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How To Get Compensated When Bumped From A Flight

Federal laws say you are entitled to compensation when an airline bumps you from a flight.
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Before heading to the airport this holiday season, know your rights in case you get bumped from your flight.

Bumping doesn’t happen often but with this holiday season is set to be the busiest since 2019, bumping is a possibility.

Triple A predicts this holiday season will be the busiest ever for air travel with over7.5 million people projected to fly from Saturday, December 23 to Monday, January 1.

What to do if you get bumped from a flight?

If you are bumped from a flight also known as “denied boarding”, you have rights under the Department of Transportation (DOT) regarding same-day compensation, here is a quick look:

  • Bumped passengers must be given a written statement describing their rights and how it was determined they were selected.
  • If you are offered alternate transportation that arrives at your destination between one and two hours later (or between one and four hours on international flights), the airline must pay you an amount equal to 200% of the one-way fare to your final destination, with a maximum of $775.
  • If the substitute transportation will get you to your destination more than two hours later (or more than four hours on international flights), or if the airline does not make any substitute travel arrangements for you, the compensation increases to 400% of the one-way fare, with a maximum of $1,550.
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What is bumping?

When an airline bumps a passenger, it means that the airline has denied boarding to a passenger who has a confirmed reservation and ticket for a particular flight.


This typically occurs when a flight is overbooked, meaning the airline has sold more tickets than there are available seats on the plane.

Why airlines engage in bumping?

Overbooking is how airlines ensure there are no available seats when a flight departs.

They sell more tickets in advance than there are seats on the plane to maximize profits based on historical data that suggests a certain percentage of passengers may not show up.

When more passengers show up than there are available seats, the airline has to find volunteers who are willing to give up their seats in exchange for compensation, such as travel vouchers or a seat on a later flight

If there are not enough volunteers, the airline may have to involuntarily deny boarding to some passengers, bumping them from the flight.

Final takeaway

Compensation for involuntary bumping is typically provided in the form of a check or, with your agreement, travel vouchers.

It’s important to note that DOT regulations apply specifically to involuntary denied boarding situations, and compensation may not be provided in cases of voluntary denied boarding where passengers agree to give up their seats in exchange for compensation.

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