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Pays to be Persistent

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Pays to be Persistent

Q. My family and I flew on a trip from Miami to Baltimore in January, 2009 on AirTran. Our flight was delayed at least four hours. We were given several $25 vouchers in compensation. The vouchers had an expiration date six months prior to this flight. I questioned the man giving out the vouchers, he took them from me, scratched out the expiration date and said there was no expiration date. So now I am flying AirTran again, and tried to use the vouchers, which of course, couldn't be found in the system. I emailed customer service and was told the voucher had expired in June of 2008. When I explained what happened and that they had expired six months prior to the delayed flight that I was given them for, AirTran said that they are only good for six months, so it didn't matter, they would be expired anyway. I just don't think this is a fair situation as the voucher was already expired, and then they told us they didn't have an expiration date. What can I do? Who can I report this to?

A. Only AirTran can make this right. Contact them again, ask for a supervisor or manager and give them specifics regarding your flight, the date, and , if you remember, the name of the agent who gave you the expired vouchers.

Follow up: the day after this reader contacted AirTran as I suggested, she got a full credit for the expired vouchers. Too many people take "no" for an answer when dealing with airlines. It really pays to be persistent. And although we applaud consumer advocates who use the bully pulpit of the media to go to bat for people like her, they (and we) can't solve every problem ourselves. So we encourage consumers to escalate issues to higher authority (airline CEOs, managers, the DOT) when they've clearly been wronged.

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