There seems to always be high-profile airline incidents in the news where people are getting bumped or stranded from their flights. So, what can you do to help avoid it from happening to you? Here are a few insights on doing what you can to keep your seat and what to do if you do get bumped.
“Our findings show that for all the tens of thousands of passengers who fly daily, only a tiny percentage of them have ever been involuntarily bumped,” says Terrie Hansen, senior vice president at Virtuoso. “One of the key reasons we recommend booking with a professional travel advisor is the consumer advocacy they provide. With travel, it’s not a matter of if something will go wrong, it’s when – there are simply too many variables that are beyond anyone’s control. Having an advocate with a vested interest in the success of the trip is invaluable. It might not prevent the situation from happening, but it’s certainly reassuring to know here’s a knowledgeable and well-connected expert to call and help fix it.”
Top tips on how to minimize the likelihood of getting bumped:
- Establish status with a specific airline and fly it (or its alliance partners) when possible.
- Reserve your seat assignments as soon as the flight is booked.
- Check in online 24 hours before the flight and reconfirm your seats.
Though bumping passengers is rare (30 percent of Virtuoso advisors said it had happened to their clients), here’s what you need to do if it happens to you:
- Insist the airline rebook the next available flight, even on another airline.
- Comply with the request, but politely ask for more compensation than what the airline is offering.
- Contact your travel advisor for assistance.
- Ask for a credit card-issued gift card instead of an airline voucher, especially if you’re not a frequent traveler.