Would You Take A Later Flight For $10K? Some Airlines Hope So

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Airlines overselling flights and bumping passengers is common, especially during peak periods such as the summer season. And while it is relatively common for airlines to offer some money in the form of airline vouchers for volunteers to bump onto the next flight, it’s pretty rare for airlines to offer $10,000. But that’s precisely what Delta Air Lines did.

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$80,000 for the inconvenience

Passengers flying on Delta flight 3550 operated by SkyWest from Michigan to Minneapolis were patiently waiting at the gate when the crew and a customer service agent announced that the flight was oversold. They bid an opening of $5,000 cash for eight volunteers to give up their seats and hop onto a later flight. Unfortunately, there weren’t any takers, and Delta increased its bid to $7,500 once boarding began.

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SIMPLEFLYING VIDEO OF THE DAY

By the time most passengers boarded, the airline had upped the bid to a whopping $10,000 each for eight volunteers, letting the offer ring through the almost filled cabin through the passenger-announcement system. That’s a hefty $80,000 for inconveniences caused to a handful of passengers. One of the flight attendants had even announced:

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“If you have Apple Pay, you’ll even have the money right now.”

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While some passengers immediately volunteered at the initial ring of $10,000, it took a second announcement of the attractive reward and about 20 minutes of waiting before all eight volunteers were found and cleared out for the Embraer 175 aircraft to take off. Undoubtedly, it was an excellent payday for those eight volunteers despite the need to get off the flight and wait several hours for the next.

The high reward was offered in hopes that eight volunteers would take one of three later flights that day. Photo: Getty Images

Accountability within Delta

“Bumptunities,” as it’s called, have never been this attractive. The usuals will range from $100 to $250 in airline vouchers or even $500 if passengers are fortunate enough. Though $10,000 per volunteer seems a bit much for a one-hour domestic flight, this isn’t the first time Delta has offered denominations in the thousands.

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Last year, Delta offered a gift card worth $4,500 for 30 volunteers to give up their seats and wait till the next day for a flight out to Iceland. For that particular flight, Delta had forked out more than $180,000 in gift cards and hotel bills for the 30 bumped passengers and even upgraded the aircraft to a Boeing 767 the next day to transport these passengers to Reykjavik.


In light of the voluntary denied boarding incident regarding United Airlines and its passengers, Delta changed its payout policy in 2017, increasing the maximum payout to passengers for voluntary denied boardings from $1,350 to $9,950. Still, even the maximum has been broken with this latest payout offerings. The airline neither confirmed nor denied the amount of money offered on the recent flight but said:

“The ability to provide compensation on full flights empowers our employees’ efforts to care for customers and get aircraft out on time.”

Delta sets the standard for accountability in compensating its affected passengers well after causing inconvenience. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Bottom line

Regarding accountability, Delta has generally been at the forefront for its passengers when it comes to resolving complaints based on flight cancellations and delays. And with a chaotic summer ahead, flight schedules have been somewhat disruptive for several US carriers, Delta included. This could mean several instances of oversold flights happening more often, and it would be interesting to see how much airlines are willing to offer for voluntary denied boarding during these disorganized times.


Source: USA Today



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