Using the infamous "Flight Voucher"

Old May 14, 20, 3:02 pm
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Lightbulb Using the infamous "Flight Voucher"

Like many others, I am stuck with a few of the infamous LH Group "flight vouchers" which the carriers gave out instead of refunds for flights cancelled due to Covid-19.

Now, with some flights starting to operate again from June, I want to use one of these vouchers for a new booking. Of course, the voucher's status is still "under review", despite the fact that I got it on the website well over 2 weeks ago. That same website also says that currently, it is only possible to redeem the vouchers via the call center, although they are working on a way to use them online "at full speed".

So I called LX today, and after 2 dropped calls and a long wait, managed to speak to an agent. I provided her with my new flight details. However, the price the agent quoted for the new flights was 43% above what swiss.com quotes for those flights at the same time. Naturally, that massive price difference more than eats up the CHF50 "courtesy credit" that comes with my voucher.
When pressed, the agent said that "oh yes, the website has lower fares to which we have no access, and yes, in order to use the voucher you have to book through us."

What does a good Flyertalker do? HUCA.

The next agent magically was able to quote the exact same fare as the website. And because that fare was lower than the value of my voucher (+CHF50), he said that the small difference would actually be refunded to my credit card.

We'll see if that is true, but in any case: Buyer beware.
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Old May 14, 20, 3:41 pm
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Thanks very much for the report. That is very helpful!

Also never got the confirmation they promised, and my vouchers are over a month old. (But mine are OS, not LX)
I think that Ill opt for a refund for the next set of flights which wont happen.
If they cannot be bothered to make them easy to use, then I dont want to play that game.
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Old May 14, 20, 4:01 pm
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I have been told so many contradictory rules and fares by agents.

What worked for me when rebooking is to give them an example of another booking where a different agent was able to rebook to the correct fare.
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Old May 14, 20, 4:36 pm
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As I said before, I am so disillusioned and disappointed by LX in their 2nd decade of existence that I don't book them any more, except for the occasional short hop (i.e. GVA-NCE). So I am really glad I don't have to go through any of this (although I could have had to if one of my NCE or ZRH-DUS flights had landed during this crisis). I know that there is barely a single airline with exemplary behaviour during the Corona situation, but LX has generally too many negatives and fails in most other areas without even talking about Corona. No point going on about it any more on my part, they're all opinions and subject to personal experience at that particular moment or event. But I hope all of you get sorted out in the end and somehow get to reinstate or recreate your travel plans and use these vouchers.
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Old May 15, 20, 6:44 am
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I don't think you're supposed to get a refund if the difference is in your favour from what I read on LH eXperts.
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Old May 15, 20, 7:14 am
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I also used the vouchers on two tickets yesterday through the SEN line (the agents had not had to use vouchers yet, so it was a learning experience for them as well). I ended up calling back as I realised I had been overcharged and it was sorted out in the end.

But some observations:
  • Make sure you keep track of how much the original ticket cost and then add on CHF50 on top for your voucher 'value' so you are prepared on the call.
  • Make sure you go to the website and check the cost of the ticket you want to use and ensure you get that fare minus the value of the voucher - this is what you should be charged (if the new fare is higher than the value of the voucher, of course).
  • For some reason, they require you to make a change to an existing booking (even if it has been cancelled), so keep your PNR handy.
  • They will also require you to take the same fare bucket you had originally (I had a classic fare GVA-LHR-GVA and I was not able to instead go to the light fare for some reason)
  • You cannot apparently just scrap the existing booking and use it on a completely new booking (which I find bizarre - why not just follow the EasyJet way of providing you with a 'cash value' voucher for travel worth the cost of the original ticket, add a bonus for loyalty and allow me to spend that on any LX flight you wish? That way you clear all cancelled bookings out of the system and start fresh, whilst retaining the cash)
This whole process seems to be a lot more complicated that it should really be. I know it is a challenging time for the airline and I am 'happy' to take a voucher instead of refund, as I will definitely use it on their services. But why not make it as easy as possible to use?!
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Old May 29, 20, 11:47 am
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Originally Posted by airoli View Post
Like many others, I am stuck with a few of the infamous LH Group "flight vouchers" which the carriers gave out instead of refunds for flights cancelled due to Covid-19.

Now, with some flights starting to operate again from June, I want to use one of these vouchers for a new booking. Of course, the voucher's status is still "under review", despite the fact that I got it on the website well over 2 weeks ago. That same website also says that currently, it is only possible to redeem the vouchers via the call center, although they are working on a way to use them online "at full speed".

So I called LX today, and after 2 dropped calls and a long wait, managed to speak to an agent. I provided her with my new flight details. However, the price the agent quoted for the new flights was 43% above what swiss.com quotes for those flights at the same time. Naturally, that massive price difference more than eats up the CHF50 "courtesy credit" that comes with my voucher.
When pressed, the agent said that "oh yes, the website has lower fares to which we have no access, and yes, in order to use the voucher you have to book through us."

What does a good Flyertalker do? HUCA.

The next agent magically was able to quote the exact same fare as the website. And because that fare was lower than the value of my voucher (+CHF50), he said that the small difference would actually be refunded to my credit card.

