Bumped from a Flight? Make the Most of Your Time
By Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
Sometimes all the planning in the world can be done and yet it’s not going as you planned. Did you get bumped from a flight? You can try to make the most of it, call us for ideas on how you can plan for those unplanned occasions.
Easy, those pesky airlines overbooked your flight. What does this mean to you, you won’t get on the plane. They do this to avoid empty seats. They are gambling that roughly 10-20% of those booked travelers won’t show up, have a connecting plane delay, etc. Or, someone who’s been bumped or is on stand-by for the exact flight is waiting at the desk to board, their only goal is to jump into your seat and leave you (stranded) at the airport.
What’ a voluntary bumping?
When the airline offers you money, hotel room, cash incentive or future flight credits, to get you to not fly and give up your seat. This is their way of negotiating with those whose schedules may be flexible.
What’s involuntary bumping or denied bumping?
This happens when the airline cannot get any volunteers to take another flight. Now the Department of Transportation has been recently promoting changes to the compensation prices. If you stand your ground and they can’t get volunteers the extreme bartering takes place. They won’t hold the plane for you, they’re counting on you missing that flight.
This past spring my son and I found ourselves in this EXACT situation with Southwest Airlines!!! Grrr! We ran like hell, rounded the corner from TSA and sped to our gate, only to see our plane backing up and the doors closing for good. We had missed the flight by 1 minute! JUST 1 MINUTE! Immediately my Travel Consultant skills kicked into action as I tried to negotiate the plane being turned around (Yeah…I actually thought it was possible for me to accomplish this HUGE Feat). So…when this failed…we were reluctantly placed on stand by. Stand-by after stand-by meant an Entire Full Day spent at the Fort Lauderdale Airport…waiting on a plane! Well, after the last plane departed for Raleigh at 8 p.m. and we weren’t on board…this exhausted and stressed mom broke down in tears at the terminal (yeah….I really did!). The Southwest airlines representatives gave us the name of the nearest hotel and promptly booked us on the next early a.m. flight for 6 a.m. Dang! Wish they could have done so earlier in the day.
So who’s fault was it? As I battled (firmly) that we had arrived to the airport 90 days prior (slightly give or take), waiting to get our bags checked in and then waited forever at TSA- Southwest would not budge. Surely they saw we had checked-in and were on the way…couldn’t they have waited 1 minute for us?!? When I gently informed the TSA rep that our flight was leaving in about 10 minutes and could we please, pretty please jump ahead…he assured us we’d make our flight and to wait right where we were, in line. Well, we didn’t make it! This was the incredibly frustrating part, my not being able to control the outcome-much as I tried to do so.
So how do you make the most of your time:
We did so a bit creatively. We spent the larger portion of the entire day together (which, if you have a teenager, is a true blessing in disguise). We ate a super high priced “gourmet burger” and fries with a coke for about $40 at the airport at one of those “to go” restaurants. We ate dinner together at the local Denny’s (his first Denny’s experience and I bet NOT his last). We stayed in a noisy airport hotel and then got up early, early, early to board a plan…finally headed home- paying for an Uber ride at 4 a.m. to the airport!
Life as a travel consultant, never fails to be an interesting journey (even for a fairly seasoned traveler, such as myself). But what I’m most interested in, is helping you plan Your Next Amazing Vacation. Why? Because You deserve it!
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