How do I use a free ticket voucher?
I never really thought I would have to ask that question. Ordering airline tickets online is just like ordering food at my favorite restaraunt. It’s easy. I assumed that using a free ticket voucher would be as easy as any online purchase from Travelocity, Expedia, or Orbitz. I was wrong. Apparently money motivates the airlines to make online purchasing extremely easy. A free flight takes the cooperation of several agencies including the Post Office.
The first step in redeeming a free (United Airlines) ticket voucher is to call 1-800-UNITED1 to make a reservation.
There are two ways to have the ticket issued:
Mail the free ticket voucher to the address provided by the United representative over the phone. Please allow at least 14 business days for processing. Please note that the free ticket voucher must still be valid for United to issue the tickets.
Bring the free ticket voucher to an Airport Ticket Counter to have the ticket issued. While making your reservation, remember to check with the United representative over the phone for your airport ticket counter’s hours of operation.
That’s right. I had to either mail the voucher or drive to the nearest airport with a United terminal. (Portland is almost 2 hours away and Eugene is 45 minutes.) I missed the convenience of an internet flight purchase. There’s something to be said about the simplicity of entering in my credit card and having an email confirmation sent to my e-mail. I decided to mail the voucher using Priority Mail from the Post Office.
The free ticket voucher process at United needs to be upgraded. The customer service representative gave me instructions that were eerily low tech: “Write the departure flight number, name of passenger, and confirmation number on the voucher.” The back of the voucher contained advertisements for United. I wrote down my information in between paragraph breaks…
I kept thinking to myself, what the heck are all those numbers on the voucher for?