April 14, 2017
Delta Now Offering up to $9,950 to Passengers Denied Boarding
It looks like airlines are finally starting to change their overbooking policies after United involuntarily dragged a doctor off an overbooked flight last week, leaving him bloodied, with teeth knocked out, and suffering from a concussion. United CEO Oscar Munoz promised such an incident would never happen again and is reviewing the airline’s procedures for handling passengers on overbooked flights.
Delta became the first airline to implement changes in response to customer anger at United. Beginning this Friday, Delta gate agents will have more flexibility in offering compensation to passengers who are voluntarily denied boarding. Gate agents will be able to offer $2,000 worth of vouchers as opposed to $800 while supervisors will be able to offer $9,950 worth of vouchers, as opposed to $2,000.
This gives staff on the ground who are in the best position to make these judgment calls much greater flexibility. Frankly, the $800 voucher limit Delta used previously was ridiculous. International tickets can cost thousands of dollars, and people often don’t want to give up their seats as they often need to be somewhere for a vacation, work, a family event etc.
This is great news from Delta, and every airline should be doing the same thing. If United had offered more than an $800 voucher, it wouldn’t be in this PR mess. Overbooking passengers and issuing vouchers for bumped passengers is a business decision these airlines make, and they can vary widely by airline. USA Today reports that Delta involuntarily denied boarding 1,238 times last year compared to 3,765 times for United. I’m not at all surprised as I’ve pretty much come to expect a voucher offer whenever I fly United at this point. United consistently overbooks its flights.
H/T: USA Today
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