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Bumped fliers eligible for double compensation

Discussion in 'Vacation Travel Information' started by arlene22, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. arlene22

    arlene22 TUG Member

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  2. Dave M

    Dave M TUG Lifetime Member

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    Yes, but note that it will be a rare situation where anyone collects. That's only for involuntary bumps. Only about one in every 9,000 (!) passengers in the U.S. is involuntarily bumped.

    Airlines are still free to set their own compensation offers when they ask for volunteers to take later flights due to overbooking.
     
  3. Ann-Marie

    Ann-Marie TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I'm confused. 3 out of 4 of us were involuntarly bumped in February from a US Air flight. We all received R/T vouchers. We arrived at out final destination 8 hours late. Should we have been compensated with money as well, or is the value of the ticket the money compensation they are referring to?
     
  4. T_R_Oglodyte

    T_R_Oglodyte TUG Lifetime Member

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    Maybe we'll see the return of standby fares - lower price ticket with no guaranteed seating on any given flight. Merely a promise to seat the ticketholder on the first flight with available seats. As a plane filled the airline might start selling standby seating only, and they might be able to manage inventory so on full flights there would always be sufficient standby tickets issued that they could bump people without compensation.

    In my college days most airlines sold those types of tickets to students as half-fare tickets. Kids soon figured out that they should make a bunch of reservations for the plane using various pseudonyms; all of those would of course be "no-shows" and the standbys would be able to board.

    Since the airlines now collect money within 24 hours after a reservation is made and they don't accept moneyless reservations within 24 hours of flight time, that gambit wouldn't work any longer.
     
  5. arlene22

    arlene22 TUG Member

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    I was wondering about that. Do you think this new rule will cause the airlines to "sweeten the pot" for voluntary bumps? Probably not, I would think.
     
  6. Dave M

    Dave M TUG Lifetime Member

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    Ann-Marie -

    Could you be more specific about the details?

    Did they ask for voulunteers? Did you respond? Did they offer R/T vouchers that you accepted in exchange for agreeing to take a later flight? Or did you get to the boarding gate late? Or did they take you out of your seats after you boarded the plane? Etc. What was the discussion?

    How much later - with your new flight after being bumped - were you scheduled to get to your destination than on your original flight?

    Tell us the story and we can then tell you what should have happened and what your current rights are.
     
  7. Dave M

    Dave M TUG Lifetime Member

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    Perhaps in a very few cases. Each airline has its own rules as to how much compensation (R/T ticket, $ vouchers, cash, etc.) the gate agent can offer, depending on the circumstances. Even though overbooking at departure time is common, it's rare that offers under those existing airline compensation guidelines don't generate enough volunteers to stay behind.

    Thus, perhaps for those few situations (one in 9,000?) where there aren't enough volunteers, airlines might increase their limits. However, even now, it's not unusual to get more compensation for volunteering than the airline would have to give for an involuntary bump. Why? Simple. First, the airlines don't like having to report involuntary bumps to the Department of Transportation. Second and perhaps more importantly, telling someone that they cannot board a plane that they have a reservation for will usually cause an unpleasant scene. That's not good for passenger relations or for the airline.

    Thus, airlines try to make everyone happy by offering voluntary bumps. Everyone that needs to go gets to go. And those few who didn't go stayed behind because they liked the compensation they were offered more than getting to their destinations on time!
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2008
  8. Ann-Marie

    Ann-Marie TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Hi Dave. We checked into the airport 1 1/2 hours before departure. there were 4 of us flying. My husband and I were OK with our seats. Our friends DID have seat assignments on there e ticket. However, when they checked into the airport, they were informed that US AIr gave their seats away because the flight was overbooked!! How, God only knows. They were now wait listed for the flight. Needless to say, they did not get on. However, we were standing off to the side speaking to a supervisor when the flight was boarding. it was obvious that there was no way that our friends were getting on the flight. The gate agent was a sarcastic so and so. In her ultimate wisdom, assumed that my husband and I were not getting on the flight as well since we were probably staying with our friends. The so and so gate agent just GAVE our seat away!!!! They only needed one, so there was one still left. Even the supervisor was screaming at the agent for the stupid thing she had just done. The gate agent even admitted her mistake!! We were originally scheduled to leave at 10 AM, and arrive at 12 noon. We however left at 2 pm on a connecting flight and arrived at 6PM. US Air gave us all free R/T vouchers, and I think $25. in food vouchers. No monetary compensation.
     
  9. Dave M

    Dave M TUG Lifetime Member

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    That's unfortunate. My guess is that the gate agent recorded it as voluntary bumps, so there probably isn't much you can do that would meet with success. A key element is follows (from my link below):
    However, you might consider writing to the airline, explaining (politely) what happened and state that you now understand that you should have been offered cash compensation. (That's not technically correct, as you can see from the quoted text.) Ask for payment (state how much you are entitled to) and offer to return the R/T voucher.

    You'll have to look at what you paid for each ticket to determine how much you should have been offered instead of the R/T voucher. It should have been twice the amount of the one-way fare (one-way fare = half of your R/T ticket cost), with a limit of $400.

    Decide whether you would rather keep the R/T voucher before you decide whether to write!

