Author Topic: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!  (Read 7722 times)

hybrid

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This isn't so much badassity as just good luck coming from opportunity. But I am posting in the hopes that some other reader takes advantage of this in the future. On the way home from a work conference in Nashville the airline I was flying discovered it was overbooked. While my seat was assured, they offered $300 in air fare, good for one year, if someone were willing to change their flight plans. I had never done this before but I had nothing but time to kill so I thought what the hell, I'll check it out. I explained to the ticket agent that I was going home to Richmond, and the ticket agent found me another flight that was due to land in Richmond a half hour later if I routed through a different city (there are no direct flights between these two cities).

Um, yeah, sure, a half hour of time is worth a free flight to me, sign me up! The ticket agent said I would need to wait and make sure there weren't any no-shows that would free up a seat, so I stood by and figuratively crossed my fingers that the flight would be full. Shwing, full flight, and I have been assigned to another plane!

When the ticket agent gave me my new tickets he mentioned I was in luck, I would be flying in the front of the plane. Since my original seats were in the back of the plane I thought he meant I'd be closer to the front. OK, nice, I'm not all that excited about that part. Then I get the tickets and discover that "front of the plane" was just another way of saying I had been bumped to first class. And man-oh-man, as someone who has never flown first class, that was some kind of nice. A few complimentary beverages, a nice meal, a big seat, and a warm cookie baked fresh on the plane later and I arrive in Richmond happy as a clam with a $300 voucher in my pocket for the, ahem, effort.

Sadly, my baggage didn't follow me, it stayed on the original plane. Which was ultimately delayed and landed 10 minutes after I touched in Richmond....

If you get the chance to do this, don't assume you will be losing hours or even your entire flight if you switch, you may very well have options like I did.

Argyle

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2014, 11:04:04 AM »
I have made hundreds of dollars doing this.  But shhh!  These days there's a fight to get to the desk to volunteer.  I've lost out many times recently.  So don't spread the trick around too much.

hybrid

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2014, 11:29:22 AM »
I have made hundreds of dollars doing this.  But shhh!  These days there's a fight to get to the desk to volunteer.  I've lost out many times recently.  So don't spread the trick around too much.

I was quite lucky that they asked a good hour before the flight, and since I was unfamiliar with Nashville I had arrived at the airport entirely too early and was just killing time on the iPad. Most folks hadn't shown up yet.

ingrownstudentloans

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2014, 12:22:16 PM »
In college I was traveling solo from an academic competition to meet up with my spring break habitat trip from AZ to NC.  Because I was not in any real rush to get to NC, I took southwest up on this offer for an early am flight, then again on the next flight.  I was redirected through midway where they offered it again, and I took them up on it.  I ended up losing a day and having to sleep on midway's floor, but i was given close to $1,600 in southwest airfare for it.  I used the airfare for a post-graduation trip to a friend's condo in florida ("selling" the extra to my friends who were going on the trip too, at a significant discount **don't tell southwest, I recall there being restrictions about selling the vouchers).  I try to "get bumped" whenever I can, but have found a similar rush to the counter recently.

geekette

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2014, 12:54:03 PM »
Volunteering to be bumped isn't new, but it's great if you have time.  Way back, they used to actually put you up in a hotel for an overnight bump.  The most recent time they offered a hotel at the airline rate.  I'm frugal, but I'm not sleeping on the floor...

My (79 year old) mom got bumped on our way back from Denver last month.  After 10 nights in 10 different hotels, and 3500 miles (I was driving, of course), SW was oversold by one seat.  She volunteered and stayed.  She used that voucher to fly to see her sisters.  Now I have to go pick her up tonight.  Unless she gets bumped again, of course.  She'll be first at the counter if they call!


pdxbator

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2014, 02:09:20 PM »
I did this once in DC. I was at Dulles I think flying home to Portland with a connection in Denver. Flight was oversold and I wasn't in a rush. So I got a free ticket. They said there was a direct flight leaving out of Reagan. So at their dime they gave me a taxi voucher to go by cab to the other DC airport. I got there in plenty of time. They also gave me a food voucher. Then I check in and I'm bumped to first class for the flight. The flight wound up getting me to Portland 30 mins before the original. Nice ride in first class!

Gin1984

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2014, 02:16:16 PM »
Volunteering to be bumped isn't new, but it's great if you have time.  Way back, they used to actually put you up in a hotel for an overnight bump.  The most recent time they offered a hotel at the airline rate.  I'm frugal, but I'm not sleeping on the floor...

My (79 year old) mom got bumped on our way back from Denver last month.  After 10 nights in 10 different hotels, and 3500 miles (I was driving, of course), SW was oversold by one seat.  She volunteered and stayed.  She used that voucher to fly to see her sisters.  Now I have to go pick her up tonight.  Unless she gets bumped again, of course.  She'll be first at the counter if they call!
Southwest still puts people up if you stay over night.

geekette

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2014, 04:29:29 PM »
Volunteering to be bumped isn't new, but it's great if you have time.  Way back, they used to actually put you up in a hotel for an overnight bump.  The most recent time they offered a hotel at the airline rate.  I'm frugal, but I'm not sleeping on the floor...

My (79 year old) mom got bumped on our way back from Denver last month.  After 10 nights in 10 different hotels, and 3500 miles (I was driving, of course), SW was oversold by one seat.  She volunteered and stayed.  She used that voucher to fly to see her sisters.  Now I have to go pick her up tonight.  Unless she gets bumped again, of course.  She'll be first at the counter if they call!
Southwest still puts people up if you stay over night.

This was a Southwest flight, and she had to pay for the hotel.  Perhaps it just differs.

Argyle

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2014, 04:30:56 PM »
United also puts people up if they stay overnight.  Also, if you wait till the last minute (assuming no one else is vying for the compensation) you can bargain them upward.

rujancified

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2014, 02:07:32 PM »
I'm usually out of luck on this b/c I always have head phones in and miss the announcement :)

I feel like it's a good deal on paper, but it always happens at the most inopportune times! I've had offers when it's the last flight out that day and I'd have to wait until mid- morning.  Won't be a problem if I retire soon, right?

Dezrah

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2014, 02:35:21 PM »
There is a way to get a cash check from the airlines if you're bumped from a flight.  All the following criteria must be met:

1) you are bumped from a flight because of overbooking (not weather or mechanical)
2) you did not volunteer to give up your seat in exchange for a voucher
3) the airline cannot reroute you to your final destination within 2 hours of your original schedule arrival time

If all these conditions are met, you are entitled by FAA regulations to a cash check equal to double the cost of your one-way ticket up to $1,300.

This happened to me on a business flight where I followed company policy to not volunteer to be bumped.  I received two checks totaling the full $1,300.  Unfortunately the money really belonged to the company since they're the ones who paid for my extravagantly expensive flight in the first place.  I actually had to turn around and write them a check after these cleared my account.  That's what I get for trying to be honest I guess.

The agent said in the decade-plus she'd worked there, she'd never a flight so overbooked that they had involuntary bumps, but it can happen.

Elderwood17

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2014, 06:34:40 PM »
I have done that a couple of times, with the best deal being a $500 voucher for an hour and a half delay in coming home from a business trip.  My wife and I parlayed that into a very nice trip!

RetiredAt63

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2014, 04:55:19 PM »
I flew Montreal/San Francisco/Palm Springs last February.  Flight was overbooked, we ended up leaving 1.5 hours late.  We pulled in to San Francisco as my plane for Palm Springs was leaving.  I ended up staying overnight (Air Canada's expense) and on the last flight to Palm Springs the next day (I was on standby).  Next time I am going direct, Toronto to Palm Springs on WestJet. One good thing - I had my knitting, I wasn't just sitting wasting time.  It was an odd feeling though, I was the only person knitting out of how many thousands?

 But if this ever happens again, I am going to volunteer.  It can't be any worse than what I went through.  If my connection is delayed, I can play tourist, instead of hanging around the airport hoping for the next flight. And I can hope to upgrade to First Class - that happened once, and it was wonderful - my DH's golf buddy knew the co-pilot, I got invited to the cockpit for the whole landing sequence (before 9/11 obviously).


Bob W

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2014, 09:39:32 AM »
Nice way to parlay your luck my friend.   May the sun shine on you and the wind always be at your back. 

going2ER

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2014, 11:30:30 AM »
As a parent with an ill child, thank you to all of you who agree to be bumped. Our childrens hospital is a 5 hour drive away and sometimes we need to get there right away and end up bumping people. So unfortunately I am usually one of the bumpers and not getting the benefits of being a bumpee.

