Bumped On Thanksgiving Eve

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Somehow I thought it was a good idea to fly on Thanksgiving Eve. No TSA nightmares. Flight was full. Volunteered quickly for the bump (you can ask to put your name on the list when checking in), and got $400 each in transferable flight credit for the two of us, plus first class re-booking on the next flight 3 hours later. Now I’m pecking away on my smartphone. I hope everyone else has safe travels.

Happy Thanksgiving! It’s still my favorite holiday.

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  1. James Westwood says

    What’s a bump?

  2. Out of curiosity, how many people had volunteered? I know quite a few frequent fliers specifically book trips around this time of year to rack up thousands of $$$ in vouchers so they can fly for free the rest of the year…

  3. SCORE!!!!

  4. I used to always travel Thanksgiving week and left on the prior Sat. I also always planned it around getting bumped. It’s a great way to get $400-$500 (each) vouchers, first class upgrades, and meal/drink vouchers. Typically we were only delayed by a few hours.

  5. There’ve been many occasions when I wished i had done just that. Well done! Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  6. Happy thanksgiving…

    I love getting bump. Its truly worth it

  7. @James: A “bump” is a slang term used in travel communities for when a passenger voluntarily gives up their seat on their flight because the flight is oversold (i.e. there are 100 people who paid tickets or want to take the flight and they all show up at the airport, but the plane only seats 95).

    To not go into a long description, airplanes can and do often sell more tickets than the actual plane can carry because passengers no show, change at the last minute, or take other flights. Airlines don’t want to miss out on revenue so they sell extra tickets.

    Everything works out fine until everybody who paid shows up (or others who missed their flight or had their flight canceled show up too).

    When this happens airlines often ask for volunteers before they actively refuse certain passengers. The airline would rather take volunteers than make angry customers by telling them they can’t take their flight even though they were confirmed and paid for it.

    Usually, when people volunteer they are compensated for their “inconvenience”. Compensation varies on both the airline, the flight, whether it’s international or domestic, etc. Some airlines will give you a voucher for a free flight anytime within a year; others might give you $250 or $400 credit towards future flights. Depending on the situation, airlines may also give you food vouchers to use at the airport, hotel accommodations (if there’s no other flight to where you need to go that night), taxi vouchers to get to a hotel, etc. On occasion (and depending on your status), they may even upgrade you to business or first class on the flights they rebook you on (never hurts to ask if you do volunteer).

    Since you yourself are trying to get somewhere, they will often work with you to rebook you on a later flight, a different route, a different airline, etc.

    So if your travel schedule is flexible, getting bumped can pay off in lots of free travel!!

    Anyone can volunteer and usually they take volunteers in order of when they volunteer (some airlines let you volunteer at the airport when you check in others require you to volunteer at the gate of the flight).

    If your travel schedule is flexible it never hurts to ask if the flight is oversold or if they might need volunteers at check-in and/or at the gate. If they do need volunteers and you decide you don’t want to give up your seat, you can always decline so it’s not a binding agreement if you do volunteer. Also, although they should take volunteers in order they signed up, sometimes they take passengers who are easy to “rebook” (i.e., no checked bags, single travelers, available flights that day, passengers on simple itineraries, etc.) so just because you volunteered and you’re number one on the list doesn’t always mean they will need you or will take you.

    A lot of frequent fliers who mileage run or have flexible schedules try to make reservations over big holidays because they know there’s always flight delays, weather issues, over-selling, etc. so they fly hoping to get bumped. For some people spending the holiday on the airplane is ok, others just want to get to your destination. I know several people who have gotten bumped off one flight, then volunteered to be bumped on the next flight, etc. etc. and have managed to get over $1000 or more in one trip to be used on future flights.

    Not a bad way to get a free ticket to Australia, Europe, or Asia.

    Hope this helps!

  8. Wow. I think you saved the airline a lot of money. I believe they’re required to reimburse $400 cash if they bump somebody and can get them to their destination with a 2 hour delay. Otherwise, it costs them $800.

    I also tend to find that the tickets I can get with vouchers cost more than what I can find online. Is that anyone else’s experience?

    Obviously holding out for cash might leave you ‘underbid’ by some fellow flyers!

  9. I love when that happens!

  10. also my favorite holiday 🙂

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