If you’ve flown before, you’ve probably heard a gate attendant ask for volunteers to give up their seats. Why? Well, to make up for potential no-shows, most flights are overbooked – which means there are too many passengers and not enough seats. If there aren’t enough volunteers who forfeit their seats, the airlines start “bumping” people off the flight. If you get bumped, know this: New Federal rules mean that your wallet’s going to get a bigger bump than ever before.
According the U.S. Department of Transportation, 65,000 passengers were involuntarily bumped last year. Getting bumped can be a disaster if you’re a business person headed to a meeting or you’re trying to meet a connecting flight. So, let’s say you’re bumped. The old rules stated that if the airline could still get you to your destination within two hours of your scheduled arrival time, you were entitled to the cash value of a one-way ticket - up to $400. Double that if you were bumped and arrived more than two hours later than your original arrival time. Now, the new rules nearly double the compensation: Up to $1,300 if you arrive two hours later than scheduled. Inflation adjustments will be made every couple years – which will increase the compensation even more. So, if your travel schedule is flexible – you can get big bucks on your next flight, by volunteering to be bumped! The new rules take effect this July.