What Are Your Rights If You Get Bumped From A Flight?

Yesterday I shared the story of a passenger literally being dragged off an oversold United flight because they needed his seat. In light of that, I figure this is probably a good time to write about what you’re entitled to in the event you find yourself on an oversold flight. This post isn’t intended to reflect the exact situation that happened on Sunday night, but rather to address the topic more generally.

Why do airlines oversell flights?

Airlines use very complicated models to decide how many seats to sell on a particular flight. However, almost across the board they’ll sell more seats than actually exist on a plane. Why? Because they know that typically some passengers won’t make the flight.

Some passengers may show up to the airport too late, while other passengers might cancel their tickets last minute, while other passengers may miss their connection due to flight delays. They have incredibly complex models, and most of the times they work out perfectly. However, they’re not going to get stuff right all the time, and as a result there are occasionally situations where more passengers have checked in than the plane has seats.

Sometimes airlines even sell seats when they know it’s likely that they’ll need to bump people. Why? Because they’d rather take cash for an expensive, last minute ticket, and then give someone an airline credit for taking a different flight.

There are also a few other possible reasons for a flight being overbooked. For example, it could be that an airline has to transport crews somewhere as a priority to work another flight, or that a flight is weight restricted due to weather, cargo, etc.

Passengers are typically bumped from a flight in one of two ways — voluntarily or involuntarily.

How does a voluntary flight bump work?

When an airline knows that a flight is likely to be oversold, they’re required to solicit volunteers. Sometimes airlines will ask at check-in, and other times they’ll ask at the gate. When it comes to a voluntary denied boarding there are no regulations as to what you get.

A voluntary denied boarding is a win-win, since someone is getting something in return for taking a different flight, and everyone is happy. It’s a negotiation process, and compensation typically comes in the form of a voucher from the airline, and sometimes you can even negotiate a free upgrade in addition to (or sometimes in lieu of) a voucher.

If you’re having to overnight in a city as a result of this, the airline will typically give you a hotel room as well.

I’d say the average compensation is for an airline credit in the range of $200 to $800. How high the offer goes depends on how long you’ll be delayed, how many other people are interested in the bump, how badly they’re oversold, etc.

So it’s not unusual for them to first make a low offer, see if anyone accepts it, and then go higher if people don’t. However, gate agents are often limited in how high they can go, and airlines don’t give gate agents much incentive to make sure that passengers are voluntarily denied boarding, rather than involuntarily denied boarding. In other words, often their request for volunteers is just one quick announcement without much of a sales job.

How does an involuntary flight bump work?

When airlines can’t find volunteers and still have more passengers than seats, they need to involuntarily deny people boarding. Every airline has a clause in their contract of carriage allowing them to do this. Furthermore, airlines all have procedures they use for determining who gets bumped. Some airlines bump the people who don’t have seat assignments. Other airlines decide based on who checked in last. Others decide based on status and the booking class you have.

Do note that the number of passengers being involuntarily denied boarding was at a 20 year low in 2016. Out of roughly 660 million passengers last year, only 40,000 were involuntarily denied boarding, which is roughly 0.6 involuntary denied boardings per 10,000 seats.

If you’re involuntarily denied boarding, the Department of Transportation regulates what you’re entitled to. Here are the rules, as published by the DOT:

