There are perks to getting bumped on that busy, overbooked flight that you are just about take. According to the new rules issued by the Department of Transportation, travelers who get involuntarily bumped from their flights receive substantially bigger payouts than before. It might not be a bad idea to volunteer to be bumped considering the high payout rates.
Until now, if you were bumped from your flight and the airline was able to get you to your destination within 2 hours of your planned arrival, you were paid the value of your one-way ticket, with a maximum of $400. If they couldn’t get you there within 2 hours, you were paid double the amount, up to $800. Those rates weren’t bad at all, but they weren’t really enough to make people want to get bumped.
Now, if you get bumped from your flight and the airline gets you to your destination within 2 hours, you can look forward to getting double the value of that ticket, with a cap of $650. If they can’t get you there within the 2 hour window, the payout is four times the value of the ticket, capped at $1,300. That’s a lot of dough! Most airlines will offer payouts in vouchers, but if you ask then you’re entitled to cash under the new regulations.
You may want to consider booking somewhat busier or overbooked flights and end up getting paid. And if you’re in a busy terminal where they’re looking for people to bump, know what the airline would pay out if nobody, except you, volunteered.
The bulk of the new rights won’t begin until Aug. 23. That’s too late for travel during the height of the summer.