Overbooked Airlines

bballrob

Genius
Gold
Oct 11, 2009
1,921
476
83
Alaska
#1
I'm curious if people here ever try to play the bump game when flights are overbooked.

Years ago, they offered you another RT ticket to give up your seats. Now most airlines offer a certain dollar amount towards a future flight.

I'm on my way to Ohio today. When I checked in online late Monday night for my Tuesday night flight, I was surprised that they were already looking for volunteers. Delta allows you to "bid" what you will accept. Being the greedy bastard that I am, I bid the maximum of $800.

When I got to the airport Tuesday night and went to the gate, the gate agent told me that they would likely need 2 seats, but that I was "quite a way down the list" and they usually take lower bids, but that he would notify his partner agent that I was checked in and willing when she arrived. I took a seat and began to wait.

About 20 minutes later, I saw another agent working the counter and I went and talked to her. She asked how flexible I was, and I told her VERY. She wrote down my name and final destination, as well as an alternate destination I told her would work fine too.

Another 20 minutes passed and just as they were starting to board, I was called up to the ticket counter. They told me they would likely need my seat, so to hold off boarding until the end. They boarded the plane, and it got down to where there were 3 of us left. One was a confirmed passenger, and then there was me and one other volunteer. Finally said it looked like they had seats for all of us and asked us to board. I was in row 23, which the way delta configured their planes, is 4 rows back from the boarding door. The other volunteer was in row 38 and the lady with a confirmed seat was in row 39. Just as I was settling in and all buckled in, the other non-volunteer late boarder came back up saying there was someone in her assigned seat. Flight crew went back and did some checking. All seats full. Then the gate agent appeared on the plane. Walked straight to my row, and asked if I was still willing to volunteer. I said sure, and off we went. They put the old lady in my seat and closed the door behind us.

Walked up the jetway to the gate, and about 20 minutes later, I was off to a different plane with a $900 voucher to use within 1 year. They booked me on a different plane leaving 3 hours later, with one additional stop added to my itinerary and final destination arrival 4 hours later than originally scheduled.

Not bad for a nights flight and only a 4 hour delay.
 

Europa

Moderator
Senior Moderator
Dec 12, 2008
28,365
5,506
113
Utah
#2
I'm curious if people here ever try to play the bump game when flights are overbooked.

Years ago, they offered you another RT ticket to give up your seats. Now most airlines offer a certain dollar amount towards a future flight.

I'm on my way to Ohio today. When I checked in online late Monday night for my Tuesday night flight, I was surprised that they were already looking for volunteers. Delta allows you to "bid" what you will accept. Being the greedy bastard that I am, I bid the maximum of $800.

When I got to the airport Tuesday night and went to the gate, the gate agent told me that they would likely need 2 seats, but that I was "quite a way down the list" and they usually take lower bids, but that he would notify his partner agent that I was checked in and willing when she arrived. I took a seat and began to wait.

About 20 minutes later, I saw another agent working the counter and I went and talked to her. She asked how flexible I was, and I told her VERY. She wrote down my name and final destination, as well as an alternate destination I told her would work fine too.

Another 20 minutes passed and just as they were starting to board, I was called up to the ticket counter. They told me they would likely need my seat, so to hold off boarding until the end. They boarded the plane, and it got down to where there were 3 of us left. One was a confirmed passenger, and then there was me and one other volunteer. Finally said it looked like they had seats for all of us and asked us to board. I was in row 23, which the way delta configured their planes, is 4 rows back from the boarding door. The other volunteer was in row 38 and the lady with a confirmed seat was in row 39. Just as I was settling in and all buckled in, the other non-volunteer late boarder came back up saying there was someone in her assigned seat. Flight crew went back and did some checking. All seats full. Then the gate agent appeared on the plane. Walked straight to my row, and asked if I was still willing to volunteer. I said sure, and off we went. They put the old lady in my seat and closed the door behind us.

Walked up the jetway to the gate, and about 20 minutes later, I was off to a different plane with a $900 voucher to use within 1 year. They booked me on a different plane leaving 3 hours later, with one additional stop added to my itinerary and final destination arrival 4 hours later than originally scheduled.

Not bad for a nights flight and only a 4 hour delay.
That's cool. Easy money.

Most of my recent flights were overbooked and they were looking for volunteers. I haven't ever tried it. They'll probably put you up in a nice hotel if the flight isn't until the next day.

My Delta flight from Seattle to SLC last month was delayed by an hour and half due to the plane being overfilled with fuel (it was originally intended for the east coast). They had to remove fuel so we wouldn't land too heavy. They explained to us on the plane that a lot of us were going to miss our connecting flights and they would arrange free hotel rooms. A couple of the planes in SLC were held for people, but mine wasn't one of them. The resolution was super organized. They had everyone who missed their flights get in a line for their vouchers/new itinerary. They had us booked for a nice hotel and a new flight in the morning before we even landed and they had free shuttles to take you there and get you back.
 
#3
I find this fascinating, really. I absolutely HATE to miss a flight and the thought of purposefully missing one makes my skin crawl. ;)
Typically when I get to the airport, I'm in the "For God's sake, just get me there already!" frame of mind.

After United totally hosed both directions of my vacation flights, I'm a bit more sensitive.

Or as some would put it, a lot bitchier in my old age! ;)
 

bballrob

Genius
Gold
Oct 11, 2009
1,921
476
83
Alaska
#4
And, I managed to do it AGAIN on my way home. This time, I got to MSP with my mother. When we checked in at the airport, the kiosk told us they were looking for volunteers.

When we got to the gate, the offer was for $500 American Express gift cards, plus a hotel and meals since it would require a 24 hour delay. I briefly consulted with my mother, and we decided to take it. That's pretty much CASH MONEY. And that was PER SEAT, so we got $1,000 total.

This also allowed us to go check out the mall of America for the first time. I have to say that while it was large, for some reason after all the hype I've heard over the years, I expected more.

But now I'm home. And exhausted. Back to work tomorrow.