  • If you are bumped involuntarily and the airline arranges substitute transportation that is scheduled to get you to your final destination (including later connections) within one hour of your original scheduled arrival time, there is no compensation.
  • If the airline arranges substitute transportation that is scheduled to arrive at your destination between one and two hours after your original arrival time (between one and four hours on international flights), the airline must pay you an amount equal to 200% of your one-way fare to your final destination that day, with a $675 maximum.
  • If the substitute transportation is scheduled to get you to your destination more than two hours later (four hours internationally), or if the airline does not make any substitute travel arrangements for you, the compensation doubles (400% of your one-way fare, $1350 maximum).
  • If your ticket does not show a fare (for example, a frequent-flyer award ticket or a ticket issued by a consolidator), your denied boarding compensation is based on the lowest cash, check or credit card payment charged for a ticket in the same class of service (e.g., coach, first class) on that flight.
  • You always get to keep your original ticket and use it on another flight. If you choose to make your own arrangements, you can request an “involuntary refund” for the ticket for the flight you were bumped from. The denied boarding compensation is essentially a payment for your inconvenience.
  • If you paid for optional services on your original flight (e.g., seat selection, checked baggage) and you did not receive those services on your substitute flight or were required to pay a second time, the airline that bumped you must refund those payments to you.

As you can see, in many cases you’re entitled to a sizable cash payment, up to $1,350. However, here’s the dirty secret of the airlines. In a vast majority of cases they’ll only offer cash compensation if you specifically ask for it. Otherwise they’ll offer you the same voucher they gave anyone who was voluntarily denied boarding.

Does the current denied boarding system make sense?

In light of the situation that unfolded last night, and also in comparison to the rest of the world, does the current system make sense? First I’d say that airlines overselling flights is inevitable. Virtually all airlines around the world do it, and it’s a practice that isn’t going to change. However:

  • Airlines need to do a better job of incentivizing and empowering frontline employees to do everything in their power to only voluntarily deny boarding to passengers; this should be done by making multiple announcements soliciting volunteers, improving their sales pitch for volunteers (by better explaining the compensation), asking for volunteers early and often, and even raising the offer more based on the response from passengers
  • Perhaps the DOT should more closely regulate airlines’ involuntary denied boarding situations, by requiring airlines to proactively pay cash to customers when they’re involuntarily denied boarding (rather than only when passengers request it), and maybe increasing the penalties for involuntary denied boarding

Airlines make a business decision to oversell, so arguably they should have to suffer the consequences when their algorithms don’t work out. This could be done by them having to increase the voluntary denied boarding compensation until someone accepts it. Maybe that would cause them to change their tune a bit.


This has been a quickly-moving story with myriad updates. The full coverage of the United incident from the One Mile at a Time team is as follows:

Crazy Video: Passenger Forcibly Dragged Off United Flight
What United Really Screwed Up With Their Latest Viral Incident
The Horrible Video I Hadn’t Seen Of The Guy Being Dragged Off A United Flight...
Why United’s Incident Is A Much Bigger Deal Than You May Think
Pathetic: United’s CEO Makes The Denied Boarding Fiasco Even Worse
What Are Your Rights If You Get Bumped From A Flight?
United’s Removal Of Passengers May Not Have Been Legal
The Root Cause Of United’s Denied Boarding Fiasco
Wow: Emirates Throws Major (But Fair) Shade At United In New Video
FINALLY: United’s CEO Issues A Real Apology For What Happened
I’m Sorry: My Initial Reaction To The United Situation Was Wrong
Fascinating: Good Morning America Interviews United’s CEO
United Is Refunding The Fares Of All Passengers On Flight 3411

Comments

  1. Yeah. I don’t know why the airline didn’t offer more that $800. I would guess they would rather give 10% higher in vouchers than the highest possible amount they would have to give the bumped passenger. I’d rather give a $1500 voucher than $1350 in cash and avoid displacing the passenger. Also the airline should have considered that this bump situation was to accommodate their own crew and should have gone as high as necessary (cost not really mattering ) to keep this situation under control. I can imagine this incident will end up costing millions.

  2. Lucky, I have read some things that the IDB rules are different once the passenger is on the plane versus at the gate? You have any idea if this is just a rumor or has some merit?

    Also, thanks for the post – very informative. I never thought to ask for cash the one time I was IDBed years ago.

  3. Do you know if Asian airlines (either low cost or full service carriers) overbook flights? I have taken many flights, especially through KUL, SIN, and BKK and have never heard an announcement asking for volunteers due to an overbooking.

