Travel Tip of the Day: Don’t Get Bumped (Unless You Want to Get Bumped)

Check inDon’t Get Bumped (Unless You Want to Get Bumped)
As you probably know, most airlines overbook seats because they try to factor in no-shows. But when everyone shows up for a flight, they have a problem. First, the agents offer vouchers (usually worth a few hundred dollars) to passengers willing to take a later flight instead. If you’re flexible, this is a great option—as I explained in this January piece on how and why to get bumped.

But when no one (including you) wants to give up their seat, the agents start involuntarily bumping passengers and it’s usually those who have no elite status or who have checked-in last. Therefore, to prevent getting bumped, either become a frequent flier with airline/alliance you’re flying with or check-in for your flight as far in advance as possible (or both). I check-in for my flights 24 hours prior to departure.

Have you been bumped before? What happened?



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  1. How do you check in 24hrs ahead of time?

  2. SAS at Newark Airport Terminal B in the picture above. :)

  3. I guess you didn’t like my comment.

  4. biz-traveler says:

    A quick comment – “no shows” sounds like people decided not to fly — happens with business travel and flat tires. But more of the folks that don’t make a flight are missed connections. I’m not sure that’s really a no show but an airline caused issue. (And I’m sure they will always blame the weather — you know they assume it’s sunny and clear skies country wide!).

    I’ve been bumped many times — only one involuntary (I was on a free ticket and at a small airport where delta express ran the united express operation — UA would not have bumped a 1K).

    The best bet is to know your options — since most agents aren’t that creative. I’ve done stuff like agree to drive to a different city for a flight for a big enough reward — say 2X$500 certificates or a system wide upgrade (which is really hard to get now). Also, getting free sold to another airline is great since you can push the overbooked airline to give you miles and the airline you are put on get sees you as full Y — good for bonus miles.

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