Local Travel Expert Offers Advice On Overbooked Flights After United Incident

Apr 21, 2017

United Airlines continues to make headlines following its forced removal of a passenger earlier this month on an overbooked flight.  The Chicago based airline is reviewing its policies on oversold flights and has said it will avoid calling law enforcement to remove passengers unless it’s a matter of security.  But are other airlines looking to capture momentum following what happened on United? And are there ways you can avoid being the target on an oversold flight? We have answers to those questions and others if you have to deal with an overbooked flight.

“According to the Department of Transportation, airlines have been overselling flights for years and it is not illegal.”

JoAnne Verboom with Gagnon Travel says the fallout from what she calls the United Airlines “fiasco” continues.  The airline is making changes, she says Congress is looking at whether new rules need to be implemented and more. But she also says at least one airline has just made a move in an effort to ensure they don’t have any problems of oversold flights.

“One of the great things that has happened since the United fiasco, one of the other airlines, Delta… has authorized its staff to offer up to $9950 for someone to take a bump.  That’s not to say everyone will received that to take a bump, but at least Delta has authorized their employees to do that.”

Verboom says statistically, per the Department of Transportation, airlines bump a lot of passengers.

“For the year, 2016 there were over 475-thousand passengers that were bumped from flights. That’s a lot of people, but it’s not uncommon.”

But, she says there are some tricks of the trade when it comes to getting voluntarily bumped. You should use your negotiating skills.

“It’s not just airline vouchers that you need to negotiate for.  Some airlines are offering gift cards, such as Delta, such as American Express gift cards, but you can also ask for a hotel stay if the flight they’re going to re book you on isn’t until the next day. But you need to negotiate these things.”

Verboom also advises going to the website travelsense.org for a wealth of information on your rights on oversold airlines.  She adds, to keep from getting bumped involuntarily, she says make sure you have an advance seat assignment and make sure you check in on time, if not, you could lose your rights with the airline.  They could give away your seat if the flight is oversold.

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