  4. The one big issue that concerns me in all the commentary re the United incident is the fact that no one seems to address the issue of airlines overbooking seats on purpose. It is being accepted by most commentators that its “just one of those things”.
    When an airline makes me an offer to fly me from A to B for a named price … it is up to me to accept or decline. If I accept, then I correctly expect tje company to uphold its part of the contract.
    I teally dont care why they oversell seats. Every single person who pays for a seat deserves nothing else than to be carried by the airline
    Until airlines are penalsed heavily for overselling flights, nothing will change

  5. “If your ticket does not show a fare (for example, a frequent-flyer award ticket or a ticket issued by a consolidator), your denied boarding compensation is based on the lowest cash, check or credit card payment charged for a ticket in the same class of service (e.g., coach, first class) on that flight.”

    I never knew this. Although, it’s unlikely someone in F or J gets bumped.

  6. @michael When you “accept” the airline’s offer, you are also accepting all of the terms and conditions of the ticket. The airline made you an offer to take you somewhere at a certain price with the caveat that they can deny you boarding if necessary. The “contract” isn’t just the ticket fare, its all of the terms and conditions of the ticket itself.

  7. The key word in a lot of these posts is “up to” a certain dollar threshold. My guess is UA chose the person as he had the lowest fare knowing full well they were seeking to limit their liability.

    I had an AA fare last where I connected to a second leg and it was only awarded 11 EQD. If I was bumped from that flight would that mean I was only entitled to ~44 dollars? Why would an airline want to boost VDB comp if the laws are so much in their favor for IDB comp?

    Hopefully this is a wake up call to our legislature but I’m certainly not holding my breath.

  8. “If your ticket does not show a fare (for example, a frequent-flyer award ticket or a ticket issued by a consolidator), your denied boarding compensation is based on the lowest cash, check or credit card payment charged for a ticket in the same class of service (e.g., coach, first class) on that flight.”

    The is an area I do not like. Just this past Saturday night my family of four was involuntarily bumped from a SWA flight. We paid 22K points for the one way tickets. – Only received $331 each, as the lowest paid ticket was 80 something. Thought we’d get much more.

  9. DOT requires each airline to give all passengers who are bumped involuntarily a written statement describing their rights and explaining how the carrier decides who gets on an oversold flight and who doesn’t. The UA CEO states they followed procedures. Does anyone know if any of the four passengers IDB’d received the DOT required written statement? It would be interesting to see the written statement so we would all know how the unlucky four were selected. Just guessing that the statement, while required, was never provided and therefore the gate employees did not follow the procedures for the situation.

  10. Thank you so much for this article, Lucky! I had assumed the max an airline can offer was $1350 but I was wrong.
    I think part of the confusion is for the average Joe (like me), denied boarding means not boarding at the gate. In this case, all the passengers had boarded already. I’d say this scenario would have played differently had the gate agent not boarded the passengers in the first place.
    As for the crew who *had* to be on this flight, there was a later ORD-SDF flight that day. Also, there were other flights going to nearby cities like Lexington, KY and Cincinnati, OH (both cities are only 1.5 hrs drive from Louisville, KY.)

  11. I was expecting Lucky to get this one correct when the traditional media can’t or refuses to. This wasn’t an overbooking situation. This was United needing to get a crew somewhere so a later flight didn’t cancel. This situation had zero to do with overbooking. Good info in this post otherwise but please stop saying it was an overbooking issue.

  12. Unites missed an opportunity to have this done quietly and in a nice way. I’ve seen many times that the magic word is “thousand”. If you offer $1,000 you usually get more volunteers than you need. I saw this the other day on a Delta flight from DTW to SEA. They were oversold by 6 seats and they started with the same BS of $400, $500, etc… and nobody was really interested. It was an evening flight so passengers would have to overnight at DTW and take a flight next day. When they said “we are offering $1,000 in travel vouchers + hotel + meals” people started to run towards the gate agent and there was almost a bit of a fight since a family of 4 was given preference since they were all traveling together. If you are not in a huge hurry, $4,000 for a family of 4 pays for a spring break or summer vacation somewhere. It is a nice trade to fly next day. I am pretty sure that United was extremely stupid and if they had offered $800 more in total (bump the offer for 4 people from $800 to $1,000) they would never had the bad publicity they got.

  13. @Lucky I never fly American airlines as I don’t visit America (I live in the Middle East and travel to Asia or Europe). I’d be grateful if you could write a similar post aimed at airlines in those parts of the world.

  14. United shares are melting today. There is an article on CNBC saying shareholders are questioning the competence of management in handling crisis scenarios. It is probably time for Mr. Munoz to start polishing his resume.

  15. I think the problem is that the airlines seem to be incentivized by the ridiculously low amount they are required to compensate people. 2x or 4x the one-way fare seems like peanuts. Especially in a situation like this where the flight they were offering was nearly a full day later. I’d guess that on a UX route like this the one way fare is pretty low in lowest fare class. So for a couple hundred bucks they can disrupt a person’s life for a day. Make it a minimum of $1000 compensation so that the airline has to really limit this to even rarer circumstances. I’d also be interested to know how many no-shows are due to mis-connects and how many are just people who don’t show up.

  16. @Joey “As for the crew who *had* to be on this flight, there was a later ORD-SDF flight that day. Also, there were other flights going to nearby cities like Lexington, KY and Cincinnati, OH (both cities are only 1.5 hrs drive from Louisville, KY.)”

    It is a fair assumption the later flight departing at 2100 and arriving at 2322 may not have given the crew enough rest in SDF. If that is the case, the alternate-airport option may not be an option either given any travel time in a van is added to their duty day.

    The question for me here is why they are deadheading an entire crew without having positive space reservations? It is of course commonplace for crews to deadhead as part of a pairing (despite the fact it seems illogical and inefficient to me), but in my experience those deadheads are built into the schedule and the required number of seats removed from sellable inventory. The crew may end up getting the leftover middles if such seats exist but they will make the flight. It may be presumptuous, but it also seems to me the deadheading crew didn’t have confirmed space because there was no mention of standbys being cleared onto the flight; if that were the case they could have been easily involuntarily removed without a kerfuffle – that’s part of the standby game right?

    At the end of the day none of this matters except as a sad post-op but operationally speaking a lot of things went wrong leading up to this disaster.

  17. I’ve seen confusion about the “maximum” limits. Just to be clear, this is a cap on what the government will force the airline to pay. However, there is nothing preventing the airline from going beyond that.

  18. @Lmmz
    “Would be worth noting that for flights departing from EU or arriving to EU by an EU-operating airline there’s separate clear compensation rules set by European Parliament & Council (but which are sadly ignored by many EU airlines)”

    1) it’s not just “EU-operating airlines”; the compensation rules apply to any airline that is flying into, out of, or within the EU. Even United, Delta and American.

    2) EU airlines initially resisted (Ryanair and easyJet were the biggest refuseniks), but their arguments were completely dismissed in the English courts, and elsewhere.

    3) the rules are not based on multiples of ticket (or comparative ticket) prices, avoiding all that airline discretion. The rules give specified cash amounts. No ifs, no buts. Airlines hate this, but they brought it on themselves by behaving like spoilt children.

    Sometimes regulation us a wonderful thing.

  19. To clarify my own dumb post:l – EU rules apply:

    – If your flight is within the EU and is operated either by an EU or a non-EU airline

    – If your flight arrives in the EU from outside the EU and is operated by an EU airline [so no protection here if you fly the US3]

    – If your flight departs from the EU to a non-EU country operated by an EU or a non-EU airline [here the US3 *do* have to pony-up the cash]

  20. The c of c makes no sense and (listen closely) is rarely binding due to poor or no notice and disparity in bargaining power (consumers can not negotiate the terms at purchase). Most consumers give up after several phone caps and emails with the airline. A few persist and win. This poor man was also subject to excessive force at the airlines directive and I am confident the airline deviated from its on procedures. I am an atttorney and would be privilege to help this man free of charge. Shame on united.

