Avoiding The Airline Bump: Four Ways To Dodge The Boot On Oversold Flights
A squawky sounding voice comes over the speaker, garbling out something along the lines of, “This flight…oversold…”. You can almost hear a gasp from the crowd waiting to take flight for their vacation. The majority slouches back into their gate seat like a middle school student in a classroom, fearful the gate agent will call on them to take another flight.
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The airlines can be a traveler’s worst nightmare, especially in today’s world of eliminated routes and packed planes. On countless occasions I have breezed through security, reached my gate and heard the doomed word “oversold”. However I know I won’t be bumped for I have followed a system when I approach each trip. I wouldn’t want to miss out on a minute of my vacation rental time or sightseeing tours at my destination. If you are like me, the one sinking into the back of the chair in hopes of not being bumped onto a flight the next day, never fear. You don’t have to don a disguise to dodge the airline overselling situation. A ticket is no guarantee, but you can follow these tips to avoid getting the boot.
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Check In Online Immediately: The minute I receive that email from my airline, alerting me that my flight is 24 hours away and I can now check in, I immediately do so. The first passengers to generally get bumped by the airlines are those who check in last or late for their flight. I witnessed an experienced travel writer on Twitter the other day lamenting being bumped from an oversold flight. She had checked in late for her flight and was the first to go. Checking in online before you head to the airport can ensure your seat on the oversold plane. With airline apps, you can check in for a flight in seconds no matter where you are.
Arrange For A Seat Assignment: Travelers who do not have seat assignments run a risk of being the odd man or woman out. Even if in the booking process the airline won’t give you a seat to select, call the airline like it’s your job. Turn into a telemarketer. If the answer is still no until 24 hours before your flight, keep calling. If you have a confirmed seat assignment, the airlines are less likely to give you the old heave-ho.
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Be Loyal: An entire hierarchy takes place in the airlines. From boarding to the size of pretzels you might receive on board, airlines value those elite members and treat them accordingly. If you can fly one airline continuously, you are most likely a part of a mileage program. Sometimes airlines gauge which passenger goes based on their status with the airline. If you are Mr. Nobody, the airline might not be as willing to honor your ticket on that flight, as they would be for Mr. Somebody with the airline.
Schedule Flights in the Middle of the Week: Most business travelers and vacationers schedule their flights around the beginnings of the weekend or the ends of the weekend. If you schedule your flight toward the middle of the week, the planes are less jam-packed and thus not always subject to overselling. Sometimes you can avoid being bumped right in the booking process by being wise to popular routes.
So book early and follow the above four ways and you are sure to dodge the boot on oversold flights.
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