Yes, Airlines Will Pay You to Get Bumped From Your Flight. But Is It Worth It?

Did 2022 feel like a year of airport chaos to anyone else?

Orlando International Airport

We saw extreme fluctuations in crowds for holiday travel seasons, and throughout the year, there were strikes, airline mergers, and SO MANY flight cancelations. Basically, if you traveled at some point during the year, we applaud you for your bravery. Perhaps one of the most frustrating things you can deal with when traveling is getting bumped from your flight…but sometimes it might be worth it!

We can all probably agree that the goal of airlines is to fill their flights as much as possible. Because of this, most airlines will sell more tickets on a flight than there are seats on a plane, with the assumption that at least a few people will miss the flight. (It’s pretty common!) But occasionally, that strategy doesn’t pay off and more passengers show up than they have room for. So what happens then?

Orlando International Airport

In that case, the airlines often have a system in place that incentivizes guests to give up their seats. Sometimes this happens when you arrive at the gate and they ask for volunteers, but many airlines are looking for ways to start that process earlier — by asking guests when they check in online or at the airport if they’d be willing to give up their seat. Policies and incentives vary from airline to airline…so when is it actually worth it to get bumped?

What happens when you get bumped from a flight?

Let’s start with American Airlines — the company historically has paid all volunteers the same when getting bumped at the gate, but recently that policy has changed. Now, American Airlines employees will only pay as much as the customer requested for the bump, meaning that the payment for bumping may vary by customer. Ultimately, the goal is for American Airlines to offer compensation in the app and bump customers before they arrive at the gate.

If you’re bumped from an American flight, you may be able to get a meal voucher if your new flight is significantly later. And those with new flights the following day who aren’t in their city of residence have been offered overnight accommodations.

©American Airlines

What about Delta Airlines? Delta’s goal is to be the major carrier with the fewest “involuntary denied boardings, and they’ve been quite successful with that goal so far. The success is likely due to the fact that Delta makes its voluntary denied boarding options very attractive. Volunteers who give up their seat on a flight are given gift cards with 10 redeemable locations: Delta, American Express, Amazon, Best Buy, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Marriott, Nordstrom’s, Royal Caribbean, and Target

They’ll also accommodate bumped guests with a hotel if you’re stuck in another city overnight.

©Delta via CNBC

If you’re flying with United, you’ll get either United travel vouchers or United MileagePlus miles as compensation for giving up your seat. The airline has tested iPads and gift cards as options in the past but has found that most people prefer travel vouchers and miles.

Like American Airlines, the results may vary depending on the guest — so your compensation may not be the same as a fellow passenger. However, United will still follow the same overnight hotel policy as the other airlines.

©Getty Images

So basically, the amount that you’re compensated will vary depending on the airline, the flight, and the need for passengers to volunteer. Whether it’s “worth it” to be bumped is up to you and your individual needs, but don’t be afraid to ask for upgrades if you do decide to volunteer. It’s possible that you could get rescheduled for a better seat, a flight with fewer stops, or get additional compensation in the form of meal vouchers.

Flying can be a tricky game these days with new airline policies and constant travel changes, so make sure to stay tuned to DFB if you’re heading to the airport soon. We’re keeping an eye on the latest travel news so we can update you with the latest facts!

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Have you ever been bumped from a flight? Tell us in the comments!

The post Yes, Airlines Will Pay You to Get Bumped From Your Flight. But Is It Worth It? first appeared on the disney food blog.


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