  21. Lucky,
    Referring to the compensation amounts quoted, is this amount restricted to only economy class or all classes? Because if flying out of US on paid J or F fares to long haul, these would be absolutely inadequate. There may be times when one is bumped of J or F, especially when VVIPs take most of the seats at the last minute.

  22. Are these rules different for each country? I mostly fly international routes and certainly don’t have the time to study each country’s regulations.

  23. This happens all the time, I have at least one client a month who has been bumped off, biggest tip is to always check’in online and pick a seat.

  24. $1350 is an absurdly low cap considering how expensive last minute premium fares have gotten.

    In addition to the compensation, is the airline required to accommodate the bumped passenger–in the same class of service–on another carrier (regardless if that carrier has a cooperative ticketing/marketing arrangement)?

  25. Why should there be any limits on the airline’s liability for breaching its contract to transport the passenger at a particular time on a particular plane? Why is this any of the government’s business. This is a regulator acting on behalf of big business.

    The airlines ought to have to keep bidding until they get enough volunteers, not rely on government-imposed caps on compensation to volunteers to protect them from liability.

  26. A friend posted an article on Facebook about how Delta handles this – having passengers “bid” on what they would accept to be bumped at check-in. This obviously reduces average compensation for consumers but I think is a brilliant approach to limiting involuntary denied boarding.
    Not sure how much it would have helped here if they didn’t know far in advance but the fact that they boarded the flight after not getting volunteers shows they knew at least before putting people on the plane.

  27. Great post! I read somewhere that UA only offers $50 vouchers these days, so $400 would equal to 8 $50 vouchers, and only one voucher could be used for each ticket. Is that true?

  28. Israel has its own law, derived from the EU261, but has some distinctions. On one hand you need an 8 hours delay in order to get compensated (EU261 is 3 hours), on the other end, it applies to every ticket flying to or from Israel, regardless of the airline. If flying to the U.S from TLV with a connection in the EU/Swiss (or back, using an EU carrier), you can choose by which law to claim your compensations.

    https://www.elal.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/About-ELAL/Passengers-Rights/ISRAEL_AviationServicesLawENG.pdf

  29. “Hocky Travel Guy” nailed it. The United Airline situation was not about a flight that was “overbooked” or about a person who was “denied boarding.” The passenger had a ticket and a seat assignment. He was permitted to board the plane. The United staff did not have paid tickets, they were flying STANDBY. The flight is overbooked when there are more seats purchased than there are seats available on the plane. Again, the United staff did not purchase tickets, they were flying STANDBY.

    Here’s what I found on United’s website about United staff and their rights:

    https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/flightstatus/standby_FAQ.aspx

    Who is included on the standby list?

    Some of the most common types of standby customers are:

    Pass riders – United employees or their eligible dependents standing by on a space-available basis. Pass riders are prioritized last, and are only assigned seats after all other standby customers are accommodated.

    That is very clear to me.

  30. Two issues. This is not a denial of boarding and this is not an overbooked flight.
    The man was already boarded and the four employees did not previously have tickets.
    This is a denial of transport contract dispute agrivated by assult.
    I hope and have no doubt that the guy gets big bucks from the airline and the assulting officer.

  31. There is a slight twist to the rules you posted. From the DOT link you posted:
    “If the airline must substitute a smaller plane for the one it originally planned to use, the carrier isn’t required to pay people who are bumped as a result. In addition, on flights using aircraft with 30 through 60 passenger seats, compensation is not required if you were bumped due to safety-related aircraft weight or balance constraints.”
    Wow! That’s sneaky. So the airline can just bring in a slightly smaller plane that holds like one less row, and thereby avoid any cash compensation to involuntary denied boardings??

