Wednesday, February 23, 2011

overbooked flights

For my business trip, the company booked my flight through US Airways. The travel route took me from Newark Airport to a layover in Charlotte, NC and then from there, I was to fly into Louisville, KY. The flight from Charlotte to Louisville was overbooked however, so I wasn't able to check in and designate which seat I wanted. I asked the guy at the check in counter what I was supposed to do and he said that it was likely I'd get on the flight, but if not, US Airways would compensate me, and then he handed me a pamphlet explaining everything.

This is an interesting option to consider when flying. Airlines always overbook flights, knowing that people cancel last minute. It's sort of a gamble to make sure that the flight is 100% full when it takes off. I read the pamphlet to find out that if you are on an overbooked flight, the attendants will ask for people to volunteer to give up their seats. If you are a volunteer, they will put you on the next available flight and give you a $200+ voucher for any future flights with US Airways.

If you think about it, you could potentially earn back all the money you spent on your flight in the first place if you continue to volunteer to be bounced from flight to flight. Obviously, it's a waste of a day to sit in the airport, but if you're with a companion and you don't mind figuring out ways to avoid boredom, it's potentially a money making idea.

That being said, I was able to get on my flight, no problem. There were a few people that gave up their seats and a waiting list was created of people who needed to get on the flight. Had I had some time though, I would not have minded giving up my seat to go explore Charlotte.

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