Published: Tue, April 18, 2017
Money | By Oscar Reynolds

Give up your seat? Maybe for $10000

Give up your seat? Maybe for $10000

Delta has authorized gate agents to pay up to $2,000 to entice customers to voluntarily give up their seats when flights are overbooked, an increase from the previous maximum of $800. According to Department of Transportation statistics, the major U.S. airlines bumped 475,054 passengers a year ago - 434,425 voluntarily and 40,629 involuntarily.

United is also reviewing its policies in the wake of the scandal to try to prevent a similar incident from happening in the future. According to the newspaper, Delta also solicits passengers to bid for how much they are voluntarily willing to give up their seat for before they ever get to the gate, through an electronic bidding system during check-in online or at an airport kiosk.

As a result, it had the lowest rate among the largest USA airlines of bumping people off flights against their will - something that is legal but alienates customers and requires the airline to pay compensation of up to $1,350 per person.

That $0.08 is no aberration-Delta has historically paid out the least in cash among the United States airlines when it comes to compensating travelers who get pushed off overbooked flights. United Continental CEO Oscar Munoz's initial attempts to apologize were roundly criticized.

The dragging has turned into a public-relations nightmare for the entire industry, not just United, and led to calls from politicians and consumer advocates to suspend or ban overbooking.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Delta passengers who were "significantly affected" by the airline's weather issues can expect to receive a bit of redress for the travel woes they experienced last week.

Airlines, eager to avoid a PR nightmare like what happened on United flight 3411, have quickly revised their passenger compensation policies, increasing the amount of money gate agents and supervisors are allowed to offer to passengers in the event of an overbooking. If Delta paid $9,950 to every person it bumped involuntarily a year ago, that would total $12 million.

An AP analysis of government data shows that in 2015 and 2016, Delta paid an average of $1,118 in compensation for every passenger that it denied a seat. In the search for a volunteer to be rebooked, United stopped at $800.

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