  32. Do the restaurant owners allow to do this?
    One hungry man came to a crowded restaurant to eat, got seated and ordered a bowl of soup cost $10. The next man came, there was no more empty seat, but willing to order a big fat meal with desert cost $50. The owner / waitress came and asked / forced the first man to give up his seat and offer 1/2 more bowl of soup for waiting for the next available seat…

    If not, then why the airline companies are allowed to overbooked? have the right to bump passengers and treat customers like dirt???

  33. Someone recommended to secure your spot, check in early or online and pick the seat, but wasn’t this man already checked in and sat in his seat??? He still got picked and kicked off the plane….

  34. @Pat – these employees were NOT standby pass riders. They had working orders to take this flight and were on the clock, not on leisure time. Inexcusable actions followed, but the point you are trying to make is irrelevant since the pass travel policy does not apply when the company requires you to deadhead.

  35. I assume the portion in relation to “no price” also includes redeemed airline miles. Their mandated compensation is a load. It would cost me 30k miles to fly to NY. Now considering I get 1 mile/$, with bonuses, you could say essentially I spent about $15-20k to get those miles. Also, if I were to straight out purchase those miles directly from the airline it would roughly cost me around $900. Meanwhile, the actual purchasing price for that same flight is $418 (I did an actual search). Now if I am compensated $418 for a ticket I, theoretically, paid twice for at minimum how is that adequate compensation??? I hate the fact that companies don’t consider points money. The same thing happened with Best Buy. They reward you with a gift certificate. I made a purchase partially paid with a reward gift certificate. Well I had to return said item and was only refunded the actual money I paid. So what happened to all the points, that I spent actual money on to earn, that I then used to pay for this item???

  36. If you have to pay for your ticket (seat) in advance (which we do), and if airlines charge a hefty fee to cancel or re-schedule (which they do), what right do they have to overbook? I mean, they’re getting their money for the the seat. Isn’t it my right to use the seat or not? In other words, how come they can double-sell the same seat?

  37. Great article – thanks. I wonder why the airlines are limited to a maximum cash payout of $1350. I believe that they should be able to go as high as necessary in order to get enough people to accept a “bump”.

  38. “Some passengers may show up to the airport too late, while other passengers might cancel their tickets last minute, while other passengers may miss their connection due to flight delays.”

    In all these examples, the airlines have sold my seat to me. So why can they sell it twice through “over-booking”?

  39. @Brad
    There is no government rule preventing United from offering more than $1350. They can offer a million dollars if they want. The $1350 amount refers to the maximum an involuntarily bumped passenger can demand from the airline, and that amount would only apply to long delays and tickets that cost more than $337.50 for that leg. For shorter delays and/or cheaper tickets, the maximum the bumpee can demand is lower.

    As you say, the sensible thing for United would have been to increase the offer until they got volunteers instead of stopping at $800.

  40. I think the passenger bill of rights needs to be updated to say “Airlines should not be allowed to remove a passenger from the plane once boarded unless they are being disruptive or there is an emergency situation”. That’s what I would like to see changed in this.

