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No Seat? No Problem

Getting bumped from a flight can be one of the most infuriating events of a travel experience filled to capacity with infuriating events. So why not make some money off it next time around?



In the last six months alone, 343,000 passengers have been denied their seats. New York Times’ Practical Traveler Michelle Higgins explained that getting bumped, while a hassle, can also be lucrative for you. If you volunteer to give up your seat when your flight is oversold, you can usually negotiate compensation with the airline. Sometimes they will even cough up a free pair of tickets for any destination they fly.

You can also get involuntarily bumped if not enough passengers agree to give up their seats. In this case, the reward can be even more worthwhile. The Department of Transportation recently upped the maximum airlines must pay out so that if you are involuntarily bumped, you are now entitled up to $800 in cash.

There are other perks too, Higgins said. If you’re looking to get the most of your time at the airport after getting bumped from a flight, think of the gate agent as your best friend. These are the officials who can score you airline lounge passes, upgrades to first class and other perks at their disposal. It pays to buddy up.

The trick, if you’re trying to get bumped and capitalize on the reimbursement, is to fly when it’s busy and show up late. Peak travel times are when flights are most often oversold and travelers who check in last are the first to get bumped.