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Tips for getting bumped on overbooked flights?

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by user3657, Aug 17, 2012.

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  1. user3657

    user3657 High-Roller

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    I been traveling quite a bit lately. For the first time, I heard them ask for volunteers to get bumped. In my head im thinking, FINALLY!! as I jump up for joy and make a like a mad man to the desk. I had to wait 3 hours, and another 1hr and 45mins because that flight was delayed but in the end I only lost time. I did miss my train and I had to wait another 3 hours for the next train, but I think I just got hit with bad luck that day with the delays.

    I did happen to take an early flight this trip, 10:40am from vegas to den. Vegas flight was packed also, but den is where I got bumped.

    Does anyone have any tips on trying to get bumped more? I guess when you fly during busy times you have a better chance? What times are the busiest to fly?

    This trip I went thurs-thurs all early fights and each flight was packed. Normally I take the latest flights and normally half the plane is empty. But then again I normally fly midweek so I dont know if flying on a thursday(closer to weekend) has that much effect on passengers.
     
  2. AbFab

    AbFab Low-Roller

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    What did they offer you in exchange to give up your seat?
     
  3. jerseyguy

    jerseyguy VIP Whale

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    I usually volunteer

    As soon as the agent arrives at the counter ,I scurry up there and ask if they need volunteers. Also,I try to get seats near the counter to be able to beat other people up there if they suddenly decide to make an announcement for vols. We normally get about $400 each and sometimes upgraded to 1st. class on domestic flights.We usually fly 2-3 times a year at most.
     
  4. Chuck2009x

    Chuck2009x VIP Whale

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    Well, one thing you can do is go to the desk and volunteer as soon as you get to the gate area.
     
  5. da1chifan

    da1chifan High-Roller

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    I don't have any tips per se because you never know when a flight is going to be oversold or not. You also never know when one flight might get canceled and get dumped onto your flight.

    However, I can tell you that generally speaking, mid day flights are busiest. People don't like to fly super early in the AM or very late at night.

    You could also choose the last flight of the day (which won't always be very late at night). There is usually a domino effect throughout the day of cancellations, delays, etc that will require putting others on the flight immediately, therefore needing volunteers to step aside.

    It is truly a crap shoot though. Many of the airlines have it down to nearly a science of historically knowing exactly how many seats can be oversold without having to bump people.
     
  6. S'AllGoodMan

    S'AllGoodMan High-Roller

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    As already stated, just let the gate agent know you are willing to be bumped and if they need people they will just call you to the counter. If not, they usually let you know when you offer if the flight is undersold and they won't need anyone.

    Beth
     
  7. xmarksx

    xmarksx VIP Whale

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    I travel frequently for business and have a couple of tips.

    1, If you are traveling a legacy carrier, like Delta/American then check seat capacity for the flight. If everything is booked then you have a better chance.
    2, Ask the check-in agent if it looks like the flight is oversold (note - the check in agent will not be able to put you on the list). If they say "yes" get yourself up to the gate asap.
    3, Having a checked bag will complicate your life if you plan on being bumped (they will not pull your luggage from your original flight) so gate check your bag if it is small enough.
    4, Arrive at the gate early and sit near the counter. Be the first in line when they arrive but be nice. Ask, "If it looks like you may be oversold, may I be placed on the list for volunteers to bump?" Chat them up a bit and tell them you are more than happy to help.
    5, Check for alternate routes for them to re-book you and let them know of your suggestions if you are bumped and re-booked.
    6, If you are lucky and get bumped, ask what the capacity looks like on the flight they are booking you on. You could have a chance to hit them up again for a second or third bump. I have only been bumped twice in a day but I have heard of others who did it three or more.
    7, Take what they are giviing (the cash or whatever) and do not be afraid to ask for more. "Any chance at a first class upgrade on my re-book? Any chance I could have a food voucher?"

    Factors that help you being bumped:
    1, Holiday travel and spring break periods. I HATE business travel during the holiday season, crying babies, people with no clue about TSA/security lines, grumpy people who think they can manipulate things by screaming and complaining louder. However, airlines oversell like crazy during this season and people do not want to miss getting to Uncle Larry's house for egg nog.
    2, Busy hubs. I am from central Illinois and avoid O'Hare like the plague BUT it is a prime location to pick up a bump in the winter. A little snow/delay throws everything off-whack.
    3, Winter weather and summer storms. NOTE - you get nothing if they cancel a filght due to weather but it does make for good bump opportunities when they begin flying again.
     
  8. user3657

    user3657 High-Roller

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    thanks mark and everyone, great tips.....

    but now im wondering how many times ive missed out on "full flights", that they didnt make an announcement because they all ready had a few volunteers?

    Has anyone been bumped before and they have never made an announcement?

    I usually just make my flights anyway, I have heard my name atleast two times as im getting through security. This was a layover with a 2hour wait, I guess they made the announcement an hour before. Guess ill have to plan on being early now :) :)
     
  9. travelfiend

    travelfiend High-Roller

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    Yes, I have been bumped without announcements. I use to fly about 100K miles a year, so they were ample opportunities to volunteer. My best was a flight from Detroit to Minneapolis, they needed like 7 seats and no one had volunteered. I got a free roundtrip ticket from Seattle to Jamaica out of that one. :D
     
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