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Can an airline bump a ticked passenger due to overbooking?

Los Angeles...
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Can an airline bump a ticked passenger due to overbooking?

Delta tried to bump me from a flight that I had bought a ticket for. I checked in early, etc. They just kept on telling me that they had oversold their flight and were waiting for passengers to opt out. It was important for me to be on that particular flight... Is it legal for Delta to do that?

Edinburgh, United...
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1. Re: Can an airline bump a ticked passenger due to overbooking?

Yep, happens all the time although I believe there are rules about compensation in the US.

Stuttgart, Germany
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2. Re: Can an airline bump a ticked passenger due to overbooking?

Yes, though you should be due compensation.

Chicago
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3. Re: Can an airline bump a ticked passenger due to overbooking?

Yes it's legal. In April returning on a Sunday from Ft Lauderdale I took a voluntary bump for a $500 voucher. The involuntarily bumped passengers were given a choice of a $1500 voucher or $1200 cash (I suggested they take the cash).

UK
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4. Re: Can an airline bump a ticked passenger due to overbooking?

Yes they can bump. Usually they ask for volunteers if soemone is definitely going to be bumped. Also, they are less likely to bump those who already checked in online and printed their boarding pass the day before.

Fredericia, Denmark
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5. Re: Can an airline bump a ticked passenger due to overbooking?

Yes.

London
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6. Re: Can an airline bump a ticked passenger due to overbooking?

Flights are quite often oversold because there are usually a proportion of 'no-shows'.

It is quite common to ask for volunteers to be bumped off an oversold flight, and some people are happy to volunteer because they know they will get compensated by the airline (free accomodation and food, free upgrade on the next flight etc. etc.)

Bristol, England
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7. Re: Can an airline bump a ticked passenger due to overbooking?

Yes. They'll try to get volunteers but if they can't they can bump you.

Liverpool, UK
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8. Re: Can an airline bump a ticked passenger due to overbooking?

Yes they can but I believe they have to report the number of passengers who are bumped involuntary to the authorities (Department of Transport?) so it's not something they would do unless absolutely necessary.

Fortaleza, CE
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9. Re: Can an airline bump a ticked passenger due to overbooking?

You say Delta "tried" to bump you. You were or were not bumped? What did they do other than ask for volunteers (who received compensation)? I'm gathering that you were not eventually bumped, as they found volunteers, but you are just wondering what would have happened if no one volunteered. An airline may keep upping the compensation until people volunteer. I've seen this happen before and even after boarding. Once, with KLM, we were asked upon check-in at AMS if we would be available should they need volunteers. We said yes, but boarded, and weren't asked again until we were in our seats. Compensation was sufficient, and they were going to put us on another flight (using Northwest and Alaska) that day, so we agreed and got off the flight. Friends of ours used to fly a lot, often on mileage runs, and always asked in advance to let them know if they needed volunteers, since they wanted the compensation.

Involuntary bumping is possible, though I think it is very rare.

Edited: 22 May 2014, 17:17
Seattle, Washington
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10. Re: Can an airline bump a ticked passenger due to overbooking?

Of course they can, and it's spelled out in the Contract of Carriage that no one reads. However they must compensate you, and compensation is also spelled out in the CoC.

Many people like to be "bumped" and choose flights where this is more likely to happen. If you don't want to be involuntarily denied boarding, make sure you check in at the 24 hour (or whenever check in opens for your airline) mark, as if no one volunteers for the bump, last to check in is often first to be bumped.