Here Is How You Avoid Getting Bumped Off An Airplane Flight

April 11, 2017

The Internet erupted into outrage after a video surfaced of law enforcement removing a passenger from an oversold United Airlines flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville Sunday night.

It has brought up the dark secret of airline reservations.  In short, every airline overbooks their planes. They use an algorithm that calculates the likelihood that people will cancel, not show up, or run late. In the case of flight 3411, everyone showed up and according to a United spokesperson, they needed to bump four passengers from flight 3411 in order to make room for pilots and crew needed to operate flights later that evening. They asked for volunteers, which are generally compensated with flight upgrades, hotels and even cash. But in this case, there were not enough volunteers.  So phase 2 began where they involuntarily deny boarding to any remaining passengers, which includes passengers who have already boarded the airplane.  For the most part, those with disabilities and unaccompanied children are top of the safe list, followed by frequent fliers, the layout of your itinerary (if your connecting flights can be re-booked too), when your checked in and the fare class of your ticket.  So if you bought your ticket from a travel web site for the lowest price, you are more likely to be bumped than someone who bought their tickets from the airline itself and frequently uses the brand!  And it's 100% legal according to the Contract of Carriage, even though this incident is turning out to be a public relations nightmare.  As unlikely of an incident this was, you can protect yourself from being involuntarily denied boarding by checking in as early as possible, purchasing your tickets from the airline itself (join the frequent flier club) and spend a little more for a ticket if you must catch the flight.  On the flip side, you can play the overbooked game by volunteering to be bumped.  Your compensation could mean you fly first class, stay in a posh hotel or get enough credit for a free flight on your next trip!

SOURCE: Business Insider

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