Your likelihood of getting bumped off a flight — voluntarily or not — is largely dependent on which airline you’re flying, says MileCards.com in its new 2017 airline bump study.
MileCards.com says these seven airlines were the most likely to provide passengers compensation due to overfilled flights in the past year:
- Delta Air Lines: 10 out of every 10,000 passengers were bumped with compensation from oversold flights
- United Airlines: 7.2
- Southwest Airlines: 5.9
- Spirit Airlines: 5.4
- American Airlines: 4.1
- Virgin America: 3
- Alaska Air: 2.9
MileCards.com notes that some airlines are “significantly more likely” than others to look for volunteers who will give up their seats — in exchange for rewards.
According to a U.S. Department of Transportation report, airlines provided some form of compensation to an average of 6.6 passengers out of every 10,000 for bumping them off oversold flights in 2016.
According to MileCards.com:
Delta has one of the more active volunteer recruitment programs, which sometimes includes offering gift cards for things besides flights, and soliciting reverse auction bids during check-in.
The airline-bump study also revealed that involuntary bumps — in which confirmed passengers who want to travel are refused boarding — are 40 percent less likely today than in 2010.
The silver lining to an involuntary flight bump is that passengers’ compensation “can get big, fast, and it’s mandated by the federal government, up to $1,350 for a one-way trip,” explains MileCards.com
As a passenger, it’s important to know your rights, especially if you’re being involuntarily bumped. MilesCards.com warns:
Beware that the airline might try to offer you flight vouchers (for example $300 for a four-hour delay). If you accept those you lose your right to the cash compensation, so make sure you ask the agent specifically what your one-way fare is, and do the math yourself to make sure you’re getting a better deal.
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