Poll: Do you ever volunteer to be bumped to the next flight?

middle seatA few years ago I went to a conference with some fellow bloggers and got really, really excited about maximizing my points and miles. Soon after I started working on getting the Southwest Companion Pass, figured out how to pay my bills on my credit cards, and started hotel-hopping for status.

I also got an opportunity to volunteer to be bumped to the next flight for a voucher. In my newfound free-travel-searching frenzy, I jumped to get the travel voucher. Except that they didn’t  end up needing me, and I forfeited my good seat and my carry-on space for nothing. When I got to my final destination my bag, which I ended up having to check, took thirty minutes to get to me. Not exactly the end result I was hoping for!

I’ve never volunteered again, mostly because I just didn’t  want the hassle. My cousin’s recent experience  just validated that. He volunteered to take a later flight since he was not on a time crunch. But when he arrived, his bag wasn’t there. In fact, it was  missing for two  days. He was heading back home so he at least had clothes and toiletries. But what if he had been  going on a trip? Most of my trips are only two or three days–I can’t imagine not having my stuff for two days. Argh.

So, Readers, what about you?

Is it worth it to volunteer to take a later flight if your flight is full?

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  1. Don’t check your bag, that is the key. If your schedule can accommodate then go for it. I did it 3x in 2015 with Delta and I received $1500 in compensation. You call that a hassle?

  2. I have actually got bumped twice in one day. $400 voucher twice with Delta and never lost a bag. If it was American I’d probably still offer up my seat but I doubt my bag would make it.

  3. My family of 6 all took a bump on the way home from Christmas vacation. 6 x $700 vouchers!! That will pay for the families next 2 trips back home!! I also had planned the return flights to fall on a Friday just in case I could get a bump 🙂 They ended up having to put us up in a hotel and take a flight the next day – Well worth it in my book!

  4. Made $2.5 k in one day ($500 each) by having an extra night (paid by airline) for the family in the Carolinas. Made another $300 3 weeks later. Definately worth it if timing works out.

  5. What amazes me: they may want your seat but airlines will never offer to “bump” you to an EARLIER flight. When I get asked the “are you willing to take a later flight” question, I always ask about getting an earlier flight. The answer is only ever, “You can only switch to an earlier flight for a fee.”
    I never understood why airlines are okay with flights taking off with empty seats.

  6. Jill, here in Australia, my hubby is Platinum with Virgin and when he arrives at the Lounge, they will always fly him forward if they can. Once you are Platinum they will do it regardless of the fare you paid, and for your partner as well if you are travelling together (this has been good for us a few times). Below Platinum, you can only ask to fly forward if you are on a flexi fare. It’s a nice perk, and I think Qantas might do the same.

    You are right, it’s stupid to fly with empty seats which you may fill on a later flight.

  7. Delta has put me on an earlier flight 6 or 7 times. I travel alone, arrive early, and there are three early morning flights going into ATL. the late flights always have late arrivals and leave full. They ask me in I would mind taking an earlier flight, so it’s either sit in the airport or sit in the Aircraft. I usually opt to take the flight that is sitting at the gate getting to my destination earlier. I rarely get bumped up, but it does happen.

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