Jack

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2014, 05:18:54 AM »
This happened to me on a business flight where I followed company policy to not volunteer to be bumped.  I received two checks totaling the full $1,300.  Unfortunately the money really belonged to the company since they're the ones who paid for my extravagantly expensive flight in the first place.  I actually had to turn around and write them a check after these cleared my account.  That's what I get for trying to be honest I guess.

That's unreasonable. It was you who got inconvenienced by being bumped, not the company (unless maybe you missed work because of it), so you should have kept the compensation for it.

kendallf

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2014, 06:43:56 AM »
This happened to me on a business flight where I followed company policy to not volunteer to be bumped.  I received two checks totaling the full $1,300.  Unfortunately the money really belonged to the company since they're the ones who paid for my extravagantly expensive flight in the first place.  I actually had to turn around and write them a check after these cleared my account.  That's what I get for trying to be honest I guess.

That's unreasonable. It was you who got inconvenienced by being bumped, not the company (unless maybe you missed work because of it), so you should have kept the compensation for it.

+1 to this.  I volunteer to give my seat up frequently on work trips, and have gotten quite a few vouchers for free tickets, discounts, etc.  I keep 'em, it's my business and my inconvenience.  I won't claim per diem if it results in a night's delay, but I'll use free flights and hotel and meal vouchers.

dodojojo

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2014, 12:42:38 AM »
I've actually experienced the wrong side of volunteering.  Just plain dumb luck.

I agreed to be bumped in exchange for first class upgrade.  I was returning home from a wedding and thought a few hours difference wouldn't be a big deal.  I board the flight, sit down in first class feeling pretty good...and dare I say it...smug when we got word the flight was cancelled.   Something wrong with the plane.  I ended up flying in coach to Dallas on another flight.  If I wanted the first class upgrade I had to stay overnight and I wanted to get home for work on Monday.  And then the weather got bad and my connecting flight was cancelled.  Weather issues?  Act of god.  So I'm SOL and the airline doesn't owe me a thing.  I end up sleeping on the airport floor, scrambled for a flight the next day and was able to get back to DC...in coach...in the middle seat.  Also had to use a vacation day due to missing work because of the delay.  United told me tough shit when I asked to be compensated.  Yes, they weren't responsible for the weather, but hey, it all started with me volunteering to be bumped. 

Promised to never pay for another United flight again.  I did fly them to use up my miles and once when work paid for the ticket.  But otherwise haven't spent any money on United in years.

domustachesgrowinhouston

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2014, 12:51:50 AM »
There is a way to get a cash check from the airlines if you're bumped from a flight.  All the following criteria must be met:

1) you are bumped from a flight because of overbooking (not weather or mechanical)
2) you did not volunteer to give up your seat in exchange for a voucher
3) the airline cannot reroute you to your final destination within 2 hours of your original schedule arrival time

If all these conditions are met, you are entitled by FAA regulations to a cash check equal to double the cost of your one-way ticket up to $1,300.

As it happens, im in a denver hotel now, having missed my connection due to mechanical issues. I was wondering how come they offer flights for voluntary delays but not involuntary ones. I guess that would explain it, since its not for the delay but for overbooking. No complaints mind you, ill take an unscheduled hotel stay over being strewn across the rockies any day, was just pondering due to the events i suppose.

arebelspy

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2014, 01:26:32 PM »
I LOVE volunteering to be bumped.  Sadly, hasn't happened in a few years.
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sheepgetlambs

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Re: When the airline offers you a chance to switch flights, take it!
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2014, 10:34:02 AM »
DH was flying home from a business trip the night of the Packer-Viking game in Green Bay. DH was supposed to fly through Detroit but a late flight earlier in the day caused the airline to reroute him through Minneapolis. Thinking about getting home, he failed to remember the football game and agreed to the reroute. When he got to Minneapolis, NO ONE wanted to volunteer to get off the oversold flight. Everyone wanted to get to the game! DH volunteered (missing a school event for the kids, but I was there and there will be another one just like it in a few months) and waited 7 hours for the next flight. We spent much of that time on the phone, watching the game "together."
The best part? He was offered $800(!) to get bumped. But, when no one else volunteered and the flight was still oversold, they upped to $1000(!!!). DH was retroactively awarded that amount, too! With one other voucher he's got, we now only need a couple hundred dollars to fly all of us to see his uncle in Atlanta sometime this winter. Woohoo! Unheard of amounts, but if you know anything about the football culture surrounding the Packers, it's not hard to believe.