Delta is the only one of the largest U.S. airlines that still offers extremely generous compensation to avoid kicking someone off of a flight when they overbook.
Here’s an agent literally begging passengers to take $1,300 (not travel vouchers!) to give up their seat and take a later flight, because more people showed up than they had seats.
One family was offered $24,000 to take a later flight. In that case the flight cancelled so they didn’t technically need the family to volunteer, and the airline reneged on the offer.
But as long as the flight pushes back, volunteering to give up your seat with Delta can be very lucrative. This was a practice that began after David Dao was dragged off of a United Express flight and beaten in 2017. Airlines went to great lengths to avoid involuntarily ‘bumping’ passengers. United and American have scaled back what they’ll pay, however.
So Delta ramped up the bidding before a flight, and one passenger who took $2,000 is now in a huge fight with his girlfriend over it.
The flight looked like it was going to get canceled anyway. It did. So now I have $2,000 and a hotel stay but my fiancée is mad at me because I chose the money over coming home. But it looked like the flight was going to be canceled. Not to mention I called once and texted once to ask her opinion and she didn’t answer either so I had to make the decision by myself. She claims because shes been in a semi depressed state the last few days it is crazy of me to ever make that decision.
- The flight actually cancelled so he wasn’t going to see his girlfriend either way. This way he’s $2,000 richer.
- If the flight had cancelled prior to pushing back, he’d have gotten nothing. I suspect, then, that the issue was weather rather than a mechanical.
- His girlfriend, though, feels like he made a decision that wasn’t prioritizing her and she feels like she was in a place where he should have done so.
It seems to me that there’s a Coasian bargain to be struck here, and the passenger wasn’t communicating very well. “I probably won’t make it to you anyway because of all this bad weather, but I struck a deal with the airline that’s going to let me buy you $500 earings – you deserve it because of what you’ve been going through!”
My take is that he maybe should run away from this relationship? I don’t claim to have very much data to work off of, but there do seem to be warning signs.
Here’s another test of a relationship using denied boarding compensation: you’re about to head home and leave them, you’re offered denied boarding compensation to take a flight the next day instead, how excited are they about this and is it the money they figure you’ll spend on them or the prospect or extending your visit?
If they want you to spend more time with them and forego the compensation, does that mean the relationship is strong and you should stick with it – or does it mean that priorities are misaligned?
(HT: Paul H)