American Airlines fined over Voucher Fee

By | Mar 1, 2011

The United States Department of Transportation fined American Airlines a sum of $90,000 for failing to inform passengers of a fee of $30 to redeem Vouchers they got for voluntarily giving up seats on the overbooked flights.

The Airline did stop charging the fee around the end of last year and it has agreed to pay half of the $90,000 fine and the rest can be waived if the Airline now complies with these Federal Rules on vouchers for the next one year.

American Airlines usually gives out about 250 Vouchers a day and according to the Transportation Department, this is the first time a Airline has been fined by the government for not disclosing the fees to use these vouchers.

Airlines are allowed to oversell flights as some passengers won’t show up for their flights and in case there are too many passengers are present for a flight, the airlines ask for volunteers to give up their seat before bumping people who do not want to get off the plane and the Airlines have to compensate the bumped passengers. When these Passengers tried to cash their vouchers, they were charged a standard fee of $30 from American Airlines for buying the ticket over the phone or at the airport. Unlike tickets which can be bought on American Airlines sites, American does not allow vouchers to be redeemed online on their site.

According to a Transportation Department spokesman, “There’s no way of getting out of paying that fee if they want to redeem”. But according to the American Airlines spokesman, the airlines already stopped charging the passengers to redeem their vouchers on phone in 2007 and at the airport last year. He also said the Airline had already removed the fee before the government complained.

American Airlines does not allow customers to redeem vouchers online the same way as they don’t allow to pay for bag-checking fees online which is collected at the Airport before the flight.


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