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Oversold Flights, Getting Bumped and Bumping

Volunteering to Bump

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You've spoken about volunteering to take a later flight at check-in, or you've heard the announcement asking for volunteers to take a later flight, and are thinking the compensation sounds pretty good. Now what?

There are a few things to ask for when you are offered a travel voucher:
  • Ask that it be made out to include your family so that the travel voucher is transferable to someone other than yourself (ex. JOHN DOE AND/OR FAMILY). This way, if you are unable to use it, someone in your family can.
  • Ask if the travel voucher can be used systemwide, meaning that it can be used domestically or internationally.
  • If you are traveling on an airline that has partner airlines, ask if the travel voucher is applicable on partner airlines as well. If not, ask if it can be used on codeshares. An example of this would be traveling from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv by using United Airlines from Los Angeles to Frankfurt, and then Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Tel Aviv. Lufthansa has a codeshare flight on this routing with United Airlines, so the Lufthansa flight will also have a United Airlines flight number. If codeshare flights are permitted, you will have more ways to use your credit for future travel.
  • Make sure there are no further restrictions, such as blackouts or having to travel standby, and that tickets purchased with vouchers do not make you ineligible for compensation should you be bumped again.
  • And here is a tip that is not widely divulged. Ask if you can extend the validity of the travel voucher. Some airlines will allow you to extend the travel voucher if you bring it to the airline's ticket counter or ticketing office before it expires, and for a small fee the validity is extended for an additional year. This is very useful if you have a voucher that is worth a fair amount, and you don't want to lose its entire value.
  • Ask about the flight that you will be protected on now that you are willing to potentially give up your seat, and if the times work for you, get the airline agent to pull a seat for you, which is essentially getting a boarding card with a seat number.
  • And finally, ask for a meal voucher so that the airline is paying for you to have something to eat while you wait for your new flight. Or ask for access to the airline's lounge as that can be a quieter place to wait and have lots of amenities to pass the time.


Please note that you may or may not get all of the above in a travel voucher. This does not make it worthless, it is just important to know what you are getting before you agree to it.
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