Why You WANT to Get Bumped From Your Next Flight – How getting bumped from a flight can actually make you happier! No, really, it can!
Up until this week, many people didn’t even know that getting bumped from a flight is a very real thing. It’s a regular occurrence that airlines do in order to make sure that they make the most profits.
If you’ve ever been involuntarily bumped off of a plan, you know that it can make your blood boil. Especially when you knew that airlines regularly overbook their flights to make sure that every possible seat is taken. But here’s how it can actually be a good thing.
Actually, you WANT to get bumped from your next flight.
That sounds crazy, right? Why would I want to get bumped from a flight?! Believe it or not, it can actually make you a lot of money.
Yup, you read that right. You can basically ask for anything at all on top of a new flight: upgraded ticket, food voucher, hotel voucher, financial compensation… all of these are the regular handouts for people who get bumped from a flight!
You can actually volunteer to get bumped from the flight. If you have the time to wait, you can make a few hundred dollars (or more) for your time.
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Here’s what you need to know before volunteering as tribute (I mean… volunteering to be bumped from a plane):
- Check flight loads to see if your flight is near or at capacity. To do this, try booking a ticket (but don’t buy it!) on your particular flight. If they aren’t selling seats then they are full or oversold. You can also call the airline directly and ask the operator if the flight is oversold. Here’s a list of all the airline websites and their contact phone numbers.
- Make sure that you can wait for the next flight. The next flight could be in an hour, or it could be the next day. If you really want to get home on the same day but the next flight isn’t until tomorrow, you might want to pass. But it still never hurts to ask!
- If you’re waiting at the airport, ask for food vouchers. The airline will likely give it to you if you ask. If you have to wait at the airport because your flight is just in a few hours, ask for food vouchers while you wait. The worst thing that they can say is “no,” after all.
- If you have to wait overnight, make sure that they give you a hotel voucher for the night. You’re helping out the airline by giving up your seat. If you need to stay overnight and repeat the whole airport process, make sure to get your room comped.
- Ask for an upgrade for your flight. Again, the worst thing that can say is “no.” But wouldn’t it be nice to get a first class seat and money for waiting?
- Ask for a lounge pass. If you need to stay at the airport, you might as well enjoy your time there in the lounge.
- Make sure to get paid out in cash and not in another ticket. The tickets always have a lot of restrictions and blackout dates. It’s just easier to get paid out in cash. For domestic flights, the payout is usually $400, and for international flights, it’s $1,350. Not too bad, right?!
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Things to remember when you’re at the ticket counter:
- You are offering to help the airline. Remember that! You aren’t being rude, or mean, you are helping them so that they don’t need to remove someone who doesn’t want to leave the plane.
- Always, always, always be sweeter than you feel necessary. Who would you be more willing to help: someone who was abrupt and maybe angry, or someone who is genuinely sweet and pleasant? Remember this with every customer service interaction!
- You are under no obligation to ask to be bumped. You do not NEED to ask to be bumped from your flight if you don’t want to. This is purely a way to make some extra money.
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Here’s how to get bumped:
First, check in at the ticket desk and tell them that you would like to volunteer to get bumped. Then they will put your name on a list of volunteers.
2. Go to the gate.
Once you’re at the gate, wait for the agent to get there about an hour before take off. Once they get there, ask (nicely, remember!) if the flight got oversold and if they need people to volunteer to get bumped. Ask to be included on the list of volunteers.
3. Stay close.
Sometimes the agent gets there late. They don’t have the leisure time to wait and see if people can approach them about volunteering for a bump. This is why you will want to stay close to the gate. They will make an announcement looking for volunteers over the PA system at the gate. Make sure that you can be first in line if they make that announcement.
A lot of the time, they won’t know if they will actually need volunteers until more than halfway through boarding. They will hold your boarding pass with them as well as anyone else who is on the list of volunteers. They know what they’re doing, so don’t keep asking them if you get your money yet. You want the agent to like you. This will up your chances of getting the best stuff. (Note: there are no official stats on this, of course, but are you more likely to help nice people? Yup!).
5. Find out the details before you accept the bump.
These details include how much they are offering you in compensation from the bump (around $400 domestically and $1,350 for international flights). Then find out when the next available flight is, and if that will work for your timing. If they bump you overnight, they should provide you with everything that you need: food, a hotel, transportation, etc. on top of your compensation (they don’t always do that, but you should push for it).
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Some extra details to take into consideration before you volunteer to be bumped from your next flight:
- Get your payout from the airline in cash or gift cards to stores that you actually use (some airline have paid out in Amazon gift cards). Don’t accept a flight. Even if you travel a lot, these flights come with a lot of restrictions and blackout dates.
- It’s worth repeating: be a good person. Be sweet and kind. Nobody wants to help out a jerk (it’s just human nature). Be sweet and you’re more likely to get a lot more from your bump.
- Don’t check your luggage. If you check your luggage, that means that they need to go through the cargo hold to find your bag before you can get bumped. It’s a giant pain and will likely just include them skipping you over as a candidate for a bump.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask for upgrades, lounge passes and food vouchers no matter how long you need to wait for your next flight. The worst they can say is “no,” but usually they agree to help you out. But you never know if you don’t ask!
- This is a gamble. They very well might not need anyone to get bumped off of the flight, leaving you with the worst picks for seats since you will be boarding last or close to last.
All in all, if you have some extra time, you want to get bumped from your next flight. $400 to wait an extra hour or two at the airport is well worth it in my book! So the next time you’re at the airport and you see the people hovering near the agents at the gate, this is what they are doing. If you’re feeling adventurous, try it out for yourself!
Have you ever been bumped from a flight?