When you travel by air, there is always the risk of getting “bumped” from your original flight. This happens because airlines overbook the reservations beyond the seat capacity of the aircraft. While the 15 percent average no-show rate is a common statistic across the aviation industry, airlines cannot predict the exact attendance for every flight. In the occasion where all of the passengers show up for their scheduled arrangements, there will not be enough seats to accommodate everyone. As such, some people must voluntarily or involuntarily remain at the airport and depart through another flight.
If the overbooking situation arises, airlines are required by law to ask for volunteers to drop out from the flight. This is nearly impossible to achieve during the busy holiday season, where many people have pre-made family and vacation plans. Under these difficult circumstances, some passengers are involuntarily and regrettably bumped from their scheduled flight. They will receive mandatory compensation, as necessitated by the Federal Aviation Administration policies. The amount varies based on the reason and length of the delay.
Travelers who do not have immediate plans may opt out of their original flight. This is known as voluntary bumping. Unlike the alternative, there are no fixed regulations or guidelines specified for the compensatory plans. In fact, they are often negotiable based on the communication between the passenger and the gate agent. Somebody with effective bartering skills could potentially secure a great valued compensation deal. However, airlines are not obligated to compensate any delays or bumping for commuter airlines and charter flights. If the airline helps the passenger reach the same destination through another flight within the hour, compensation is also less likely to occur.
Voluntary bumping is an interesting and unpredictable method of gaining free airline benefits. The compensation varies based on the different airlines. Usually, the amount is determined by the original ticket value and the length of flight. For example, an international flight will lead to higher returns than a domestic flight in terms of compensation. Sometimes, bumped passengers could receive free tickets, but they may come with restrictions to choice of destination and seat priority. At other times, the compensation is simply a monetary voucher, cheap airfare, or travel deal towards a future flight.
Getting bumped from a flight is mostly arbitrary, but there are ways to increase the probability of encountering such situations. Small-bodied aircrafts, especially during a busy time of year, are notorious for overbooking. Likewise, flights that have fewer than eight remaining seats run a similar risk. Expert travelers will consult with an online ticket agency to check the details of their reservations. They buy airline tickets based on their traveling requirements and needs.
Since the compensatory process is so flexible, bumped passengers are advised to sign a written contact with the airline officials, thus confirming the specific details of their awards. They should also build connections with other people in a similar predicament, so that everybody gets the travel deal they deserve. Another factor to consider is the luggage. Travelers should always determine the current whereabouts of their luggage, in order to avoid the confusion of putting their belongings on another flight.
After the bumping, travelers will have to remain at the airport until they can secure another departure. Airlines will provide hotel accommodations for overnight stays. In some cases, they will open up the exclusive club lounge to the bumped passengers, so they can enjoy free food and recreational facilities during their prolonged wait. Getting bumped may not be such a bad experience after all. While these flight plans are unexpected in nature, a seasoned traveler can expect many luxurious benefits in return.