In an era when other airlines gave out compensation vouchers (for getting bumped or other issues) that had to be mailed in or redeemed at an airport counter, Continental launched electronic travel certificates (ETCs).
You could also get an ETC if you changed a non-refundable ticket to a less expensive ticket. In other words if you had a $1,500 ticket that you didn’t need you could change it to any cheap $29, pay the change fee, and get an ETC for the difference in fare that could be used by anyone.
Continental’s ETCs could be used online, could be used for travel after they expired, and you could book them for anyone to travel. They remained valid until you finished using the entire balance. And there were creative ways to extend their expiration. Continental’s ETCs led the industry for years.
One annoyance was that you had to keep track of the ETCs yourself, there was no place to save them online.
United kept Continental’s superior website and IT system, and along with it their ETCs.
In recent years they actually added value to them by allowing ETCs to be combined, though you won’t always want to do that in advance.
And now in a surprisingly customer friendly enhancement, United has added the ability to view them from your account page and book a flight with them.
This certificate popped up in my account today. It’s all that remains from the tens of thousands of dollars in Continental ETCs that I got from Airtran’s insane Wendy’s cup promotion:
It even reflects the newly extended 24 month ETC expiration date.
Kudos to United for making it easy to keep track of ETCs!