We wrote earlier this week about eight lucky Delta Air Lines passengers each receiving $10,000 in Visa gift cards as compensation to take later flights. Their original flight, an early Monday morning hop from Grand Rapids to Minneapolis, was apparently oversold. (We later learned their stays in Grand Rapids might have lasted until Wednesday.)
The story drew national attention on television, websites, and social media. And for good reason: $10,000 is a lot of money to award passengers for taking a voluntary “bump.”
As far as we know, it happened only once before. About four years ago, a woman scored $10,000 in United travel vouchers for being voluntarily denied boarding. (She also received a pair of $10 meal vouchers.)
Personally speaking, I’ve earned anywhere between $400 and $1300 for voluntarily staying behind and taking later flights. René and his wife, Lisa, each pocketed $3000 on an international trip during which they volunteered. (We put together this little guide on how we usually get bumped.)
Yeah, but maybe I’ll get $10,000! is surely what some people think. Those other people got ten grand! So, I should, too!
Will Your Bump Dreams Really Come True?!
So, do I think you can literally take that to the bank? Can you reasonably get your hopes up that you’ll be $10,000 richer at some point because you’re on an oversold flight?
Oh, heck no.
Your chances of getting a $10,000 bump are very, very, very slim to none. The now-infamous SkyWest 3550 flight of June 27, 2022, was a unicorn in terms of flight bump compensation. (I’m still stunned the opening offer was five thousand dollars.)
Keep in mind that most flights don’t need people to stay behind. Airlines don’t like giving away money and usually, do whatever they can to prevent that from happening. (No companies except foundations and charities enjoy handing out cash.)
Expect something along the lines of maybe $600 to $1,300.
Maybe. Probably lower.
I heard a couple of recent tales that $2500 was offered to passengers. But even that is fairly rare. (Also, don’t be a pest and insist to the gate agents that they give you $10,000 because the GRR-MSP passengers received that sum.)
Thanks, Daddy Downer.
Sorry. I’m not saying it’ll never happen again. (That came back to bite us in the tush.) If it does, I hope you’re the lucky recipient of ten large.
And there’s a chance it will. Monday’s flight is proof anything can happen.
Delta’s pilots are concerned about the airline’s operations and meltdowns (and how much they’re getting paid). That’s why they’re picketing today.
If lots of flights get canceled and airlines are desperate, who knows? More lucrative bumps could become more frequent.
Everyone’s going to try and play by the bump game now. But please understand our dreams of showing up to airports and getting $10,000 rewards for accepting bumps likely will remain that: dreams.
That said, enjoy whatever bumps you receive. You can turn your trip into a little extra vacation (or stay-cation) and earn a few extra bucks.
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