Delta will now offer up to nearly $10,000 for Overbooked Flights

After United’s PR nightmare last weekend, Delta is making significant policy changes in its treatment of overbooked flights. In an internal memo obtained Friday by The Associated Press, Delta stated gate agents can now offer up to $2,000, up from a previous maximum of $800, and supervisors can authorize up to $9,950, up from $1,350.

I primarily fly Delta and I’ve been on plenty of overbooked flights, but I’ve never witnessed a passenger involuntarily bumped at the gate, much less being bumped while already seated. Delta generally offers lucrative offers of vouchers and gift cards, which almost always results in volunteers giving up their seats. I recently received a $600 Delta voucher on a flight from Lexington, KY to Minneapolis, MN and Nick, my partner here at Thrifty Traveler, received a $1,000 voucher for being voluntarily bumped from a short flight from Minneapolis to Chicago. Nick received the $1,000 offer while he was already seated on the plane, which is why the offer was so high. At that point, it required a supervisor approval for him to receive the voucher.

If you are looking to be bumped, always make sure to stay near the gate 30-45 min before boarding, which is when they begin asking for volunteers. Offers generally start around $200, and I generally bite if the offer gets over $400. Of course this all depends on whether or not you have flexible travel plans. A family last weekend made over $11,000 in vouchers from being bumped several times. Your best bet to be bumped is on Monday mornings or Friday afternoons, when business travel is the highest, and the amount of volunteers will likely be the lowest.


Bottom Line

If I have flexible travel plans, I always try to volunteer when I can. The airline usually will put you on the next flight, and $200+ can be a nice chunk of change for a few hours of your time. If you’re looking to avoid being booted from your flight, check out our six ways to avoid being bumped. It’s great to see Delta stepping up, and I hope I can take advantage of some of these higher offers in the future.


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