I think most people have seen the video of the United Airlines passenger being dragged off a plane a couple of weeks ago after the plane was overbooked. What a lot of people don’t realise is that many airlines routinely overbook flights as a matter of policy, because they know that a certain percentage of passengers won’t turn up. If all the passengers do turn up, the solution is usually a little different though, and it throws up an interesting money making opportunity.
Airlines routinely pay passengers to be bumped from flights when everyone turns up, and some savvy individuals are cashing in by booking themselves onto flights where there is a better than average chance of getting bumped, and then pocketing the ‘bribe’. They book themselves the cheapest flight on a qualifying flight and then ask to be listed for bumping at check in. Rewards can be huge. I just read about one American family of four who got themselves bumped from three flights over a single weekend, pocketing $11,000 in the process.
Here’s some more information, if this interests you: