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Ralph Nader > Special Features > Letter to Airline CEOs

Dear Mr. CEO,

Most airlines treat unused non-refundable tickets with the fine print dictate of monetary confiscation after one year of issuance. That is, if a passenger buys a non-refundable ticket to somewhere and for some reason does not use that ticket to fly on the prescheduled date, she/he has one year to use it, adjust for any price changes and pay a $100-150 or so ticket change fee. After a year if the ticket is not used the dollar value of the ticket is kept by the airline. No refund.

Over the many years, during and after the paper ticket era, customers would throw their unused tickets in their drawer and either miss the one year deadline because they had no need to travel or forget about what and when they purchased their tickets.

The confiscated sum of monies retained by the airline industry because of this one year dictate must amount over time to billions of dollars.

Would you reveal how much you have kept or retained from these unused, non-refundable tickets for the years 2007, 2008, 2009? If you agree to do so publicly, it will have an added benefit to nudge your customers into being more time-sensitive with the ticket money they entrust to you.

If you do not agree to pull away the curtain of secrecy over these data, would you reveal these dollar amounts if significant shareholders, both institutional and individual, in your company were to make this request?

Thank you for your response.

Sincerely yours, Ralph Nader