I have been processing that disturbing video of the United Airlines passenger getting dragged off the plane, and like most, can’t believe the way that situation was handled. Yes, it is within the airline’s legal rights to remove passengers, but c’mon , there could have been more humane ways to deal with the situation…especially because they were kicking that passenger off to make room for their own employees!
Everyone has a price they will take to voluntarily get bumped – why not just offer two round trip tickets anywhere in the US – or world – next time? Sign me up! It is now costing the airline much, much more.
That being said.. Overbooking, while rearing it’s ugly head in this isolated incident, actually makes airfares lower by enhancing the airlines’ revenues ensuring flights are booked. In 2016, airlines posted an involuntary bumping rate of 62 per 1 million fliers, according to the Bureau of Transportation.
So as we head into summer – one of the busiest travel seasons -what can you as a consumer do to protect yourself from being bumped?
According to the Department of Transportation , “it is the airline’s responsibility to determine its own fair boarding priorities,” but for the most part, these tips reflect those priorities:
- Check in to your flight as early as possible – print that boarding pass 24 hours in advance.. or if not possible because you are camping in the wilderness, LOL, download to your mobile as soon as you can!!! The last to arrive, the first in line to get bumped.
- If you are loyal to one airline and have elite status, you are lower on the list to get bumped.
- Same goes with the kind of seat you buy – the cheaper the seat, the more likely you are easily bumped.
- If you are bumped voluntarily or non-voluntarily on a domestic flight – know this: You are entitled to 200% of the one-way fare in compensation (but no more than $675) in cash if their delay is between one and two hours, according to a federal regulation. If the delay is more than two hours, customers are entitled to 400% of a one-way fare (but no more than $1,350) in cash. Be firm, and negotiate what you want. Check the contract of carriage on your airline.
- Consider the airlines – according to Crankyflier.com, JetBlue doesn’t oversell flights.
While involuntary bumping could happen to any of us, consider these tips and it can be less likely. Safe travels everyone!