What are your rights when bumped from a flight?
Know Your Rights – Flight Bumping
Lately, within the news there have been many stories about issues involving passengers being bumped off a scheduled airline fight because of overbooking. What is bumping? Bumping according to Independent Traveler.com, is to be denied a seat on a plane when you have paid and received a reservation confirmation on an overbooked flight. Many airlines have a system intended to make sure all seats on the plane are occupied, so they overbook to compensate for no-shows of last minute cancellation and late arrivals. There are two ways you can get bump from a flight – voluntary and non-voluntary. Every airline has different criteria for bumping passengers. There are federal rules and regulations in place governing how airlines must treat passengers on flights with 30 plus passengers and overbooked. Accordingly, the U.S. Department of Transportation, clarifies what airlines are required to do when there is overbooking. However, they are given flexibility when it comes to bumping passengers and are allow to oversell flights because of the assumption that some passengers will not show up.
So, you may be wondering what your rights are when you’re bumped from a flight. Listed below are rights every person who takes a commercial fight should know:
• The airline must ask for volunteers before removing passengers from the overbooked flight;
• They must give you a written statement explaining why you are being bumped and your rights to compensation;
• They must rebook you and pay you if there will be a substantially delayed – the federal government has guidelines of what the airlines should pay;
• They must compensate you in the way that you ask, in check or voucher.
Remember that there are limitations for the above rights, compensation rules only apply to involuntary removals, and passenger non-cooperation on flights can carry substantial consequences. On the flip-side, there are ways where you can avoid getting bumped by being a passenger who flies first class or a passenger with high frequent flyer miles. But, if you are a passenger who checks in or buy a ticket at the last minute, you may be the one chosen to be bumped. Happy travel!