Customers Holding ATA Vouchers Are Sad, Angry

Reader Jake writes in to share the story of how he came to be the proud owner of a now-worthless ATA voucher:

Last September I had to sit in an airport for 10 hours. I was in Chicago, flying home from a work conference, and ATA Airlines dropped the ball. First they said the plane was at the wrong airport (I was at Midway, they said it was at O’Hare), whatever that means. Then they said the plane was at the right airport but the pilots were at the wrong one. Whatever, after many, many delays the plane took off and I had the pleasure of arriving at National at 3 in the morning. It was, all things considered, a fairly awful experience. If I had been unable to pay for wireless internet (with work picking up the bill) I’m not sure I would have made it.

The only bright side to this whole ordeal was that ATA offered everyone on the plane a voucher for a free roundtrip ticket anywhere in the continental US ATA serviced. Quick side story: A co-worker and I were on the same flight and he ran into someone he knew also on the flight. Apparently his friend had been on an ATA flight a while back that had also been delayed and she had been offered the same roundtrip voucher and was using that voucher on this flight WHICH HAD ALSO BEEN DELAYED, meaning she got another voucher.

Anyway I tried to use the voucher when I went to Jacksonville, and later Lake Tahoe, but I found it fairly hard to use as ATA didn’t fly to those places and weren’t very helpful either way. The guy I talked to on the phone suggested I pay to fly myself to Dallas where I could then fly for free to Jacksonville. I pointed out that if I was going to pay to fly to Dallas, why not just pay to fly straight to Jacksonville in the first place. He had no comeback. Since it was proving so hard to use and I’m not planning on going anywhere in the near future, I had kind of forgotten about the voucher. Until today.

As I was driving in to work I heard a news story that ATA Airlines had declared bankruptcy and discontinued all operations. The company website confirms this, as does this Bloomberg story. The FAQ’s on the company website helpful point out that all vouchers are no longer valid.

I don’t know what the moral of this story is, if there is one, but I do know that I hate ATA Airlines now more then ever. Unfortunately for me, there doesn’t seem to be anything left to hate. You win ATA. You win.

Those of you holding ATA frequent flier miles are in the same boat, sadly.

Customer FAQ (PDF) [ATA]
(Photo:gTarded)

Comments

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  1. CaliforniaCajun says:

    He may be able to file with the bankruptcy court as a creditor if the voucher has a cash value – but like American’s vouchers, they probably don’t.

  2. laserjobs says:

    Of course you can still buy these worthless vouchers on eBay

    [cgi.ebay.com]

  3. Well, technically they didn’t win. It’s be like saying that the Titanic won because it killed a lot of passengers. True, but it still sank.

    Maybe he can take solace in that at least they sucked enough to put all their workers back on the breadline. Even the CEO won’t be able to survive a new note on his resume: “ran last company into ground”.

  4. @laserjobs: To be fair, I think that voucher was still worth money yesterday when it was posted.

  5. TruPhan says:

    I’m not very surprised, sadly. What with Burger King and Sharper Image turning down gift cards (which I lump vouchers in with as well) and ATA going out of business, anything that’s not cash is valueless.

    On a side note, my job uses Internet Explorer 6 because IT can’t be bothered to make their outdated JavaScript work with Mozilla, or God-forbid any newer version of IE. Anyone else notice that the layout looks all funny as of yesterday? I suspect a change in the CSS support for IE6 – is Consumerist taking a stand, or is this just temporary?

  6. CharlieInSeattle says:

    @TruPhan: Depends on the state, in Washington State if they don’t except their own gift cards, they will be breaking the law.

  7. MBZ321 says:

    @CharlieInSeattle:

    Too bad whatever the decision is in bankruptcy court overrules anything set by States. California has a similar law, but it does not apply since gift cards are somehow thowin in the bankruptcy mess.

  8. PCSuser says:

    Okay, I went online to Southwest’s and ATA’s website.

    PLEASE ALL ATA frequent flyer mile subscriber note that many ATA FFM subscribers can use their accumulated miles on Southwest’s flights (as they were codeshare partners)

    Southwest miles are ATA miles. And ATA miles are Southwest miles (due to codeshare).

  9. nonzenze says:

    “I don’t know what the moral of this story is”

    Use your vouchers/gift cards/miles/points as soon as possible?

  10. angryatatraveller says:

    Yea, just a little upset here! We purchased vouchers from someone a few months ago who was also in an area where they no longer flew from. So we used our newly acquired tickets to make reservations to go to Hawaii this summer… 6 tickets. In addition to about 30 other people who were going to attend a famiy wedding! So now we have reservations and NO FLIGHT!!! And nowhere to turn!

    In addition, my hubby and I flew ATA to Maui a few weeks ago and had about a 10 hour delay which resulted in us arriving at 4 in the morning – lovely – and getting 2 worthless vouchers! Lucky us!