How To Get Bumped By An Airline For Fun And Profit

An editor over at Jaunted has perfected a strategy for hassel-free airline bumping. We all know that we can grab some pretty nice rewards if we give up our seat on an overbooked airplane, but we’re never in a position to do so.

Jaunted gives some scheduling tips that will allow you to say yes to airline vouchers.

They recommend flying a day before you need to be somewhere, avoiding the baggage check, asking to be placed on the bump list and flying early in the day so you have a better chance of catching a same day flight, and intentionally flying airlines that are known for overbooking.

The result? A free ticket from United.

Travel Tips: How To Take The Bump And Like It [Jaunted]
(Photo:jaroslavd)

Comments

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  1. B says:

    I’m all for not checking baggage, but please, please don’t try to cram too much stuff in your carry-ons. Have some courtesy for your fellow passengers who have to share the same overhead compartments with you. That’s one carry-on that can be easily stowed in the overhead compartment, and a small bag kept by your feet. Also, don’t bring more than you can easily maneuver down the narrow hallways or lift over your head.

  2. bilge says:

    This works especially well around the holidays. I get the earliest flight I can and let myself get bumped. I started doing this back in college and I have always succeeded in getting at least one voucher.

  3. holocron says:

    back in the halcyon days of pre-9/11 air travel, i did this routinely.

    in fact, i had the holiday flights figured out that i bought a ticket home for thanksgiving in 1995 and flew free home for holidays for free for the next two years by being bumped.

    i’m pleased that those days may be returning…

  4. The Bigger Unit says:

    @B: Amen re: carry-on baggage. There’s 2 things that irritate the hell outta me: People who use up the overhead bins with their “carry-ons” with no regard for others needs, and those who go through the self-checkout at a grocery store with a cart full of groceries.

    Pure. Ignorance.

  5. andros says:

    Having to travel on business way too much, I discovered a great way to bypass need for checked baggage – I FedEx a box of clothes etc to whatever hotel I’ll be staying at. Of course, it’s only feasible if your company is willing to pay for it, or if you have too much money to give a damn… but still, it’s a nice trick (in my book). Of course, one change of clothes always goes into my carry-on.

  6. geeniusatwrok says:

    If offered a free ticket vs. a cash voucher, take the voucher. Those free tickets are capacity-restricted and as hard to use as a mileage award ticket, and they don’t earn miles. you can use multiple vouchers to buy that expensive ticket to SYD.

    oh and you asshats bringing aboard engine blocks, fenders, monster-truck strollers, diaper bags sized for baby elephants and all 57 varieties of lil’ Uniqua’s fave juiceboxes in case she throws a tantrum and grounds the plane? drop dead.

  7. levenhopper says:

    But, if you don’t get bumped, or bumped onto a later, same day flight, then you need to pay for a hotel overnight.

    That, by itself, could be worth half the voucher…

  8. BobCoyote says:

    Reminds me of Carl Weathers on Arrested Development: “It’s a crazy loophole in the system that the wrong guy discovered”.

    I’ve taken advantage of this before, but never thought to seek it out intentionally. I’m excited to give these tips a shot

  9. CreativeLinks says:

    Sorry, this advice is ridiculous:

    “They recommend flying a day before you need to be somewhere”

    Really?

    Extra Hotel Night ($135)
    Extra Parking Night ($9)
    Extra Car Rental ($35)
    Extra Meals ($40)

    All for the “Chance” of maybe getting a voucher?

    That’s a pretty serious investment with no guaratee of return.

  10. wobudong says:

    Not only is it a piggish thing to do — stuff your garage into an overhead bin — it can be extremely dangerous.
    A heavy jolt, such as a sudden drop of the plane, or very bumpy weather, not to mention worse things, cn cause an overhead bin to snap open. If a heavy piece of luggage slams against the lid, it could be forced open resulting in the equivalent of a small piano striking seated passengers on the head. Falling luggage can also block passageways — an un happy accident if you’r really trying to make it to an emergency exit door.
    Why airlines are not more strict about this is beyond me. It’s not only size that counts; even more critical is the weight of the object.

  11. milty45654 says:

    What’s wrong with self checkout with a cart of groceries? Who cares, its not the express lane. Personally I don’t use em anyway, because it takes JOBS away from people in lieu of putting more money into the greedy hands of corporations….republican.

    THE NATURE BOY AT 02:01 PM

    @B: Amen re: carry-on baggage. There’s 2 things that irritate the hell outta me: People who use up the overhead bins with their “carry-ons” with no regard for others needs, and those who go through the self-checkout at a grocery store with a cart full of groceries.

    Pure. Ignorance.

  12. Tallanvor says:

    If you get bumped, you could end up at risk getting stuck for days considering how high load factors are. Read the news. Right now especially, this is not a good idea.

  13. Triteon says:

    @milty45654: Personally I don’t use em anyway, because it takes JOBS away from people in lieu of putting more money into the greedy hands of corporations….republican. Perfectly ignorant political stereotyping. Go read up on Patrick Kennedy, his son Joe Kennedy Sr. and George Soros for starters.

  14. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Retarded morons who have more carry-on luggage than I’ve ever checked should be made to sit near the stream of sewage on the next potty flight! Really, the airlines need to be more vigilant about this shit, and make these rude fucks check the bags instead of taking up a whole overhead bin for themselves. Assholes. Probably republicans.

  15. shaunirving says:

    If you’re willing to get bumped, the key is to make sure you get a CONFIRMED seat on the next available flight. The counter rep will gladly do so if it means it’s no longer his problem, but rather that of the oversold flight you’ll be getting on next. Airlines oversell on purpose, expecting 20% (?) of sold seats to not be used for one reason or another.

    If they’re really in a pinch? Ask for two vouchers, not one.

    As for hotels, if they bump you off a late-night flight because of overbooking (not for weather, etc.) airlines will typically also provide you with a hotel room and meal voucher. They’ll put you up at the place of their choice, not yours. The couple of times it’s happened to me, they’ve been decent enough places (typical 2.5 star airport joints).

  16. WhatsMyNameAgain says:

    I almost had a chance to do this when I was coming back from doing Disaster Relief in NOLA. However, I was so beat and so excited to go back home that I didn’t even consider it.

  17. robertseaton says:

    My best strategy (has worked several times) is to simply walk up to the ladies at the gate and offer to be bumped if they have a need. By making thier jobs easier I am usually rewarded with a extras…like First Class on my rebooked flight and extra meal vouchers for my wait…all in addition to my free flight vouchers. Just let them know you are willing from the get-go.

  18. Amy Alkon says:

    I second, third, and fourth that about people who check coffin-sized carry-ons, hoping that the flight attendants won’t be in the mood to play baggage cop along with all the rest of their duties. I especially loved the lady who wanted me to move my sweater and my small leather backpack with my laptop in it from the overhead compartment to under my seat so she could fit her ginormous rolling duffel up there. Uh, wrong. It’s not my problem if you thought you’d abuse the rules by bringing on the rollaboard version of the U.S.S. Nimitz.