  41. What I a Not understanding is the practice of overbooking a flight in the first place. Can someone explain to me why this is a legal and acceptable practice of doing business? What difference does it make if the passenger doesn’t show up for their flight? The passenger does Not get a refund period. The only way to still use your ticket is to call the airline Before the plane takes off and cancel and even then you must pay a $200 change fee plus the difference in fare to use it again. My point is overselling seats because the airline expects a couple of no shows seems flat out ethically wrong. The airline still gets to keep their money. The only loser here is the passenger and I know because this just happened to me on United Airlines. I couldn’t make a flight on the roundtrip portion due to family illness. Why can’t airline seats be treated like hotel rooms? I purchased a hotel room recently and the hotel was sold out. I arrived late due to unexpected traffic as I was driving. I arrived at the hotel at 2:00 a.m. But because I already prepaid in advance for my hotel room, they did not sell my room to someone else. My room was waiting for me upon my 2:00 a.m. arrival. The hotel told me they cannot sell my room to someone else since I already paid for it. This business practice should apply to airline seats as well. The fact that all airlines have a right to oversell seats based on a percentage of no shows makes no sense since that seat is prepaid, the airline still gets their money and the passenger loses. Also, to bump a paying passenger simply because an employee needs to get on that flight is absurd. How does an employee receive priority over a full paying passenger? Why does an employee get to bump a fully paying passenger anytime they want at the last minute because they are late? Why should the passenger have to pay for the employee’s mis-planning? The airline employee could have caught the next flight or even jump seat on another airline. No passenger should be forced to give up their seat because an airline employee needs to get to another location. The airline should account for airline employees or the employees need to plan accordingly. Either way, the policy of overbooking a flight needs to be changed as the airline gets their money either way. If they sell that seat to another passenger, they are double dipping. This business practice needs to be illegal and needs to stop. I hope this incident changes the policy on this for all airlines.

  42. “Passengers are typically bumped from a flight in one of two days — voluntarily or involuntarily.”

    Two days? Long time to get bumped?

  43. So if the airline company was within their rights to remove the passenger,
    and the passenger refused, what SHOULD have been the next
    step. We all know what went wrong, but what was the right thing to do !

  44. I haven’t seen any clarification regarding whether airlines are allowed to restrict you, when re-booking you, to their own airline or their partner airlines. I have had to come off airlines for multiple reasons, usually related to repair, and the rebooking agents always want to put you on their own airline. That is understandable. But sometimes there are ways to get to my destination on another airline half a day before their only option. This has happened more than once from between Mexico and the US.
    Can you clarify what our rights are regarding carrier restrictions? Is it different when routing is not domestic?

  45. To Arlene and Stephen: most people buy non-refundable tickets, which cannot be changed unless you pay a hefty fee. However, most airlines also sell a number of tickets through contract arrangements with big companies. These might be fully flexible tickets. You can also buy tickets online which are refundable or changeable with no fee. Some airlines even offer a guaranteed seat on any flight to their very top tier customers, and the only way they can do that is basically being willing to bump off someone else if everyone shows up.

    Overbooking can be annoying, but I have yet to be involuntarily bumped in 2+ million miles of flying. I have taken a few voluntary bumps, and I’ve also said yes to some reroutes when an agent asked if I was willing to connect at a different airport, as they had a potential oversell on one of my segments. In return I usually got a first class seat or some sort of voucher.

    The problem is that the compensation rules are not particularly generous. The voluntary certificates usually expire and sometimes you have to go to the airport to use them and pay a fee. The involuntary amounts are not always very generous.

    What I really don’t understand is why this crew that needed space to fly didn’t get booked onto the flight well before boarding started. Once people are actually in their seats, the whole process becomes much more difficult. It’s a little easier to take a voucher and a flight the next day if you are in the terminal and can make calls to work out the logistics. Being yanked out of your seat just before door closure is a new low.

  46. On Sunday 9th April 2017, my wife and I along with 2 other fellow travellers travelling from London, got bumped when trying to make a connection from Phili to West Palm Beach to catch our cruise ship the following day for our daughters wedding. given a $12 meal voucher which was thrown in the trash as that is all it would have bought to eat. Told we would be put up in the Marriot hotel at the airport this was un-true we had to go to some 3rd rate hotel by shuttle got there 2300hrs had to be up at 0245hrs to catch flight. a good 10hrs later than scheduled and a stop over in Charlotte on the way. we were give a fantastic $83 each as compensation. this airline is a joke.

    To make matters worse the other couple that got bumped were the parents of the Groom, 2 days after the stress and annoyance of this escapade the father suffered a stroke on the cruise ship. though it cannot be proved that this was a contributing factor, I would bet it wouldn’t have been helpful.

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