After the news on United Airlines forcing a passenger out because of overbooking, Delta is letting airport employees’ permission to offer up to almost $10,000 in compensation for passengers to give up their seats on overbooked flights. This move hopes to avoid problem like the one that erupted at United after a passenger was forcedly removed from a sold-out flight.
After the incident, United will now require employees seeking a seat on a plane to book it at least an hour before departure. United spokeswoman said the policy change require traveling employees to book a flight at least 60 minutes before departure. This policy might have prevented last Sunday's confrontation. United employees should have dealt the situation at the gate area and not on the plane.
Delta Air Lines move is to make finding a passenger easier to give up their seats. In an internal memo obtained by the Associated Press, said that Delta gate agents can offer up to $2,000, up from a previous maximum of $800, and supervisors can offer up to $9,950, up from $1,350.
United on the other hand is said to be reviewing its compensation policies. Payment limit of the airline is not disclosed at the moment.
Other airlines are said to be examining their policies. American Airlines updated its rules saying no passenger who has already boarded the plane will be removed to give the seat to someone else.
Airline would not describe their limits on paying passengers. When seats are not enough, airlines usually ask for volunteers in exchange of travel vouchers, gift cards or cash.
Because Delta is paying more compared to other airlines, more passengers easily gives up their seats last year. As a result, Delta had the lowest rate among the largest U.S. airlines of bumping people off flights against their will.
Overselling flights is already practiced in the airline business. It is necessary because some passengers don't show up on their scheduled flight, and overbooking keeps fares down by reducing the number of empty seats.
Travel blogger, Ben Schlappig first wrote about the Delta compensation increase, he said it shows Delta is trying to reduce forced bumping. He added that he couldn't imagine many situations in which people wouldn't jump at nearly $10,000.
Delta hopes that gate agents and their supervisors won't need to make maximum offers. Financial cost to the airline is likely to be limited. If Delta paid $9,950 to every person it bumped involuntarily last year that would total $12 million.
After the incident in Chicago, United was questioned why it didn't offer more when no passengers accepted the airline's $800 offer for volunteers to give up their seats.
Ross Aimer, a retired United pilot said, if airlines offer enough money, even the guy who is going to a funeral will sell his seat.