Since January last year, records obtained by USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin show at least $121,000 in tickets purchased by university officials sat unused for so long that airlines wiped them off the books for good.
UW-Madison, the state’s flagship public university, was the biggest spender, tallying 139 expired tickets valued at nearly $70,000. UW-Milwaukee also took a big chunk of the statewide total with 63 tickets valued at nearly $22,000.
I travel quite a bit and have to occasionally cancel flights. It happens. But letting this much money expire is inexcusable.
It varies by airline, but on a non-refundable ticket, most airlines will keep the credit for a canceled flight on the books for a year. Then, when you book another flight and use the credit, they’ll deduct the change fee and apply the credit to the new ticket. In other words, with rare exception, UW has a year to use those credits before they expire and use most of the money even if they lose money on some change fees. Given the amount of travel we’re talking about, it is just gross mismanagement to let that much money expire.