One thing that you should know before your day of traveling is that you have more rights as a passenger than you might be aware of. Ever since 2004, airlines have been subject to the EU261 and UK261 laws which protect passengers from airline abuse. If your flight was delayed or cancelled, you may be subject to financial compensation from the airlines.

However, this required financial reimbursement has taken quite the toll on the airlines leading many to implement certain policies and tactics that are designed to lessen the amount paid out to each spurned passenger. One such tactic designed to benefit the airline is its voucher system. If your flight was cancelled or delayed, the airline may offer you a voucher as a form of financial compensation.

You do not have to accept the voucher from the airline after your flight has been delayed. In fact, it might be better to decline the voucher as it’s likely not as beneficial to you as regular reimbursement would be. Let’s take a look at the vouchers offered by the airlines to see whether they’re something to be accepted or avoided by the avid traveler.

Voucher Versus Filing a Claim

Once your flight is delayed or cancelled, you have a couple of options moving forward. You can either accept the voucher offered by the airline, or you can file a claim demanding reimbursement from the airline. Each option has its own pros and cons, but which one is better for you?

If you decide to accept the voucher from the airline, you’re essentially guaranteeing yourself financial compensation. This is the safer option as it grants the passenger money upfront and right away without requiring them to go through the claim process. However, chances are you’re receiving a significantly lower amount than if you’d filed the claim against the airline. Remember, airlines are offering these vouchers as a way to avoid paying the full price you’re entitled to.

If you decide to file a claim, then you’re likely going to receive the full amount you’re entitled to. Some airlines will decrease the voucher amount by over half the amount of what you could be earning, so it would be smart to avoid the voucher and file a claim. However, the airline might do whatever it takes to delay or discredit your claim so that they don’t have to pay. There are plenty of loopholes in the EU261 and UK261 resolutions that make it difficult to receive your payment.

Some third-party companies offer assistance in processing your claim and earning the money you’re entitled to. However, these companies will take a certain percentage out of your earnings as their payment. In the end, despite the many factors that go into whether or not you’ll receive your money from the airlines, it might be better to decline the voucher and file a claim.

After You’ve Accepted the Voucher

Once you’ve accepted the voucher from the airline, your case for further compensation is essentially finished. They’ll claim to have paid you via the voucher, settling the case and you’ll be left with a significantly lower amount of money than you could have gotten otherwise.

All of this is to say that, no, you don’t need to accept the voucher from the airline after your flight was delayed or cancelled. They’re attempting to bride you out of your true entitled compensation with a voucher that is only usable with them. Full financial compensation earned from settling a case against the airline can be used anywhere and for anything, whereas vouchers are extremely limited.