How much can you get if an airline bumps you?

Originally published at: How much can you get if an airline bumps you? | Boing Boing


Note that the quoted text only applies to involuntary bumps, which are actually pretty rare.

The vast majority of the time when a flight is oversold, the airlines will ask for (and find) volunteers to give up their seats in exchange for vouchers good toward a future flight on the airline. If you accept an offer like that, you can’t turn around and demand 200% of your fare in cash, because you accepted the voucher already.

Only if the airlines don’t find volunteers and start unilaterally bumping people involuntarily, do the regulated cash payouts apply.


At 400% of a flight to Europe I might start hoping to get bumped.

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Prices are projected to go down significantly in the fall. I heard 40%.

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Early in January, domestic flight in Brazil, I got bumped from late night to early morning.
My refund? Two meal vouchers and covid.


If airlines can
cap the compensation, what prevents them from capping them to $0? Or worse and maybe more likely: lowering the cap silently and slowly over many years to avoid attention and backlash.

I’m not sure how the value was arrived at, and they could presumably seek to neutralize it by a lobbying push of some kind; but the values are specified by law. There is nothing preventing a carrier from offering more, if they wish to avoid a scene; but the $775 and $1,550 caps are what they are because section 250.5 says 200% of fare or $775 and 400% of fare or $1,550 for the two cases; so they can’t legally go lower without finding someone to voluntarily accept the offer.

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