We'll see if that is true, but in any case: Buyer beware.
Hello airoli,

after waiting almost 10 weeks for a refund, this morning I decided to opt for the voucher in one of the tickets that have been cancelled. If it is possible, I want to fly in July to the same destination and though that it would be frustrating to pay for a new ticket when the old one had not been refunded.
I got this automatic message saying that the voucher could only be used via the Service Centre, so the full speed does not seem to ve very fast.
You mentioned that, after 2 weeks, the voucher was still under review, but you still managed to use it?

The cost of my original ticket, now cancelled, has to be used for the same destination or can be used for another destination?

Thanks very much!
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Old May 29, 20, 12:49 pm
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Originally Posted by more4less View Post
You mentioned that, after 2 weeks, the voucher was still under review, but you still managed to use it?
Yes, but you need to call the call center and wait your turn.

The cost of my original ticket, now cancelled, has to be used for the same destination or can be used for another destination?
You can use it for any new flight to any destination. In my case, I was also able to use it on codeshares (LX # operated by OS).
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Old May 29, 20, 4:42 pm
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Sad, how the behavior of this Swiss company casts a shadow on many other businesses in Switzerland, which are known for efficient & courteous service.
(needless to point out, who owns & calls the shots at LX)
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Old Jun 8, 20, 2:29 am
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Yesterday and today, I have been trying to use the second of my LX flight vouchers.

On two calls, after ~30min of wait each time, I managed to speak to an agent (once in English, once in German). When providing them with my voucher details and the new flights I would like to take, they both times quoted me with a fare 10x (!) as high as what Swiss.com quotes for these same flights. Again, I was given the "we have different fares" and "we have different availability" stories to explain the massive discrepancy.

When I insisted on paying the fare quoted on swiss.com, explaing that Swiss had in 3 months failed to make the vouchers redeemable online and forced me to call, both agents simply hung up on me.



I am not the vindictive type but this kind of behavior will very much influence my future purchase decisions.
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Old Jun 8, 20, 3:12 am
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I like the statement on the website where it says they are working on making the voucher redeemable online in the coming weeks - that was in March.

It's not difficult - they already have a voucher field on the payment screen when booking.
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Old Jun 8, 20, 3:16 am
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Originally Posted by airoli View Post
Yesterday and today, I have been trying to use the second of my LX flight vouchers.

On two calls, after ~30min of wait each time, I managed to speak to an agent (once in English, once in German). When providing them with my voucher details and the new flights I would like to take, they both times quoted me with a fare 10x (!) as high as what Swiss.com quotes for these same flights. Again, I was given the "we have different fares" and "we have different availability" stories to explain the massive discrepancy.

When I insisted on paying the fare quoted on swiss.com, explaing that Swiss had in 3 months failed to make the vouchers redeemable online and forced me to call, both agents simply hung up on me.



I am not the vindictive type but this kind of behavior will very much influence my future purchase decisions.
That is despicable.
And one reason I never accepted a voucher: since you cannot do it online, you are bound to the prices they quote.
Thanks - I prefer waiting on my money (just told them to reimburse 5 flights a couple of days ago, which went smoothly).
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Old Jun 8, 20, 11:10 am
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Originally Posted by airoli View Post
Yesterday and today, I have been trying to use the second of my LX flight vouchers.

On two calls, after ~30min of wait each time, I managed to speak to an agent (once in English, once in German). When providing them with my voucher details and the new flights I would like to take, they both times quoted me with a fare 10x (!) as high as what Swiss.com quotes for these same flights. Again, I was given the "we have different fares" and "we have different availability" stories to explain the massive discrepancy.

When I insisted on paying the fare quoted on swiss.com, explaing that Swiss had in 3 months failed to make the vouchers redeemable online and forced me to call, both agents simply hung up on me.



I am not the vindictive type but this kind of behavior will very much influence my future purchase decisions.
It's very sad that this is how they reward those who decided to give them a chance to work things out instead of requesting the cash refund they were owed.

The government agencies tasked with supervising private entities and enforcing the law are ultimately to blame for this outlandish behavior across Europe. The fact that the LH group found this M.O. to be a viable commercial decision in this environment is nothing but a consequence of the well-known ineptitude of toothless airline regulators in the EU and CH.

I advise anyone interested in this topic to read posts 458 and 462 in the "Covid19: Swiss refunds after cancellation" thread.

Last edited by mmff; Jun 8, 20 at 12:21 pm Reason: add links to relevant posts in the "Covid19: Swiss refunds after cancellation" thread
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Old Jun 12, 20, 1:40 pm
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Issuing these vouchers was not just a way of retaining cashflow but also ensuring that any new ticket you book will get priced at post-COVID rates. Ordinarily, Swiss must rebook our cancelled flights for free at a later date at our convenience, assuming we want to fly to and from the same destinations. This way they get to apply the voucher "value" to a new fare which as some have found out, may have no bearing on the original fare. Absolutely disgusting behaviour. Not at all Swiss. But as cesco.g said, we all know who calls the shots now. I for one am glad I went the chargeback route.
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Old Jun 21, 20, 8:48 am
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Another data point with the same trick applied by LH Group as seen in the posts above. (It was OS in my case, but I don't want to open a separate thread over there, and the procedure seems the same)
I had to pay CHF 85 more when using my voucher via the service center, compared to booking the exact same flights online at the same time.

Not so bad since CHF 50 of that was absorbed by the credit of the voucher, but it's still a shady practice and I still see no real incentive to opt for a voucher instead of a refund. (unless I was short of cash)
Also not because it involved a call of around 40min, most of it in the queue with horribly distorted music.
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