It’s no secret that airlines make it a habit to overbook their flights—sometimes with disastrous results. Of course, this is done in order for airlines to retain their profit when passengers have last minute cancellations; overbooking benefits both airline and passengers at the end of the day. Still, there is a way to personally benefit from airline overbooking if a person is willing to invest a bit of time and effort. Recently, there has been a steep rise in travel gurus actually making money off of traveling by volunteering to be booted off of overbooked flights. How does one do this? Largely through careful planning and the willingness to step up quickly.
Feel like trying this out your next trip? Well, we at Noble Transportation have a few tips to help bring you closer to flipping your flight for profit.
- Plan Ahead
When making last minute plans such as another night’s stay in a strange city, it’s key to make sure that you still have at least a day’s worth of clothes and toiletries on hand. The best way to counter this is by avoiding checking in your baggage. Rather, try to pack lightly enough to just have a carry on. Not only does this save on checking fees, but it also gives you greater ability to delay your arrival and remain worry free about the state of your luggage.
Even if you can’t manage this, it’s always a good idea to keep some basics in your carry on. While this is a fairly standard procedure for the initial trip, it often goes unnoticed for the return flight. By adhering to either one of these suggestions, you’ll find yourself with more freedom in terms of travel plan changes.
Another critical key when planning ahead is making sure that everything at your home base will be taken care of in the event of your extended absence. This might mean that your neighbor knows to keep feeding your cat, or that you have a day or so of leeway between arriving home and starting up work again. Make sure that any expenses that may come as part of your bump are included when weighing out the pros and cons of volunteering—remember, you want to benefit in this process!
- Book Flights During the Busy Season
Aim to travel during peak travel and vacation times. Not only are flights already in high demands during these times, they are also usually booked by families and groups of friends who don’t want or cannot be separated. Of course, since you’ve planned ahead, you’re willing and able to delay a few hours or a day in your travels! Some peak times that will be bound to be overbooked include the days leading up to the winter holidays, the Fourth of July, and Memorial Day Weekend. Times such as these occur more often than you think and it is highly possible to plan your vacation or trip around them.
Also, it never hurts to let someone know that you are willing to be bumped. In fact having a note from the check-in or gate counter on your file could not only allow you to be chosen, but also speeds up the process for everyone involved—you, the airline, and the other passengers waiting for take-off.
- Know what You are Entitled to
Knowing what airlines are legally (and ethically) owed to you is the highlight of making a profit via overbooking. Make sure to have some sort of debit or credit card on hand in order to allow the compensation to be quickly transferred to you. This also helps you to avoid being given a waiver for a flight rather than monetary payment. Often times, these travel waivers must be used by a certain time, in a one-time purchase. Unless this is what you’re really after, ask for the cash instead.
Part of getting paid is knowing the maximum requirements of what an airline is required to pay for bumping. Make sure to check out these requirements and make note of differences between countries and states when applicable.
At the end of the day, it never hurts to politely ask for a few freebies, such as seat upgrades or vouchers for food and drink within the airport—the worst thing that can happen is you’re told no.
- Have a Back-Up Plan
As always, Noble Transportation is available to assist you with your last minute travel needs. Transportation to and from the airport should be the last thing on your mind when traveling, and we’re here for the unexpected—or expected!