Is American Airlines Overcharging Passengers Booking With Vouchers?

**Update: 11/01/19 @ 00:41 UTC –  An American Airlines representative clarified what the carrier’s voucher policy is; details below.**

Passengers with flight vouchers have often gone through a frustrating journey to receive them. Some passengers flying American Airlines may now find themselves even more annoyed. This is because there have been reports that the carrier could be overcharging them when they book flights with these vouchers.

American Airlines Airbus
An AA passenger has shared how there were inconsistencies with his purchase documentation. Photo: Airbus

What is the claim?

Joe at Your Mileage May Vary states that there was a discrepancy between the reservation he made and the receipt from the flight ticket. He received vouchers from AA following an overbooking that happened in the spring of last year. The expiry dates on the two $400 vouchers were fast approaching so it was time to book a flight with them.

After making a booking with the vouchers, he noticed an odd occurrence. He paid $610 for two tickets but the confirmation message that he received only showed a price of $542.66. Altogether, a difference of $67.34 is left between the voucher and the ticket price.

Moreover, only $9.00 was charged in taxes and carrier-imposed fees. When searching the ITA Matrix to check deductions on a similar ticket, the passenger found other standard fees were missing from his one.

The United States Passenger Civil Aviation Security Service Fee (AY) and the US Flight Segment Tax (ZP) weren’t charged with this voucher-booked flight.

American Airlines Airbus Aircraft
The initial flight price didn’t match the value on the receipt of the passenger. Photo: Airbus

Why would this be an issue?

Since American did not receive any money for flight tickets booked on these vouchers, it is not forced to pay traditional taxes. However, the price of the ticket has not been adjusted to reflect this saving. Therefore, the saving of $67.34 had not been passed over to the customer in this instance.

Regardless, affected customers would not be left out of pocket due to these overcharges. This is because the flights are paid with vouchers handed out by the airline. However, this move seemingly devalues the compensation offered by American. Especially, if it is not clear where the difference has ended up.

Could be a special case

This could nonetheless be an administrative error or technical glitch. Therefore, Simple Flying reached out to American Airlines for clarification on the matter.

American Airlines 737-800 aircraft
Airlines are constantly having to hand out vouchers due to the several delays happening at airports each day. Photo: Getty

A representative was unable to shed light on Joe’s specific case. However, she did clarify how the airline’s voucher system works.

“When a tax exempt voucher is used as a form of payment for the entire ticket, the amount to be paid will be lower than originally quoted and the customer will see the appropriate taxes exempted,” the spokesperson told Simple Flying.

“When a customer is first quoted the price on, the assumption is that the payment will be made using a credit card or other valid form of payment and all taxes are owed on the ticket. It is only when the customer sends in the tax exempt voucher as form of payment will the price be adjusted.

“When a customer does not use the full amount of a voucher (i.e. the ticket costs $200 and the voucher is for $300) then a new voucher is issued with the difference.”

US compensation policies

Last week, United Airlines’ compensation procedure was also being looked into. The carrier had made alterations to its policy, meaning that customers that are delayed between four and six hours now have to request compensation rather than automatically receiving it.

Although, United shared that this process will enable its passengers to have their claims reviewed with a more personalized service. Like its counterpart, American also seems to have a logical reason behind its decision.

What are your thoughts on this situation? Are you able to share your experience regarding the values on your vouchers or receipts?