United Airlines Honors Lost Plane Ticket From 19 Years Ago
You know the feeling you get when you unexpectedly find money in your pocket, or that sense of relief when you find something lost after days of searching for it? Now imagine discovering an old airline voucher and learning it’s still redeemable. Well, that's exactly what happened to John Walker when he discovered his unused United Airlines flight voucher from 19 years ago.
According to WFMY News 2 , the Greensboro, North Carolina resident recently found his unused United ticket in a box under his bed, among other old documents and birthday cards. The ticket was dated back to a United flight on December 31, 1998 from Nashville(BNA) to Sacramento (SMF) and went unused.
“Over the years, this box has been under there, I just never really thought about it,” said Walker in an interview.
Along with the ticket was a letter Walker received from United that addressed the 19-year-old refund request for his flight. The letter stated that the “domestic wholly unused non-refundable ticket(s) can forever be applied toward the purchase of another domestic non-refundable ticket, for the customer named on the ticket.”
After finding the letter, Walker contacted United by sending a direct message to the airline's Twitter account.
"No one knew what to do with a paper ticket because by this time paper tickets were long gone,” Walker said. “They hadn’t been issued for 10 or 12 years."
According to Walker, a customer care associate explained that the "forever" referenced in his letter was no longer under a binding agreement because United went bankrupt in 2002, which meant all debts, including airline tickets such as his, were discharged by the airline. Lucky for Walker, his then $378 paper ticket and is valued at $571.60 today.
“They decided to honor it partly because of the letter even though it wasn’t legally binding. But also, because I think it was just good customer service on their part,” said Walker.
Feature photo by Zach Honig