American Airlines Is Transitioning To Electronic Vouchers

While virtually all airline tickets in the US nowadays are electronic (unlike back in the day when you had paper tickets, where you needed to surrender a voucher to get on the plane), US airlines do still issue some paper vouchers. Or perhaps more accurately, American does, as I don’t believe that Delta and United issue paper vouchers under many circumstances anymore.

For example, say you need to change an American flight and you end up rebooking a flight that’s significantly cheaper than your original flight. American Airlines will issue you a credit for that by mailing you a voucher for the difference in fare.

Why do they do this? I suspect it’s a combination of factors:

  • This is how they’ve been doing things for a long time, and generally it’s just easier to maintain the status quo than to change anything
  • I suspect an even bigger factor is that paper vouchers have much higher breakage — people lose them, people find them too complicated to use (you either have to bring them to an airport or mail them in), etc.

So there’s some great news on that front. American will be transitioning from paper vouchers to electronic vouchers for all functions performed through their reservations center (meaning any function that requires calling). While this is initially being rolled out next week, I’m told that the rollout will continue into 2019, so you may still come across paper vouchers over the next year.

At this time airport vouchers aren’t being transitioned to electronic. For example, this means that if you’re voluntarily denied boarding on a flight, you’ll continue to receive paper vouchers that you’ll have to redeem within a year either by mailing them in or by going to an airport ticketing desk.

This is a positive development, so here’s to hoping they eventually go all electronic.

Comments

  1. Its fair enough for people who don’t fly that often, but that people with AAdvantage accounts cant get vouchers like this and bump ones electronically yet is a poor show

  2. When paper tickets were used, the coupon (“voucher”?) was not surrendered to receive a boarding pass. It was collected at boarding.

  3. I seriously can’t believe they don’t have this or a travel bank system ala JetBlue / Alaska / Southwest.

  4. European airlines haven’t issued paper documents for years I’ve received e-vouchers which I can redeem online AA is catching up with the modern world.

  5. European airlines haven’t issued paper documents for years. When I’ve had a reissue the balance is given in form of an e voucher even if it’s a few euros. Airlines also give me gestures in the form of electronic vouchers I can redeem online
    So AA is years behind in that respect
    Also IATA deemed paper documents should be suspended years ago

  6. Ridiculous. American Airlines are lightyears behind any other airline. I bet they still issue paper cheques as well instead of T/T.

    Anyway it won’t bother me as I will not ever fly them again after my last experience.

  7. Even Air Canada’s been offering electronic coupon codes to use online. Although they still send you a cheque for any reimbursement…

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