The next time you’re either at a departure gate or even seated on your flight and you hear the announcement that the flight is oversold and they are looking for volunteers to give up their seats in return for a dollar value voucher and a seat on the next flight, you should know the real rules.
First, overbooking isn’t illegal.
Airlines do it all the time.
But they are still required to get you to your destination.
That’s a Department of Transportation rule.
If the airline can’t get you where you want to go within two hours of the scheduled arrival time, it must still pay an amount equal to 200 percent of your one-way fare, with a $675 maximum.
The amount you could get is much higher if they ask for volunteers and no one volunteers.
Some airlines will go as high as $10,000. So before you volunteer right away, remember that it’s a sliding scale.
Even if you do volunteer, be cognizant of airline schedules, because you may be staying overnight at the airport.
For more information about air travel, check out:
- On-Time Arrival Ratings for Domestic Airlines
- Fewer Travelers are Bumped Off Flights
- How Unbundling Fees Affects Plane Ticket Prices
Keep reading for more travel tips.