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It’s been seven months since Bumpgate, but United is still making changes to better handle the dreaded overbooked flight situation. The airline announced last week that it would introduce a new option for passengers who were traveling on overbooked flights. Now, passengers can tell the airline how much they would need to be offered to be bumped off a flight during the check-in process. United said the program started in early November.
Here’s how it works: If your particular flight is oversold, a page will come up (either on the mobile app or in the airport) asking if you’re willing to volunteer to take a different flight. If you say yes, you’ll see a screen where you can specify the amount you’re willing to accept in exchange for being bumped to a later flight. You can choose from a set list of sums of money, or you can enter a unique amount.
You’ll want to make sure you choose carefully, because once you’ve made your selection you won’t be able to change it. Although, if you decide that you do want to be on your original flight after all, you can notify a United gate agent and they will take you off the volunteer list. It won’t be a live bidding process like before and will likely mean less money for passengers — United said that it “will consider the lowest bids first.”
After Bumpgate rocked United and changed the dynamics of the airline-passenger relationship industry-wide, the carrier introduced 10 policy changes, such as raising maximum compensation for bumped passengers to $10,000 and reducing the overall amount of overbooking. United’s not the only airline that’s enacted new policies after the original Bumpgate incident — Delta’s been using a similar bidding system for quite a while, and raised its maximum payout for a bump to $9,950.
If you’re on a flight and decide to volunteer to be bumped, make sure to read our guide of how to take advantage of airline overbooking.
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