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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Getting Paid For Changing Your Flights

Here's one for all you folks who fly regularly but have some flexibility as to when you do it. Liz Pulliam Weston at MSN Money has a great piece on getting "bumped" by airlines. It breaks down the ins and outs of getting bumped (both voluntarily and involuntarily):
  • In the cases where you get bumped involuntarily, she goes into what the airline is required to give you in different circumstances.
  • If you want to give up your seat and be voluntarily bumped, she provides some good advice on how to get the most from the airline.
Finally, she gives a few hints on how to avoid an involuntary bumping (and how to have the greatest negotiating power in a "voluntary" one):
  • Pick a seat - you're less likely to get bumped if you do.
  • Check in early. Even if you do it via the Internet, get to the airport early.
  • In case of a bump, get a guaranteed seat on another flight, whether with that airline or another (yes, they can get you on another airline if they really have to).
Read the whole thing here.

I've occasionally been voluntarily bumped, and if you play the game right, you can make out pretty well. A couple hundred bucks and/or a free flight is pretty much the least you should come away with. One time I was lurking near the check-in counter when they asked for voluntary bumps. There was a significant difference in what people came away with (the seasoned travelers who knew how to play the game typically got at least $100 or $200 more for bumping than the novices).

HT: Consumerism Commentary

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