You are all set to board that flight and excited for your trip ahead - but then the airline announces that the flight is overbooked and they need to bump some passengers off the flight. This scenario is not unfamiliar to most travelers, and it can be both frustrating and inconvenient. However, did you know that airlines are legally required to compensate their passengers if they are bumped from flights?
Now, let's move forward and explore how you can get compensated if you are ever bumped from your flight.
Know Your Rights as a Passenger
The first step you need to take is to understand your rights as a passenger. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has set guidelines for airlines that outline the compensation that passengers are entitled to. For instance, if you are bumped from a flight that is scheduled to depart within two hours of the time you are supposed to board, you are entitled to receive up to 200 percent of your one-way fare.
If the airline does not rebook you on another flight that gets you to your destination within two hours of your original arrival time, you can receive up to 400 percent of your one-way fare.
Speak to the Airline Agent
If you are bumped from your flight, your first step is to speak with the airline agent immediately. If the flight is overbooked, the airline will typically ask for volunteers to give up their seats in exchange for compensation.
If you volunteer to be bumped, you can often negotiate the amount of compensation you receive. However, if the airline bumps you involuntarily, you are entitled to compensation whether you agree to it or not.
Keep Documentation of Your Expenses
If you are bumped from your flight and your travel plans are disrupted, you may incur extra expenses such as accommodation, meals, and transportation. In such a situation, it is important to keep documentation of these expenses. Based on these documents, you can claim them back from the airline as part of your compensation.
File a Claim with the Airline
After you have dealt with the immediate situation, you need to file a claim with the airline for the compensation you are entitled to. If you were involuntarily bumped from your flight, the airline is required to compensate you with cash or a check unless you agree to receive a voucher or travel credit instead.
Be persistent in following up with the airline if they do not respond promptly to your claim.
As a traveler, it is essential to know your rights and what you are entitled to when you are bumped from a flight. By understanding your rights, speaking to the airline agent, keeping documentation of your expenses, and filing a claim with the airline, you can ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
Next time you find yourself being bumped from a flight, do not feel helpless. Instead, take action and get compensated for your inconvenience.