Use it or lose it? There is another option for unused tickets
Nearly 15% of all airline reservations made by an organization for business travel are refunded
or exchanged based on a change of plans for the traveler. Unfortunately, many more tickets may be
completely wasted in organizations that do not track unused documents and apply their value toward
future trips. And although refunds and exchanges generally involve processing fees, the substantial
value of unused documents make these fees nominal. And so, while “use it or lose it” may have been
a travel buyer’s only option in the past, significant strides in technology now ensure far fewer
tickets go to waste, saving companies thousands, and even millions, of dollars in the process.
Policies differ by carrier and by region
When travelers miss flights or change their plans, their tickets often may be redeemed through exchanges or refunds of fares and/or taxes. For example, in North America 91% of many organizations’ unused documents are eligible for exchange, according to CWT client data. In both North America and Latin America, most coach/economy fares can be exchanged before or within a specified time limit after departure, dependent on each carrier’s policies. Note that while low-cost carriers limit exchanges to pre-departure only, many allow tickets to be transferred to other passengers as part of an exchange.