Getting bumped from an airline is no fun. However, there’s one way you can make the inconvenience work in your favor.
Let me start by saying that I don’t fly anything but JetBlue, if I can help it. I also don’t fly a certain airline unless I have no other possible, reasonable option.
Avoid Getting Bumped
I’m a proud JetBlue TrueBlue Mosaic member, but even as a no-status passenger on JetBlue, you would still be delighted with their service. Despite having moderate status on one particular airline, I still avoid them whenever possible.
One of things I appreciate about JetBlue is that they don’t oversell flights. That means you and your carryon luggage have the best chances of making it aboard, as desired and expected.
Your travel time is valuable, whether you’re traveling for work or pleasure. The more time you spend at the airport, the less productive you are. Of course, you can make use of that time to do some work, but delays can have undesirable side effects.
Some airlines routinely oversell their flights. Somebody is going to get bumped, and it could well be you. Then the gate agents start offering to gate-check or check-in your carryon.
The agents may also start warning that they are overbooked and offering you teasers to get you off the flight:
- Vouchers for meals or future flights
- Discounted travel
- Maybe even several hundred dollars worth of cash
A Better Deal
Don’t raise your hand for that $200-$400 yet! You could be leaving money on the table. They only throw a bone your way, if you volunteer. When the airline decides who gets bumped off, all of a sudden there are real dollars at play.
Factors going into that are:
- The cost of your ticket
- How long till your rescheduled flights
- Federally-mandated compensation
All that could take you from a few hundred dollars of compensation, up to the maximum $1300. JetBlue does not overbook flights, but if you find yourself in a situation that they bump you, they add another $50 to that $1300.
Now Travel Happy!
Regardless of what happens, maintain your composure, and be nice to the agents. They can’t control the situation any more than you can. Because they do have the power of sweetening the deal sometimes, don’t let a sour attitude ruin your chances.
Now there are some people who play this bumping game on purpose. If your travel plans are very flexible, and you want to aggressively round up some points and perks, this can be a less expensive way of racking them up.
On the other hand, if this situation represents a real inconvenience for you, now you know don’t leave money on the table.