022, for a trip within the next year.” The extension is valid for tickets purchased between May 1, 2019, and March 31, 2021. With many airlines facing the same problems, United were far from the only carrier to issue such extensions.
American Airlines Extends Expiry – What Travelers Should Know
Fellow aviation giants American have also gotten in on the extension act. Whilst their usual policy would see flight credits expire after a year, they have made an exception for Covid-related bookings that were voluntarily cancelled by customers. In a move that is similar to United, American will also allow customers to use their credits up until March 31st, 2022. This also applies to all vouchers that are expiring between January 1, 2021 and May 31, 2021.
These will be automatically extended to expire on March 31st, 2022 – for customers that have had vouchers already expire between March 1st, 2020, and December 31st, 2020, they must contact the company to see if they will be given an extension.
Other Airlines With Extensions
Other airlines have also issued extensions to their ticket expiration date. Delta has extended the validity of tickets booked before April 17th, 2020, for travel scheduled on or after March 1st, 2020, until December 31st, 2022. Delta is evaluating the policy for tickets booked prior to April 17th, 2020. Southwest have also extended their expiration dates until September 7th, 2022, for those who either booked travel or had credits that would expire between March 1st and September 7th, 2020. The credits can also be converted to loyalty points, which don’t expire.
Alaska has moved to ensure that credits issued post-March 1st, 2020, that were due to expire before July 5th, 2021, can be used to book trips until the end of 2022, whilst JetBlue gave a 24-month expiration date to credits issued between March and June, 2020, meaning customers have until 2022 to use them.
The extension of the credit validity by several airlines has resulted in a drop in the number of unused tickets set to expire from 55% down to 11%. Whilst travel is still much more limited than before, the sheer number of credits issued had led to the percentage of flights being booked using credits to rise to 8%, a significant increase from the historic 1/2% of bookings via credits that have been observed in the past – a number that’s sure to rise should confidence in travel continue to rise.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories