Cheap Airline Seat – Your way of Getting Bumped!

Airline seats are not guaranteed until you are already in the air, and there are valid reasons why airline sometimes bump you out of your reserved seat. These reasons sometimes are: bad weather, airplane mechanical problems, or lack of foresight by the airline – assuming the 15% no-show rate of the aviation industry, and sometimes all the passengers shows up.

Picture this scenario: The gate area gets crowded and line of passengers are impatiently and nervously wait for their turn to talk to the agent at the check-in counter. Supervisor huddles with agents at the reservation computer, and you hear radio chatter about the impending event. Then, comes the first announcement, maybe good for some passengers – that’s when airline agents asks for volunteers to fly on a later flight. It’s the second announcement that could hurt, when the agent call your name to approach the check-in counter to tell you that you are “denied boarding”.

Let us look into these further by differentiating the two types of “bumping”:
Voluntary is when you give up your seat for a compensation. This compensation could be in the form of vouchers or cash or both. It depends on your charm and bargaining ability to make a deal with the airline. This deal is not regulated. Bear in mind that compensation for voluntary bumping varies greatly among airlines. Airlines sometimes based the compensation on the length of the flight. International flights have higher compensation than domestic flights.

Involuntary is when you don’t have any choice. The airline forced you to give up your seat. However, those who are bumped involuntarily are protected by Federal Aviation Administration Guidelines. This guideline stipulates the

minimum amount of compensation and protection a passenger gets, in case he/she is bumped. There are several situations where airlines are not required to compensate you at all, even if you are invo luntarily bumped. However, in many situations, if you did everything right, the Federal Aviation Authority does require that the airline provide some compensation to passengers who were involuntarily denied boarding.

If you want to be bumped, here are some tips for bumping to a cheap airline seat or cheap travel:

  1. If you give up your seat voluntarily, and the bump reward later goes up, make sure that you get the higher reward.
  2. If the airline promises you anything (travel credit, upgrade, hotel room or dinner), make sure the airline representative write down the offer and sign it with his/her employee number. If you don’t have proof of the promise, you could miss out the reward.
  3. When the agent rebooks your flight, ask for an upgrade. Many times, there will be no problem granting the request. If the airline cannot provide you an upgrade at the time of flight, get some kind of travel credit or compensation for it.
  4. If your flight schedule requires a night stay, the airline will likely provide you a hotel voucher good at some certain airport hotels. Make sure you get a hotel with free transport shuttle or get a taxi voucher.
  5. If the airline books you on a flight with more than 2 hours wait at the airport, ask permission to use their VIP lounge. Here, you will find amenities such as free drinks, snacks, television, and internet stations.
  6. If your re-booked flight is also oversold, and you have all the time, go ahead and give up your seat again.

Here are some tips to avoid getting “denied boarding”:

  • Airline Popularity – Avoid an airline that oversells and bumping many of its passengers.
  • Weather Condition – check weather conditions that are common along your route that might cause your flight to be cancelled.
  • Holiday Rush – Avoid peak travel times if your time permits. Most chances of getting bumped are during major holidays, spring break, and the beginning and end of summer.
  • Early Riser? – Booking your flight the earliest possible time of the day, that way it gives you more options if you get bumped. You have more time remaining throughout the day to complete your trip. Also, avoid booking for the last flight of the day.
  • Be attentive to announcement – Board when your row is called. If you delay, the agent might think that your seat is open and let a standby passenger board and take your seat.
  • Flying often? – Join the airline’s elite frequent flyer club.

Happy Jet Setting!!!