    For next time and for all who read this, be sure to know exactly what your rights are when and if you get involuntarily bumped. If you don't know your rights, you may get less than you are entitled to, just as Ann-Marie may have. Those rights are located in the "Involuntary Bumping" section of this Department of Transportation publication. Next month, the maximum amounts go up the level stated in the OP's link.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2008
  10. Icarus

    Icarus TUG Member

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    The biggest change here is that federal IDB rules did not cover most regional jets, and the new rules have reduced the minimum seat requirement that's covered by the new rules to 30. So, now, most RJs will be included in the new IDB rules.

    The dollar amounts haven't been changed for years. This change just brings them closer to what actual ticket costs are for many people.

    It probably won't have much affect on VDB compensation, but in some cases airlines might be more willing to negotiate compensation for VDBs.

    -David
     
  11. Ann-Marie

    Ann-Marie TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Dave, thanks for the explaination. I have already booked the voucher for a flight to New Orleans. I am praying that we do not get bumped on that flight (actually 2 because we need to connect) because we are using a voucher. If that happens, OH BOY! I will be a crazy person!
     
  12. camachinist

    camachinist TUG Member

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    Dave, are the airlines still required to advise the flying public in writing at the POS (ticket counter/gate) of their rights when in an IDB circumstance? I carry the UA COC when I fly, as well as relevant DOT rules, but I recall the airline having to provide such on request prior to the pax signing the IDB chit.

    BTW, for anyone getting bumped, be sure you read what you're signing. Airlines will often try to pull a fast one and process IDB's as VDB's. Don't help them :)

    The bad thing about being a 1K/1P is I've never been selected for any sort of bump, even when I've volunteered. Waa... :(

    Pat
     
  13. Dave M

    Dave M TUG Lifetime Member

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    You've got it, Pat! The airline must properly advise the passenger of his/her rights, if the passenger so requests. As was the case with Ann-Marie, I would guess the overwhelming majority of passengers don't know what their rights are and don't know to ask!

    Even the DOT link above merely states that the passenger can ask for cash.
     
  14. JeffW

    JeffW TUG Member

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    Maybe I'm in the minority who thinks that voluntary bump compensation will increase. Currently, in an oversold situation, worst case an airline should have to pay is $400 for an involuntary bump. As pointed out, that's probably not an airlines first choice (not a good PR move), so they can afford to sweeten that a little to make it voluntary. Why would they NOT offer $600-$700 for a voluntary bump, if the alternative is paying $800 for involuntarily?

    One possible change I haven't seen mentioned is flight availability, and ticket availability. Currently, an airline might not have a problem overselling a flight, since the potential penalty (bump compensation) isn't that that low. Now that it's doubling, I have to think airlines won't be nearly as quick to overbook. If I was an airline, I'm not sure I'd risk selling a $3/4/$500 ticket in an oversold condition, if it might cost me $800 to bump a person.

    The other obvious issue is, "Where will this larger compensation come from?" The answer is us - airlines will one way or another have to charge more to cover the extra cost.

    Jeff
     
  15. JoeMid

    JoeMid Guest

    I'm the equivalent to 1K/1P on another Star Alliance carrier and my experience is that I go to the head of the line of 'volunteers.'

    I think it may well change something. Airlines don't want the Involuntary stats, there are no stats for voluntary, they're usually ecstatic when I volunteer and my free RT (if used wisely) is worth more than twice what the Involuntary comp was currently.
     
  16. JeffW

    JeffW TUG Member

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    That's another big difference between involuntary and voluntary. Voluntary compensation is often 'airline money': a voucher either good for one R/T, or else some amount of money useable to buy future tickets (ie. 'Delta dollars'). Besides restrictions that make a number of them go unused (costing the airline nothing), as shown with FF award analysis, the actual incremental cost to transport an additional passenger is very little - I've heard airlines list the 'cost' of a FF seat at maybe $25-$30.

    On the other hand, involuntary bump compensation I think needs to be paid out in cash. NO service company likes to have to give actual cash back to customers, they'd always like to keep it, and provide 'credit' for future travel.

    Jeff
     
  17. JoeMid

    JoeMid Guest

    While you are right, Involuntary benefits such as free RT (with the frequent flier bucket inventory) essentially costs the airline 'nothing,' there will never be requirements for cash for Involuntary, it's not regulated.
     
  18. Dave M

    Dave M TUG Lifetime Member

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    In fact, it is regulated. As quoted from the DOT publication in one of my posts above, passengers can insist on being paid money rather than accepting a ticket voucher or so-called airline dollars for an involuntary bump. The passenger's right to get that money is part of both the old and the new regulations.
     
  19. camachinist

    camachinist TUG Member

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    Well, I guess I'll have to be more persuasive :)

    I've got about 650K under my belt now and still no op-ups or DB's. On the bright side, only two cncls causing overnights.

    An interesting aside is, when we get weight restricted into or out of our local, those bumps are non compensated IDB's, if no one takes the VDB's. The DOT/COC regs only kick in for oversell IDB's. This is why, when I see fellow pax getting bumped for weight/wx, I always tell them to report it to the DOT as an uncompesated IDB. As an elite, I'm at the bottom of that list.

    Pat
     

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